Best of the West – Christian Vieri


Raised in Western Sydney the burly striker would go on to smash records on and off the pitch.

As Western Sydney Wanderers prepare for their Hyundai A-League debut, over the coming days we will look at some of the finest footballing talent to come out of Sydney-s western suburbs.

Think we-ve got the list wrong? Is there a player you think shouldn-t be mentioned or is there someone we-ve missed? Have your say below…

Born in Italy before moving to Australia with his family the one-time most expensive footballer in the world played his junior football for Marconi before venturing back to Italy and walking into the open arms of Torino who would be the first in a long list of clubs he would ply his trade for throughout Italy and Spain, where he had incredible success.

Though best known for his time at Internazionale, who at the time (1999) paid a record transfer fee of 32 million pounds for the Italian national team striker.

That money would turn out to be an investment that was paid back with a multitude of goals as Vieri went on a scoring spree for Inters, netting over 100 goals in his time there.

Though that period of time never saw Inter win the league, Vieri achieved plenty of personal milestones, including being names the Serie A Footballer of the Year once and the Italian Footballer of the Year twice and he was also named in Pele-s FIFA 100 list as well as winning the Guerin d-Oro a major Italian media award.

In 2003 he also won the Golden Boot of the Serie A.

While he is best known for his time at Inter he also excelled during his one season in La Liga, the move to Spain agreeing with him as he netted an amazing 24 times in 24 games for Atletico Madrid, where he also won the Pichichi Trophy for the Golden Boot in that competition.

While he was an absolute terror to mark at club level in Europe, the story wasn-t much different when he was on international duty for Italy and this was largely due to his huge physical presence.

Very few defenders were ever capable of matching Vieri-s strength and power, which when combined with his ball skills made him an excellent target man for the Azzuri.

Vieri would be a large source of Italy-s goals in both the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups scoring four and five respectively and although he never won the Golden Boot at either tournament he was among the top scorers at both.

Sadly when his time at Inter came to an end his career petered out – a move to AC Milan didn-t suit him and his strong body eventually gave out with a serious knee injury curtailing his dreams of playing in a third World Cup in 2006 and ultimately costing him the chance at lifting the World Cup trophy.