Pierluigi Casiraghi - Chelsea FC - Biography of his brief Chelsea football career.

Photo/Foto: Nigel French

Date: 26 September 1998

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      Tuesday, 04 March 1969
      Monza, Italy
  • Italian footballer
  • Chelsea FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 15th August 1998 in a 2-1 defeat at Coventry City (Aged: 29)
    • Club Career
      10 League appearances 1 goal.
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Pierluigi CASIRAGHI - Chelsea FC - Biography of his brief Chelsea football career.


Having won two trophies in the 1997/98 season, Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli embarked on an impressive spending spree in the summer of 1998 which was designed to give the Blues the necessary quality to challenge for the Premiership title. Marcel Desailly, Albert Ferrer and Brian Laudrup all moved to Stamford Bridge once their respective World Cup campaigns were over, but the most expensive of Vialli's signings was his Italian compatriot, Pierluigi Casiraghi. Signed from Lazio for a cool £5.4 million, the muscular hit-man was expected to seamlessly fill the boots of Mark Hughes, a player of similar attributes, who had been allowed to join Southampton. 'Gigi' made his debut in a one-sided clash at Coventry which Chelsea managed to lose 2-1 on a day that City's goalkeeper, Magnus Hedman, was in outstanding form, saving three goal-bound efforts from Casiraghi alone.


After that defeat, the Stamford Bridge side remained unbeaten in the Premiership until January - but by that time, Gigi had played his last game. The frustrations of his debut set the tone for much of his brief Chelsea career as he struggled to get the lucky break his selfless work deserved. Denied a blatant penalty after being tripped by Arsenal's Patrick Vieira in a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge, he was then replaced by Tore Andre Flo at Blackburn and watched from the bench as the Norwegian striker scored twice in the last ten minutes to secure an unlikely victory. Casiraghi finally found the net for the Blues with a superb strike at Anfield - a goal fondly remembered by Chelsea supporters for an eye-watering collision between Liverpool's Phil Babb and a goalpost as the defender tried to prevent the ball crossing the line. But still the luck deserted Gigi. He was denied another goal in his next game by a cynical foul after Charlton's goalkeeper, Sasa Ilic, upended the Italian striker as he was poised to roll the ball into an empty net (Frank Leboeuf scored from the resultant penalty and Ilic, who was only yellow-carded by generous referee Steve Dunn, was later stretchered off after colliding with Casiraghi).


Chelsea's season took a dramatic twist when Laudrup announced that he would be leaving to return to Denmark. His last match for Chelsea was against FC Copenhagen, the club he was set to join, and it was the Dane who was on hand to score the crucial winning goal after man-of-the-match Casiraghi's effort had rebounded from the crossbar. Ironically, Gigi's final appearance came in the very next match. With Chelsea a goal down to West Ham, Casiraghi threw himself bravely into a near-post challenge and collided with the Hammers' keeper, Shaka Hislop. He collapsed in agony, having torn the ligaments and damaged the nerves in his right knee, causing irreparable damage. Ten operations followed but to no avail and in February 2000 Chelsea called an end to his gutsy battle when they terminated Casiraghi's contract and accepted a £450, 000 insurance payout. (Kelvin Barker)


1985–1989    Monza    94    (28)
1989–1993    Juventus    98    (20)
1993–1998    Lazio    140    (41)
1998–2000    Chelsea    10    (1)