Lazio had the great-grandson of a historical figure on their matchday squad Sunday as the club took on Verona in a Serie A match.
The squad brought Romano Floriani Mussolini onto the club ahead of the match. He is the great-grandson of the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and the third child of Alessandra Mussolini and Mauro Floriani.
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Romano Floriani Mussolini decided to use both of his surnames when playing soccer. He told Italian media he wasn’t being judged by his last name but instead just the play on the pitch. He signed with Lazio’s youth squad in February, according to Reuters.
“Here at Lazio, I’m judged only for the way I play and not because my surname is Mussolini,” he told Il Messaggero in February. “I hope I can make my debut for the Primavera one day.”
His mother, Alessandra, told the Adnkronos press agency around the same time he signed with Lazio that her son has no interest in politics.
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“I have nothing to comment on. It’s something I prefer to stay out of. My son wants no sort of meddling in his private life or choices,” she said, via The Guardian.
The 18-year-old right-back had initially played for Roma’s youth club before joining Lazio earlier in the year.
Some Lazio fans have been accused of having far-right links. According to Sky News, the fan club known as “ultras” have flown banners supporting fascism and in 2005 former player Paolo Di Canio gave a fascist salute to fans after a win over Roma.
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On Sunday, Lazio lost to Verona 4-1.