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Seven memorable moments from birthday boy Paolo Di Canio

Moments of madness and magic, the sensational and the sublime, are what mercurial and controversial former striker and coach Paolo Di Canio is best remembered for.

Stints at AC Milan (16/1 with Coral to win Serie A), Juventus, Lazio and West Ham United (20/1 for a top six finish) among others have provided plenty of career highlights, though the talented and tempestuous attacker was amazingly never capped at senior level for Italy.

So, to mark the fiery and feisty forward’s 46th birthday, Coral writers bring you are seven of our favourite moments from dangerman Di Canio. In his own words “A lion can’t stay in a cage. A lion has to be on the pitch. So, this is my job and this is my life…”

Vicious volley versus Wimbledon (2000)
Of course we have to begin with THAT goal, rated one of the Premier League’ all-time greatest strikes. Putting aside all the acrimony and arguments, this sensational volley for West Ham against Wimbledon is the image that springs to mind first when thinking of the instinctive Italian.

Then coach Harry Redknapp said of the striker: “He can do things with the ball that people can only dream of.” Quite.

Take a stroll down memory-lane with this iconic goal:

Derby decider against rivals Roma (1988-89)
Di Canio had a history of sensational volleys before arriving at Upton Park, as this inch-perfect effort for boyhood club Lazio in the Derby della Capitale against fierce rivals the Giallorossi shows. As a Roman born and bred, winning goals don’t get much better than that.

See the classic strike here:

Swindon Town scuffle (2011)
As a coach Di Canio proved to be no less divisive, and in a spell as Swindon manager famously got into a scuffle with new signing Leon Clarke as his side were beaten in the then Carling Cup by Southampton. Clarke appeared to argue with a fitness coach and it wasn’t long before his new boss became involved.

Take a peek at the kerfuffle:

Sliding for Sunderland (2014)
Di Canio endeared himself to the Sunderland support by guiding his side to a first Tyne-Wear derby victory for 13 years against Newcastle United, who the Black Cats beat 3-0. The coach hit the headlines, of course, by sliding across the pitch on his knees to celebrate, Jose Mourinho-style.

See his joyous celebration:

Refereeing ruckus (1998)
During a short stint with Sheffield Wednesday fan favourite Di Canio first alerted English fans to his on-pitch temper by pushing referee Paul Alcock, who fell rather ungracefully, evidently disagreeing with the decision to send him off against Arsenal. The forward was later banned for 11 games.

View the notorious scuffle here:

Superb sportsmanship against Everton (2000)
Di Canio wasn’t all about the drama, and Goodison Park duly awarded the West Ham man with a standing ovation, as he caught a cross and spurned a striking opportunity to stop play after Toffees keeper Paul Gerrard twisted his knee. How nice.

The act of sportsmanship:

Penalty petulance and passion (2000)
A 5-4 thriller against Bradford City, though it ended up as a win for West Ham, is mainly remembered for Di Canio’s struggle with regular spot kick taker Frank Lampard. After Paul Kitson was brought down in the box, the Hammers hitman insisted on taking the penalty burden from his teammate, grabbing the ball from the Englishman, and luckily for him converted with aplomb.

See the squabble here: