A Hollywood Farewell

Football farewells are usually done by being substituted during the player’s last match in order to receive a standing ovation. But that is too mainstream for Ignazio Barbagallo. The 55-year-old Italian (yes, you read the age right) retired from football during the match Citta di Viagrande versus Play Shop Nebrodi.

The 55-year-old Italian (yes, you read the age right) retired from football during the match Citta di Viagrande versus Play Shop Nebrodi.

The match was valid for Catania’s Third Category league. In the tenth minute, Barbagallo entered the ground, with his time lasting very short.

Suddenly, a helicopter took off from close-by and landed on the playing field, with two men coming out and kidnapping Barbagallo.

Furthermore, one of his teammates held a placard that read ‘SERVICIO ELIMINAZIONE GIOCATORI FINITI’ – meaning that the kidnapping was actually a service to remove finished players.

Various cameras were set up, including in the helicopter and in the stands, to capture this moment from various angles and viewpoints. The mayor of the town as well as the police had given their permission to stage this.

20 years ago, Barbagallo, who is renowned for being a prankster himself, had tried to do the same thing, but at that time, permission was refused.

The farewell by kidnapping will be remembered by all those involved. Citta di Viagrande also won the game 2-1. However, not everyone was jolly with what unfolded.

The Giudice Sportivo fined Citta di Viagrande €200 and their playing field cannot host matches until 31st May 2019. The reason given was for interrupting a game by ordering in advance and landing a helicopter on the same field, with the safety of those present compromised.

Truth be told, the helicopter’s rotor blades caused a lot of dust to be uplifted into the air, as the playing field did not have synthetic turf. In fact, the players had to find shelter behind the substitutes’ bench in order to protect themselves and their eyes from the dust.

Barbagallo’s disqualification doesn’t really matter, since football is over for the Sicilian ex player, who gave his farewell to football in Hollywood style.

Barbagallo was also disqualified until 30th June 2019, for abandoning the match without the referee’s permission using a helicopter that landed without authorization, and this forced the referee to suspend the match temporarily, while the helicopter caused a potential danger to those present.

Barbagallo’s disqualification doesn’t really matter, since football is over for the Sicilian ex player, who gave his farewell to football in Hollywood style.

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