Do you remember… Tore Andrè Flo, who 25 years ago became Italy’s bogeyman at the World Cup
Il Brazilagain, hey exaggerated nicknames first, the fame of bogeyman then: from “Flonaldo” to the terror of a piece of Italian summer is a moment. Yes, the green and gold national team has been a lucky charm for Tore Andrè Flowhen his career took off at the turn of the summer of 1997 and that of 1998.
Career that had started a few years earlier: Flo was born in Stryn in 1973, and if you were born in Stryn and take the surname Flo there are no great alternatives to play ball. In fact, in the family they are all footballers, but Tore Andrè is the one who does it best and therefore earns the call from the neighbor Sogndalwhich has a team playing in Norwegian Serie B. Tore plays in attack, uses his meter and nineteen three as a heavy centre-forward of course, but he’s also very good with his feet and not slow at all. Mark sixteen goals in twenty-two games leading Sogndal to the top flight, but the following year they failed to avoid relegation. Skip to Tromsowhere he scores 18 goals and then al Fire where he continues to score and is also noted in Europascoring two goals in the Cup Winners’ Cup.
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It’s already in the loop Norwegian national team when the friendly match against the Brazil: it is May 30, 1997 and in front of us are among the others RonaldoRomario, Djalminha, but Flo takes over the audience, scoring two goals and packing the assist for the final 4 a 2 of Ostenstad. For newspapers it’s child’s play: Flonaldo it’s the headline that’s all the rage the next day. And so Tore André Flo focuses the attentions of teams European: not of the top clubs, and therefore of Serie A, which does not have Norway on the radar, but ofEngland. Flo is cheap: it is about to expire, and the Chelsea Of Ruud Gullit he grabs it for 300mila pounds, basically just compensation to Brann. Watched with some perplexity and having in front of people like Gianfranco Zola, Mark Huges e Gianluca Viallithe Norwegian manages to carve out a season from 11 gol in the league, two in the Cup Winners’ Cup, and two in the League Cup, participating in the victory of the last two trophies as well as the European Super Cup.
And at the end of the season there is the World in France and Brazil again: the Norway is in the group with Morocco, Scotland and precisely the green and gold. The national team led by “Drillo” Olsen equalized on their debut with the surprising Morocco and also drew the second against Scotland, 1 to 1, Flo’s own goal. It would seem an adventure over having to beat, exactly 25 years agoRonaldo’s Brazil to advance to the round of 16, an even more difficult feat when the green-and-gold took the lead ten minutes from the end with Bebeto. But five minutes later Flo manages to pass with a clever touch Junior Baiano (not a big deal this) and then to stab Taffarel for the draw. Another five minutes and Junior Baiano extends Flo: the referee concedes rigorRekdal transforms bringing Norway to the eighths. Who will they meet? Italy of Cesare Maldini: Flo’s performance will lead to paginate and paginate of newspapers with similar contents: how the blue defence, rather short in stature, would have stemmed a giant like Flo, so much so that Gianni Mura will write about Republic: “Perhaps here with Tore André Flo you are exaggerating a bit: yes, taking the right measures, painting it as the Ronaldo of the fjords no”.
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And therefore, little ones yes … but looking after 25 years a defense with Paolo MaldiniFabio Cannavaro Beppe Bergomi and Alessandro Costacurta (and Alessandro Nesta who was hurt in the previous match against Austria) come tears…and they almost even came to Flo in that match, which for him took the form of a single header where the defenders above did not arrive but he got there easily Gianluca Pagliuca.
Back at Chelsea the good Tore Andrè will play for the place with Gigi Casiraghiwithout ever making controversy though and resulting in one of the most loved footballers in London blues: it is said that a taxi driver used the name of Tore André as icebreaker as Scandinavian passengers sat in his car. Season to frame that 1999–2000with the victory of the League Cup (the score of the match against Gillingham is picture gallery stuff, with a 5 a 0 and goals from Zola, Flo, Weah, a very young John Terry and Jody Morris) and with 8 goals scored in the Champions League, including Three al Barcelona in the quarterfinals.
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From London he will then fly to Glasgow: his move to Rangers for 12 million pounds made him the highest paid Norwegian footballer ever (at the time, before Haaland). He will win the Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup, as well as scoring in a Old Firm against the Celtic. Then he will return to England, but al Sunderland it won’t go well: from there it will surprisingly arrive in Italy, a Siena. Here he will confirm his ability to score in derby: his goal that will decide the match against the Fiorentina, with Siena in ten. After some misunderstanding with Gigi Simoni he will return first to his homeland and then to England al Leeds and al Milton Keynes Dons by ex-mate Di Matteo, to play the last game in his Sogndal taking over from his nephew…Flo, of course. Then he will also try his hand at “Dancing with the Stars Norwegian” as well as becoming a Chelsea ambassador. 25 years ago however it became bogeyman of Italy: four years later he would pass the baton to From the cross of Ecuador…better Flo, and even better the times when we had the bogeymen at the World Cup.