ALBERTO AQUILANI revealed the referee added on extra-time on his professional debut – so he could have a touch of the ball.
On May 10, 2003 midfielder Aquilani made his Roma debut against Torino with ex-England manager Fabio Capello in charge.
Aquilani posted a video on Instagram of the moment he was brought onto the pitch – and explained how the ref waited for him to have a touch of the ball before blowing the final whistle.
The referee Pieri approaches me and says ‘Don’t worry, until you touch the ball, I don’t whistle the end’.
He said: “My debut in Serie A.
“We are ahead 3 to 1, with a brace from Cassano and a fantastic goal by Daniele, also very young.
“Missing at the end, Mr. Capello looks for my eyes and tells me ‘Change, it’s up to you’.
“I don’t have time to try all those emotions that I had imagined as a child, because in a few seconds I find myself taking over Emerson and step on the Olympic lawn for the first time.
“By and they take the three minutes of recovery in which, however, I cannot touch a playable ball.
“The referee Pieri approaches me and says ‘Don’t worry, until you touch the ball, I don’t whistle the end’.
“The game lasts a minute and a half more than expected, I touch my first ball in Serie A and I hear the three final whistles.
“Difficult to forget a similar gesture.
Most Read in Football
“Impossible to forget that day.”
The Italian would go onto spend seven years in Rome, before he made a summer 2009 swap for Liverpool, in a deal worth £17million.
After just one year the Liverpool flop would be sent back to Serie A on loan, with one season at Juventus and then AC Milan before departing to Fiorentina in 2012.