Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stefano Borgonovo !!!

Stefano Borgonovo (born 17 March 1964) is a former Italian footballer, who played as a striker. He is currently suffering from ALS.

Born in Giussano, Province of Monza and Brianza, Lombardy, Borgonovo began his professional career with Como Calcio, making his debuts at 17 in a Serie A match against Ascoli Calcio. After a loan spell at S.S. Sambenedettese Calcio, he established himself as a key player at Como, and in 1986 moved to A.C. Milan, who immediately loaned him back to Como.
After two years, Borgonovo was sent on loan again, this time to ACF Fiorentina, where had the most successful season of his career, scoring 14 league goals while playing alongside Roberto Baggio. This earned him three caps for Italy - his debut coming on 22 February 1989, in a friendly with Denmark (1–0 win) - and finally a chance to prove himself at Milan. He spent much of the 1989–90 season as backup to Marco van Basten and, despite earning a European Cup winners' medal, moved on, keen to play regular first-team football. Although then Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi was keen to keep his services, he returned to Fiorentina, where he spent two years without managing to recapture his previous form.
Spells at Pescara Calcio, Udinese and Brescia Calcio followed, before Borgonovo retired in 1996. He later served as a youth coach back at Como, but retired in 2005 due to poor health.

On 5 September 2008, it was revealed Borgonovo was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the same illness that slowly killed Gianluca Signorini, another former Serie A player, in 2002.

It is a motor neurone disease that a surprising number of ex-footballers suffer from. The disease affects muscles, leading to a weakening in movement and, eventually, to complete paralysis. It also makes it difficult to breathe and talk.

Borgonovo cannot talk and has to use a computer-generated voice that tracks his eye movements in order to communicate. He vowed to fight this condition, saying, ''What if I became the first to cheat this?''Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence in front of a crowd of 30,000 people, was attended by several former stars of the two clubs. Borgonovo himself attended the match despite his serious condition, with his former teammate Roberto Baggio at his side.The event tugged at heart strings and was warm and touching. He smiled through the game; his strength and heroism were an inspiration to all who watched.

When told about the disease affecting a lot of footballers, Borgonovo replied, ''I love soccer too much to believe this is a football disease," refusing to believe that the one thing he loved the most could kill him.

To raise funds and awareness of the disease, a testimonial match was organized by Borgonovo's former clubs Fiorentina and Milan. The game,called "Everyone for Stefano" was  played on 8 October 2008 at

At the conclusion of the match, Stefano Borgonovo had a message for every one of the individuals in his situation. “I wanted to say to those who suffer from what I suffer, believe in yourself, believe in football, and believe in the players and the football leagues that will help to find a cure for our illness.”

Investigation is still going on regarding the spread of this disease among Italian soccer players. So far more than 40 Italian ex-football players have been victims of ALS. One theory suggests the link of pesticides on the stadium grass, but so far nothing has been confirmed....

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