Far away from theories and declaration that put football players distant from the ultras world, politics alignments, and social life inside a curva, there are examples that stretch towards the opposite direction, marrying reasons and beliefs of true ultras groups. Celebrations completely dedicated to us, ultras, symbols or sentences tattooed forever on the skin to honor the true show of football, or also proper away days head to head with historical figures in our world. Below you’ll find examples of men that dedicated part of their lives to an ideology, supporting the ultras mentality, which is too often countered from everywhere in this new and too elegant modern football.
DANIELE DE ROSSI, ROMA
A love story that lasted until last season on the pitch, the one between Daniele De Rossi and his beloved Roma. Second ever player with most apps at the club, only behind Francesco Totti, the defensive midfielder managed to stay closer to the organised tifo of Curva Sud through his whole career. Don’t get us wrong, Totti is considered by every fan as a God come down to Earth, earning nicknames such as “The Eight King of Rome”; however De Rossi, maybe because the media attention was more focussed on his historical team mate, always represented the romantic and decadent Rome that all the Italians know. In his final day with the shirt of AS Roma, just before signing with Boca Juniors towards the end of a beautiful career, his last tour of honor on the pitch was emblematic, saluting all the fans. If on one side he was “obliged” to a ceremony created “ad hoc” for him and for the media, the moments close to his ultras were much more influential. A long private speech between him and some of the historical exponents of the Curva Sud was recorded with cameras by the media, but De Rossi disappeared in a long hug inside his real fans, in particular inside the group of Fedayn, confirming bonds that already existed. An initiative created by AS Roma during the last season highlighted all of that, with De Rossi as masked actor inside the Curva Sud for a home Serie A game. The legend of the Giallorossi would then say that he already did the experience by himself, uncovered, with a beer and a sandwich on his hands.
MARCUS ROSENBERG, MALMO
In a very modern ultras scene such as the Scandinavia none, and in particular in Sweden, ultras groups now have the chance to interact head to head with the club board, and obviously with many of the most in fluent players at the club. Marcus Rosenberg is a striker that can vaunt himself with a decent career in European football, but mainly because of his 285 appearances and 110 goals with the shirt of his home club of Malmo FF. Used to clubs close to the European cups level, and always called up in the national team, many fans believe that he could have searched for more experience before going back to Sweden in 2014, but this choice made him a legend for Di Blåe. Day by day he managed to frequent more and more the ambient of the organised tifo, and now he earned a memorable choreo all dedicated to himself, just before the last match of his career, against Dinamo Kyev in this season’s Europa League. The result? Last minute goal scored by Rosenberg, 4-3 win and Malmo through to the next round after one of the most emotional European matches in these last years. Do you still really think that this is “just a game”?
ALEXY BOSETTI, OGC NICE-INTER
One of the most interesting figures for this article could be Alexy Bosetti, French striker born in 1993, right now playing in the USA second division. Until 2017 he’s been an OGC Nice player, his favorite club, despite some loans around Europe, as said by him in loads of interviews. Even though his early career was very promising (he won the U20 World Cup in a squad that included players such as Pogba, Umtiti or Thauvin), during these years Bosetti always finished on a different side of the newspaper and medias, more for this behaviors and lifestyle outside the pitch. Declared ultras, there are plenty of pictures of him leading other fans on the Brigade Sud Nice (he also has a tattoo of the group on his arm, which used to show at every goal celebration with the red and black shirt). There are also pictures and news about him on Curva Nord at Inter, with the Boys SAN; biggest group of the curva since their foundation, they have always been very convinced about controversial politics and social ideas, and they’re friends with groups from OGC Nice and Valencia. Asked this questions, the striker clearly declared to often frequenting both groups since he was a little boy, without intention of quitting! His ultras lifestyle surely didn’t help his professional career, but he earned a lot of respect and honor in our world, with a big courage to choose the difficult path, always very discussed by everyone.
PAOLO DI CANIO, LAZIO
One of the most gifted players in recent Italian football history, yet one of the most controversial and discussed profiles. Let’s be honest, Paolo Di Canio, maybe for his turbulent past, maybe for his famous tough snout, could easily be associated to the ultras world! In both Italy and Great Britain, in his divided carreer, his strong politic identity always spoke for himself, all confirmed by loads of pictures of him with fascist tatoos, or celebrating with the Roman salute, raising his right hand like in time of Nazism or Fascism. Borned in Roma and with more than 100 apps with the Aquile Biancocelesti, Di Canio obviously always declared to be a Lazio supporter. Because those scandalmongering reasons which saw him close to the far right Italian politic, the stiker has always been vague in these themes during many interviews; however, pictures of him close to big figures in the historical Lazio ultras movement, in particular some Irriducibili leaders, are the confirmation we’ve been searching for. Apparently a lover of away games, Di Canio tried his best to manage his double commitment of football player and ultras, especially at the start of his carreer.
DAME N’DOYE, COPENHAGEN
What else could an ultras desire, if not one of the most influent player in the modern history of his club with a specific tattoo of his tifo group? This is exactly the case of Dame N’Doye, 35 years old striker of FC Copenhagen, borned in Senegal and with experiences in eight different leagues. Right now at his second spell in Copenhagen, with more than 100 goals scored for the Løverne, 4 Danish league titles and 2 DBU Pokals, N’Doye indissolubly bonded his carreer to FCK. The glory won on the pitch though, wasn’t immediate: arrived in Denmark in 2009 after big experiences in Greece, the Senegalese appeared suffering for this big change, despite the high expectations of the fans. Only the continue support managed to unlock his full potential, and the warmness of Sektion 12 is still relevant nowadays, with the striker close to his retirement days. To repay the fans, in 2011 N’Doye started to go round in the surroundings of FCK’s hot tifo, in particular with the biggest group, still nowadays, Urban Crew. It was like this that with a common deal, N’Doye bring since then the logo of the glorious group, a bald man, on his left arm, often kissed by him while celebrating under the Sektion 12 in Parken.
JORDAN HENDERSON, SUNDERLAND
Jordan Henderson, born in Sunderland in 1990, bonded part of his professional carreer to his local club, the Black Cats of Northern England. One of the most influent and talented midfielder in the european football scene, also current winner as a captain of the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool, had a glorious past inside Sunderland fanscene. Even though England can’t really vaunt an ultras movement nowadays, and with the hooligans golden times already passed since decades, in his early life Jordan Henderson often declared to still having strict contacts with historical supporter of the Championship club; these bonds brought him to assist to many games in the lower popoular sectors in the Stadium of Lights, both in his Sunderland and Liverpool times, being disqualified or injured, and with special permissions from the club.