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Monday, 02 March 2009

Whatever Happened To?- Benito Carbone

Now that 60% of the players in the Premiership are from overseas it's strange to think back to the 1990s when foreign stars were still exotic imports. A pair of Italians at Sheffield Wednesday brought a special brand of excitement to the game.

Paulo Di Canio and Benito Carbone conformed to the stereotype of the skillful but temperamental ball player; both had been through a number of clubs in Italy before they came to England. Di Canio finally found a place where he felt comfortable at West Ham and applied his massive talent - but Carbone never lost his wanderlust.

When he arrived at Hillsborough in 1996 Carbone had already turned out for no less than seven clubs in his native country. They included Inter Milan, Torino and Napoli, so clearly his talent wasn't in question.

The three years the long-haired forward spent with Wednesday have become the longest he's ever spent in a career that is still going. At 37 Carbone has returned to Italy to play for lower division outfit Pavia after a guest stint in Australia with Sydney FC- characteristically he left Sydney because he couldn't agree terms.

Carbone is fondly remembered in South Yorkshire where he played some magical football in nearly 100 games. Bradford City fans also appreciate his contribution to their two years in the top flight.

He's less well thought of at Aston Villa, Derby County and Middlesbrough where his reputation is of a player interested in large contracts but failing to deliver as he did in Yorkshire.

He played in the Aston Villa side that reached the 2000 FA Cup Final. On the way to Wembley he produced a stunning hat-trick to knock Leeds United out.

After his seven Italian clubs and five in the Premiership, Carbone returned to his native country to appear for four more sides, each for one season, including Parma and Vicenza. Sydney became his seventeenth professional club before the move to Pavia where, against the odds. he's played 42 games so far.

Pavia dwell in Lega Pro 2, which is the fourth tier of Italian football, and are currently mid-table. Carbone signed for two years so it remains to be seen if a career that began in 1988 continues after this summer.

 Like Di Canio- who retired last year at 39- there were no international call ups, which must partly be down to his continuous moves.

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