Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Torino's 'Cult Heroes' #2 : Roberto Stellone

When I travelled to Turin in October 2006, to see my first live Torino match (a narrow 1-0 defeat to Fiorentina), it was the performance of target man Roberto Stellone that stood out.

The strange think is, he didn't even play very well, but for what ever reason I took an instant liking to him and until he left the club in 2009 he was one of my favourite players. Maybe I liked him because we shared the same first name (sort of), and as a fan of the Rocky films, I appreciated his surname as well. Or maybe it was just because he exudes coolness (just look at the picture) - its probably just him and James Richardson who can pull off the 'bald head and stubble' look.

Stellone signed for Torino from Genoa in 2005, with the striker having just enjoyed the most prolific season of his career, scoring 17 goals in just 28 games. However, with Genoa demoted to Serie C due to a match fixing scandal, Stellone ended up at Toro, who themselves had been denied promotion to Serie A due to financial difficulties.

Roberto could never replicate his Genoa goalscoring form at Torino, and only found the target 16 times despite making over 100 appearances. However, Stellone contributed numerous assists for his teammates during this time at the club - with one example being this fantastic flick on for Rolando Bianchi against Napoli in 2009.

It is difficult to pinpoint a moment for which Stellone is most remembered for by Torino fans, but this opening goal against AC Milan was the only time he scored against a traditional 'big club' in a Toro shirt so it seems appropriate.

After leaving Torino after their relegation in 2009, he signed for Frosinone and scored six goals in two seasons before (I assume) retiring. Like I said earlier, he was by no means the best player to wear a Torino shirt, but his hardworking and selfless performances should still be remembered.

Grazie Roberto

P.S To add to his image of being very cool, pay attention to the last ten seconds of this video from the Torino-Genoa brawl in 2009. With this being the match that effectively relegated Toro, and his teammates losing their heads, look at the way Stellone still manages to coolly stroll into the changing rooms.

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