Missing in action: Gianluca Pagliuca

MILAN – He’s just the same, giant keeper Gianluca Pagliuca, albeit with a few more grey hairs. If he made a mistake he used to really suffer. He played in goal for Inter on 234 occasions, winning the UEFA Cup in Paris and having the unenviable task of replacing the legendary Walter Zenga between the sticks for the Nerazzurri. A native of Bologna, he went on to play for the Rossoblu for seven seasons before ending his career with a year at Ascoli. He still lives in Bologna, has a 12-year-old son who plays in midfield or up front in the academy and – much to his father’s delight – loves his football.

“I’m now the head and goalkeeper coach of the Bologna youth academy.”

That night in Paris still has a place in his heart.

“That final was my first and only trophy with the Nerazzurri, because we could have won the Scudetto that season too but everyone knows what happened there.”

Victories and defeats…

“Inter signed me from Sampdoria, they were a club who showed great faith in me. I really enjoyed those five years, I was voted the best goalkeeper in Italy for my performances, I regained a place in the national team and won a lot of matches. I would have liked to have won the 94 World Cup and I lost the UEFA Cup to Schalke. I won a lot and lost a lot.”

San Siro, an unforgettable arena.

“It’s a fantastic, historic stadium. I remember how I felt the first time I played there, but it’s never gone away. It was an amazing feeling every time I played there.”

Who will win the World Cup?