Although Società Sportiva Lazio is based in Rome, Italy, its followers spread to all corners of the globe. It is for this reason that Laziali Worldwide was created. Through online interviews prepared and conducted by The Laziali, supporters of the Italian Serie A football club worldwide will not only be able to share their stories but also be able to connect with other fans of La Prima Squadra della Capitale. Below, The Laziali’s complete interview with Xenofon from Greece.
What is your name?
My name is Xenofon.
Which city and country are you from?
I was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and I live with my family in Thassos Island.
How long have you been a Lazio supporter?
I have supported Lazio since 2000.
How did you become a Lazio supporter?
2000 was the year that Gabriel Batistuta transferred from Fiorentina to Roma. My uncle loved him and he was the person who introduced me to Serie A. We watched mostly Fiorentina matches, however, I always liked Lazio’s shirts and colors as a teen, so when Batistuta left Fiorentina for Roma, I easily made my decision to support the Biancocelesti.
Based on your understanding, how would you describe the size of the Lazio fanbase in your location?
In Greece, there are many Lazio fans, especially in Athens and Thessaloniki. However, there are not many supporters of the club in Thassos Island since it is very small!
Does your locality have a Lazio club where fans can gather to view matches? If so, do you participate? If not, would you be interested in establishing one?
There is no Lazio fan club in Thassos Island. The only Lazio club in Greece is in Athens. Although I have never met any of the individuals who run the club, I know that they do a great job.
Who is your current favorite Lazio player? Why?
I really like Luis Alberto. I think that he is a leader and has identified his peak with the team’s peak. He has been really important for Lazio this 2019/20 season.
Who is your all-time favorite Lazio player? Why?
My all-time favorite is Alessandro Nesta. He is a symbol for Lazio and the best Italian defender ever.
Do you have a favorite Lazio memory? If so, what is the memory?
I remember Miroslav Klose’s goal in 2011 that gave us the win over Roma in the 92’. Some glasses were missing from the table and my chest was full of bruises the next day because of my way of celebrating important goals…
Do you have a favorite Lazio match? If so, which match and why?
The Coppa Italia final on May 26, 2013.
Do you have a favorite Lazio jersey? If so, which jersey and why?
The 2018/19 jersey with the eagle… I prayed for a stealth-black edition too.
Which one of Lazio’s 16 trophies is your favorite? Why?
The Scudetto at the end of the 1999/00 season because it was deserved for our magnificent team back then. Lazio had excellent players and was a top team.
In your opinion, which player has been the ‘biggest disappointment’ in Lazio’s history? Why?
I believe Gaizka Mendieta is the biggest letdown. Especially considering his talent until his transfer to Lazio. He could made himself a legend at the Stadio Olimpico, but he never became our maestro.
In your opinion, which player has been the best ‘surprise signing’ in Lazio’s history? Why?
Paul Gascoigne from Tottenham. This is due to the amount of money spent to get him, his personality, and the symbolism that Lazio (and Sergio Cragnotti) wanted him for; he played a very important role in bringing awareness to the team and Italian football.
In your opinion, which player has been the ‘best signing’ in Lazio’s history? Why?
Ciro Immobile. He has all the characteristics and statistics needed to be the best signing in Lazio’s history.
Which current Lazio player do you feel is the most valuable to the team? Why?
Immobile is the irreplaceable player in this team. I am a total Caicedo fan, as a backup striker, and our midfield is the best in Serie A, but come on; 27 goals in 26 matches? That is just ridiculous.
If you had to choose between one or the other, would you keep Luis Alberto or Sergej Milinkovic-Savic? Why?
I would keep Sergej, even if today I like Luis Alberto more. He is younger and has rare characteristics in world football. This includes technique, strength, and vision. Luis Alberto could also be replaced easier.
Should Simone Inzaghi leave Lazio, who would you next like to see managing the club next?
There are some good coaches who could be interesting choices. I would welcome Diego Simeone, Sinisa Mihajlovic, and Roberto De Zerbi.
Are there any players that you specifically want Lazio to sign? If so, which players and why?
With Igli Tare, I have no complaints or demands about signings. Some names linked to the club that I have read and I personally like are Rodrigo De Paul (especially if Correa leaves) and Marash Kumbulla to improve our backline.
What position do you think that Lazio needs to reinforce the most ahead of the 2020/21 season? Why?
Senad Lulic has offered a lot to Lazio, playing as a real captain. However, he shouldn’t start in a team that is competing for a top-three spot. Signing a quality central defender to play alongside Francesco Acerbi will also give us much more stability in the back.
Is there anything else that you would like to add regarding your experience with Lazio?
I really hope that Lazio, and Italian football in general, will stay away from any political or social issues in the near future…