history22 October 2020


Rino Gattuso and "his" Glasgow

Before Celtic v AC Milan everyone gathered at Bar Milano. It was a functional and well-liked spaghetti house where one felt part of a big family. It was the refined restaurant of Mario Romano in Glasgow, the Neapolitan father-in-law of Rino Gattuso, who passed away in recent years.

On the eve of the clash between the Hoops and the Rossoneri in December 2004, with AC Milan having already qualified for the Champions League knockout stages, Monica Romano's father invited all of the journalists to dinner. So many memories and stories were shared that evening. Rino was a young man from Calabria with a twinkle in his eye that had just fallen into the hands of Rangers Coach Walter Smith; when not on the pitch, Rino was known to let off steam in Italian at lunch and dinner. Mario took him under his wing. Then Monica. Then a whole life.

His grandchildren Francesco and Gabriela, haven't forgotten their grandfather either. Mario Romano, Monica's father, said that "Rino always went to the pitch at 09:00 as a boy. I'd say to him: “Rino, training is at 10”, but he'd reply: “I've got to train" all he had in his head was training". In spite of all of this, he was never willing to compromise, not even as a youth player.

In 1998, when Advocaat took over Rangers and decided to turn Gattuso into a full-back, Rino said goodbye. He left for Salerno at 04:00 to make sure fans didn't stop him in the street, something they'd often do during the day, since they'd learnt to love the Scotsman from Calabria. From that day on, Rino would go on to accomplish a lot. It can be said that so much of his success was thanks to Mario Romano, who took on the role of a second father for Rino.

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