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History of footballers in Sanremo

A tradition that began in 1999 and unites the two secular religions of Italians: football and singing

History of footballers in Sanremo A tradition that began in 1999 and unites the two secular religions of Italians: football and singing

It was back in 1999 when Fabio Fazio managed to combine Italy's most important musical event with the only cult equally sacred to Italians, football. The first glittering, hairy guests, in the edition won hands down by Anna Oxa in the last year of the 20th century, were two iconic Italian players: Roberto Mancini and Alessandro Del Piero. The two strikers marked the beginning of a partnership between the country's two most important secular festivals: football and Sanremo. From that year onwards, the footballer dressed in a dark suit became a regular feature on the Ariston stage, a key part of the programme with the aim of increasing the share. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the latest footballer to step onto the infamous Dsquared stage, stealing the show (predictably) with his exuberant personality, those snide quips you've heard and heard again in every post-match interview, the unforgettable motorbike ride and 'Jutro Je', the Nada Topcagic song the footballer has expressly requested every time he enters the stage. No wonder Zlatan was there, the Swede has a special relationship with Italy, he has played for all three of the most successful teams in our league, Inter, Juventus and AC Milan and he accepted Amadeus' invitation, going up and down between the Riviera and Milan to avoid splitting his time between training and the red carpet.

But apart from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, last year Amadeus also opened its doors to women's football for the first time, inviting Cristiana Girelli, Juventus and national team midfielder. The footballer told her story, from kicking the ball under her father's pharmacy to the great goals she has achieved today. A spot for women's football, which is on the rise despite being ignored by the mainstream media, who always prefer to focus on their male colleagues when it comes to inflating the share.

The manager

In the history of the festival, there has not only been space for Serie A footballers but also for the technical directors of the national team, an authentic bridge between sport and Italian identity. Last year Mancini, together with Vialli, was one of the protagonists of the Festival. And seeing that the Ariston stage brought a lot of luck, seeing that a few months later Italy won the European Championship, who knows if Amadeus might not call on the coach again to help the national team overcome the play-off hurdle. You can never be too superstitious, especially in Italy. In 2015 it was Antonio Conte's turn, a year before the sensational climb to EURO2016 which ended in the quarters with Pellè and Zaza's mistakes from the penalty spot, while in 2010 Marcello Lippi was invited, who performed with Pupo, Emanuele Filiberto and Canonici. 

The Icons

In addition to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Sanremo stage has been graced by many other champions, but the authors have always tried to find the character that will amaze the audience, going beyond the classic representation of the athlete. In one of the most important years of his career, when he formed an unstoppable duo with Gianpaolo Pazzini, Antonella Clerici wanted Antonio Cassano at all costs. The talent from Bari vecchia, strangely wearing a suit and tie, monopolised the scene, with small impromptu shows, marriage requests and jibes at Lippi. In 2013 there was also room for Roberto Baggio and his moving monologue on young people and their dreams. A totally unexpected guest, but who despite his acknowledged popularity on and off the field has never liked being in the spotlight.

The teams

In 2003 Juventus accompanied by Pippo Baudo took to the stage at the Ariston Theatre to sing "Il mio canto libero", an unforgettable classic by Lucio Battisti, for a charity initiative. Impossible to forget Alex Del Piero's controversial sideburns, the calm and tranquility of a young Gianluigi Buffon who sang with his eyes closed, and the total silence of Nedved who probably still doesn't understand why he was there. It was the only case in which the entire squad of a club went on stage, since until then that privilege had been reserved for the Italian national team. The Italian national team was invited several times, for example last year, when they were the protagonists of the festival's launch spot together with Amadeus.

The presenters and their husbands  


In editions in which the festival lacked footballers as guests, their wives came to the rescue as two co-hosts, who were accompanied by their husbands sitting in the parterre. We are obviously talking about Georgina Rodriguez and Ilary Blasi. Thanks to their presence, the festival can boast the presence of two crystalline talents, two iconic and representative players such as Francesco Totti and Cristiano Ronaldo. The former was already accustomed to the spotlight at the Ariston, since he was called as a guest in a previous edition, presenting himself with his long, wet hair and having the opportunity to perform with a ball and then throwing it into the audience. Ronaldo, on the other hand, was the victim (you only had to look him in the eyes to realise his total embarrassment) of a witty joke by Amadeus, who appeared on stage wearing Lukaku's shirt.