Cristiano Lucarelli was born in Livorno on the west coast of Tuscany, Italy, in 1975. He was a striker for several football clubs before signing for his hometown AS Livorno in 2003, where he made a huge mark and helped them gain immediate promotion to the top league, Serie A.
But Lucarelli is known more for his political views than his football-playing and managerial career. Revered by Livorno’s traditionally socialist fans, he adopted the number 99 shirt as a tribute to the club’s most left-wing ultras. He was once fined for celebrating a goal for Italy Under-21s with the dual-clench-fist salute of the Communist Party. And fans loved his avowed mission to show that the working class could have a voice in the fight for equality.
Lucarelli rejected the lavish footballer lifestyle while playing for Livorno for four seasons – but especially enjoyed scoring against AC Milan, owned at the time by Silvio Berlusconi. At the end of his playing career, he launched a political newspaper in Livorno and now manages Serie C club, Ternana.