Soccer's Side Effect

From the weary voice at the other end, Fulvio Collovati knew right away that his buddy was in trouble. Since their days as teammates at Genoa a decade earlier in Italy's top football league, he and Gianluca Signorini telephoned each other often. But this time, Signorini, once a rugged defender, had to strain just to speak. "I'm not well," he told his friend. An intense, unfamiliar pain was spreading through his back. The doctors were worried. He was scared. Collovati — currently general manager of the northern Italian squad Piacenza — shakes his head recalling that conversation in November, 2000. "I...

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