Mazzocchi, the dragon fruit / League of Nations / Gr.3 / Hungary-Italy / SOFOOT.com


Curiosity of the Italian group which moves to Hungary this Monday (8:45 p.m.), Pasquale Mazzocchi could play the first minutes of his career with the jersey of the Nazionale on the shoulders. The culmination of a career and a life where nothing has ever been easy for the 27-year-old left piston of Salernitana.

This Monday morning, Italy was awakened by a political earthquake that it had felt coming for several weeks: Giorgia Meloni, leader of the fascist party Fratelli D’Italia and head of a coalition of right-wing and extreme parties right, won the legislative elections. A first in the Boot since 1945. As a symbol, the first to have congratulated the new strong Italian woman is Viktor Orbán. No one knows if the Hungarian Prime Minister, a football fan and inevitably happy with the result of the Italian elections, will attend the remake of the 1938 final which takes place this Monday evening at the Puskás Arena between his Hungary and Italy. An apparently fortuitous meeting between two nations which will not go to the World Cup, but which nevertheless dispute a « final »: that of the first place in group C of the League of Nations, at the expense of Germany and Germany. England. For a man, Pasquale Mazzocchi, this Hungary-Italy could also remain engraved for life. Called for the first time with the Nazionale at 27, the left piston of Salernitana could play his first minutes under the tunic azurra on the grass of Budapest. A small miracle.

Sado, Mazzocchi?

At the age of 12, Pasquale was still just a kid to whom life had already taught quite a few things. At that time, the word « Meloni » (melons, Editor’s note) had nothing to do with politics, but with his daily livelihood. Melons, oranges, lemons, this is what Pasquale sold to the inhabitants of the sensitive district of Barra, in Naples, during the time he had between school and his football training. “He had two skinny little legs and a pair of bright, alert eyes.says Giuseppe Araimo, his first coach at Cronache di Spogliatoio. He drove around the neighborhood delivering groceries, three to four times a week, before training on a dirt court. »

Coming from a large family to which he must provide a helping hand to play football next door, « Pako » is considered a phenomenon within his football school « Carioca » in Barra. He trains from the age of eight with boys who are ten, but the fatigue of the infernal rhythms imposed by the sequence of school-work-football prevents him from expressing his full potential. Araimo will change his destiny when he learns of the situation: « When the boy, with extreme naivety, told him about his ‘new’ job and the derisory salary he received – but which was necessary to help his family – Giuseppe promised him in response that for each goal scored, he would give him the same salary he received every week workingexplained his agent Luigi Lauro to 1 Football Club. Without Araimo, Pasquale would probably have become one of the many talented Neapolitans who give up football to devote themselves to work and help their struggling family. »

“My parents have been crying with joy for three days”

His chance, Pasquale knew how to seize it. After having frequented the youth teams at Benevento and especially at Hellas, in Verona where he signed pro, it was in Parma in Serie D that he will make his mark from 2016 to 2018. Behind, the rise is sensational: he discovered Serie B with Perugia then Serie A with Venice, last year. This summer, Mazzocchi returned to Campania, to Salernitana, where he bursts the screen. His enormous activity in the left lane of Davide Nicola’s 3-5-2 has already made him essential, like his first Serie A goal scored against Empoli in early September (2-2).
Captain of the Salernitana against Lecce (1-2) on the last day, Mazzocchi chained the good news when he saw his name displayed on Italian television at the time of Roberto Mancini’s list. A reward for his very good start to the season which is also linked to the absence of the incumbent, Leonardo Spinazzola. But that, Mazzocchi and his family don’t care: « My parents have been crying with joy for three days, they still can’t believe ittold the player to Rai. They have always believed in me, just like my brothers. To help my parents pay for football school and shoes, I started working as a fruit and vegetable seller. I was lucky to take this path of football, which ultimately saved my life. » A former fruit seller who didn’t take the melon doesn’t run the streets.

By Andrea Chazy

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