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Francesco Flachi (born April 8, 1975 in Florencemarker) is an Italianmarker footballer who currently plays for Brescia Calcio, as a striker.

Whilst at U.C. Sampdoria, he served a two-year ban from professional football, due to doping.

Club career

Fiorentina, Bari and Ancona: 1993-1998

After some years in the ACF Fiorentina youth system, Flachi got his senior debut in 1993, in a promotion-ending season, scoring twice in twelve games in Serie B. His top level debut came on 4 September 1994 against Cagliari Calcio, in a 2-1 win.

Flachi lost his place in the squad, and in 1996-97 he was loaned out to A.S. Bari. His good performances prompted a return to Florence, but the competition of Gabriel Batistuta and Luis Oliveira was ruthless and, in January 1998, Flachi was again loaned, this time to A.C. Ancona, where he got an impressive 10 goals in 17 games.

Move to Sampdoria

Upon leaving his childhood club, Flachi moved to U.C. Sampdoria, who had just been relegated to the second division, and spent the next four years in ‘‘purgatory’’.

In the first season with Samp, with manager Giampiero Ventura, he did not succeed to gain a starter berth, still scoring five times in 28 games. In the following season, with the arrival of coach Luigi Cagni, he scored 17 times in 34 matches, as well as creating many too. In 2001-02, he became known by fans as "Salvatore della patria" ("Saviour of the homeland" in Italian). In that season, which would be the last for the Genovese outfit in the second flight, Flachi recorded 16 goals in 37 games.

In 2002, the Blucerchiati were bought by Riccardo Garrone, and Walter Novellino was hired, with Flachi netting five goals in 35 appearances upon the return to Serie A, while also welcoming his first daughter, Valentina.

However, his relationship with Novellino was not ideal. They had numerous arguments on and off the pitch. Flachi paid for his attitude by remaining on the bench in the first half of the 2003-04 campaign. As the partnership of Massimo Marazzina and Atsushi Yanagisawa did not click, Novellino began playing Flachi and Fabio Bazzani with good results. The team eventually finished 8th, with 24 goals between Flachi (11) and Bazzani (13).

In 2004-05, with 14 goals in 35 appearances and some assists, Flachi achieved somewhat of a legend status amongst fans of the team. In that season, Sampdoria nearly earned UEFA Champions League qualification but had to settle for 5th, with the subsequent return to the UEFA Cup. In 2005-06, Flachi continued to display top football (31 matches, 11 goals), this time accompanied by new striker Emiliano Bonazzoli. However, Sampdoria failed to quaify from their UEFA Cup group and finished 14th in the league (12th after the match fixing scandal).

Betting and cocaine

On September 21, 2006, Flachi was suspended for two months by the Italian Football Federation as investigations concluded he and teammate Moris Carrozzieri were gathering information for gamblers in Italian football. Their club received a 20,000 fine.

Trace amounts of cocaine were found in Flachi's system in a random test, after a 2-0 loss to Inter Milan on January 28, 2007. On May 31, he was suspended for 16 months. Later, the ban was increased to two years.As a result of the ban, his contract with Sampdoria was canceled.

Following the ban, Flachi started training with Eccellenza Tuscany team Pietrasanta, hoping to return back into active football once his ban expired.On June 2008, second level' Empoli F.C. completed his signing;he returned to competitive football in January of the following year.

In the 2009 summer, Flachi penned a deal with another side in that category, Brescia Calcio.

International career

Flachi represented Italy's U18 in the 1992 European Football Championship. He was also called-up once by the main squad, for an August 2004 friendly with Iceland, but would never make his debut.

References

  1. Sampdoria striker gets ban for gambling offence; ESPN Soccernet, 21 September 2006
  2. Flachi to sit out 16 months, UEFA.com, May 31 2007


External links




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