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 Ratthawit (Tow) from Thailand.
What is your name?
Hello! My name is Ratthawit and my nickname is Tow.
Which city and country are you from?
How long have you been a Lazio supporter?
Since 1998 when I was 12 years old.
How did you become a Lazio supporter?
Sky Blue has always been my favourite colour since I was a kid. Then one day from out of the BLUE, a close friend of mine asked me if I knew this Chilean Striker named Marcelo Salas playing for a certain football team called LAZIO. I had heard about Lazio as a football team but did not know who Salas was. I got fascinated hence I decided to catch a Lazio game on television to find out more about him. To my utter amazement, Marcelo Salas turned out to be an exquisite striker! It’s really a pleasure to watch him play and ever since then, I started to follow Lazio and became a Laziale, and because of Salas, I discovered a hero in Alessandro Nesta who then became my favourite Lazio player of all time.
Based on your understanding, how would you describe the size of the Lazio fanbase in your location?
We are not as big a club as compared to the Juventini, Interisti and Milanisti in Thailand, but one thing is for certain, like Laziali vs the Giallorossi in Rome, we are less but we are so much more stylish and better than them; quality is better than quantity! We, in the Lazio Club Thailand, possess enormous passion and loyalty for Lazio. We never stop supporting Lazio when she’s doing badly and neither did we jump ship to support Milan when Nesta was sold to the Rossoneri. WE FOLLOW THE COLOURS!
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?
Yes, we do. Our base is located at an Italian Restaurant in downtown Bangkok. However, it is not possible to gather for the matches as not all Lazio games are shown on television in Thailand; but we never fail to catch the derby matches and the cup final matches.
Who is your current favourite Lazio player? Why?
Current? I don’t have a current favourite Lazio player, but I would say the team-spirit and camaraderie from this current team are my favourite.
Who is your all-time favourite Lazio player? Why?
It absolutely has to be Alessandro Nesta; he was our Bandiera and Capitano. Everyone saw the circumstances that led to his departure – he was forced to leave in order to save the club. It’s true that AC Milan owned him as a player, but his heart and soul remained with Lazio. Alessandro is a true Laziale.
Do you have a favourite Lazio memory? If so, what is the memory?
The favourite Lazio memory of mine remains the first derby match I attended in Stadio Olimpico; the very scene that greeted me after climbing up the long flight of stairs moved me to tears – beautiful blue skies and that majestic green field! It’s my dream ever since I was young to set foot in Olimpico and I remember cutting off a column in the Calcio Magazine in Thailand on how could I get to Stadio Olimpico and Formello. I told myself I would do it one day but alas I didn’t utilize it because I depended on the Internet and the help of my friends.
Do you have a favourite Lazio match? If so, which match and why?
26 May 2013 – LULIC 71’. Prior to that day, we had never played Roma in a Coppa Italia Final. I’m just so happy that us, Laziali were the one celebrating and Totti was the one crying at the end of the game.
Do you have a favourite Lazio jersey? If so, which jersey and why?
Yes, I have two favourite Lazio jerseys. The 115th-anniversary commemorative jersey; it is the most beautiful Lazio jersey I have seen since the day I started supporting Lazio. The second one is the centenary kit of 1999/00. Whenever I look at the piece, it reminded me of our last Scudetto victory.
Which one of Lazio’s 16 trophies is your favourite? Why?
The Scudetto of 1999/00 – simply because it is the most important trophy and the most dramatic last-gasp victory in the history of S.S Lazio.
In your opinion, which player has been the ‘biggest disappointment’ in Lazio’s history? Why?
Gaizka Mendieta. He was an awfully expensive player but he played like a very ‘cheap player’.
In your opinion, which player has been the best ‘surprise signing’ in Lazio’s history? Why?
Miroslav Klose. I have never thought he would join us because Lazio is not a big/rich team and we could not afford to pay his salary. With his calibre, he could have joined any team in the world, but he chose to join us – I was stunned and speechless! A great player and a true professional!
In your opinion, which player has been the ‘best signing’ in Lazio’s history? Why?
Sergej Milinkovic Savic. He is world-class and we really hit the jackpot with him!
Which current Lazio player do you feel is the most valuable to the team? Why?
Sergej because he is one of the best midfielders in the world, but also Francesco Acerbi because he is the ‘Numero Uno’ and the best defender in the Italian Championship.
If you had to choose between one or the other, would you keep Luis Alberto or Sergej Milinkovic-Savic? Why?
Lazio cannot play to her full potential without the both of them, but if I really have to choose, I will keep Sergej because Luis Alberto is replaceable but Sergej is irreplaceable. On top, Simone Inzaghi will have to change his tactics if Sergej is not around.
Should Simone Inzaghi leave Lazio, who would you next like to see managing the club next?
I hope Simone will stay with Lazio forever, just like Sir Alex Ferguson in Manchester united but if it’s not possible, I wish that Diego Simeone will manage Lazio one day.
Are there any players that you specifically want Lazio to sign? If so, which players and why?
The first would be Konstantinos Tsimikas – a left wing-back from Olympiakos. We have a problem in the left-back department. In my opinion, the performance level is declining except for Lulic who is always giving his best. Konstantinos is a very good left wing-back who will provide extra depth to the team – I liken his style to Lazzari. If it’s not possible to sign Konstantinos Tsimikas, I want the club to sign Mohamed Fares from SPAL who is also a good left wing-back.
The second would be Marash Kumbulla – a central defender from Hellas Verona. That is because he is an outstandingly good defender and he is currently playing in a three-men-backline in Verona, just like us.
The third would be Luis Suarez, currently playing in Real Zaragoza but owned by Watford. His playing style reminded me of Luis Muriel of Atalanta.
An almost possible move: Alessio Romagnoli. He is a Laziale and a great defender and I’m quite certain he wants to come back to Rome, but it would be impossible for Claudio Lotito to fork out more than €40 million for him. I hope he could finish off his contract with Milan in 2022 and join us for free.
What position do you think that Lazio needs to reinforce the most ahead of the 2020/21 season? Why?
The left wing-back position because, as only Senad Lulic can really play well in that position.
Is there anything else that you would like to add regarding your experience with Lazio?
To all the aspiring Laziali around the world who wish to make the trip to Rome, for Lazio, do not give up! If you have the chance, money and time, I urge you to go realize your dream and support our Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico; “Lazio is our Life”.