The Italian Almanac

Gianni Rivera

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Former Italy soccer great Gianni Rivera has said he is going to resume his political career and stand for parliament with the small Democratic Centre party at next month's general election. The Democratic Centre are part of the centre-left coalition that is leading in the polls

Rivera started his political career with the once-dominant Christian Democrat party but moved to the centre left after it collapsed following the Clean Hands corruption scandals of the early 1990s. He served as defence undersecretary in Romano Prodi's first government between 1996 and 2001. The former Milan captain has also been a member of the European Parliament and the executive councillor for sport for the city of Rome. His latest political venture ended in disappointment when he won just 20 voter 'preferences' in 2011 when he stood on the centre-right list presented by Letizia Moratti in her unsuccessful bid to be re-elected mayor of Milan.

"I've always been on the (political) field in one way or another," Rivera said when asked about his political comeback. Rivera, an attacking midfielder, helped Italy win the 1968 European championships and reach the final of the 1970 World Cup, scoring the winning goal in the Azzurri's 4-3 semi-final win over West Germany, which was nicknamed the "game of the century". He was also part of the Milan team that won three Serie A titles and the 1963 and 1969 European Cups before retiring in 1979. In 1969 he won soccer's most prestigious individual honour, the Ballon d'Or.