BEHIND THE SHIRT
An interview with the Como bomber
The genuine smile of someone who knows they’ve earned everything on the field through sacrifice, the story of someone who never gave up and is ready to fight to achieve their goals, the warmth of the fans’ voices when he steps onto the field—these are some of the characteristics that best describe Como 1907’s number 9: Alessandro Gabrielloni.
Hailing from a small town in the Marche region, in the heart of central Italy, our underdog tells his story to Como 1907 The Magazine. In 2019, he arrived in Como for the first time, and in his second season on the shores of Lake Como, he established himself as the Bomber of the Lariani. He talks about earning his degree in economics while wearing Como’s shorts, his passion for reading, and the importance of his family.
Ciao Alessandro, can you tell us about your beginnings?
I grew up in the Marche region of Italy, in Jesi, in a large, close-knit family. I played two years in the youth sector of Ancona, which was playing in Serie B at that time, then the team went bankrupt and I returned to Jesina, a team from my village. After a couple of months I was taken to the first team in the D Series, at the age of 16. After finishing high school, I played for a year in Macerata.
Unlike many players, you did your time in the lower leagues?
I worked hard in the early years to improve in many areas. I set small goals so that I could always be a better player. I believe that was my strength, and it allowed me to mature a lot.
The big break came with Como, although it took some time.
I remember the first day I arrived here. It was winter in 2019, raining, and cold. I knew it was a very important opportunity, and I had to adapt quickly.I had a strong desire to play and score goals. Como now feels like a second home for me. I feel a special connection to the club and the fans, a strong bond has formed, deep in my heart.
Even when Como didn’t get promoted immediately, you decided to stay.
I had positive feelings so I didn’t think much about it. I said to myself. “why change when you feel good?”. It went well; we won the championship, but it was a very long and challenging season. I had never won a championship before, but I had been second many times, and that hurt a lot.
Two years at Como in Serie C, with many goals and a new awareness.
In the second year at Como, I truly realised that football would be my job.. In those two seasons, a very strong group was formed, which went against all difficulties and eventually won. I trained all summer, also to change the minds of those who thought I was just a Serie D player.
Then there was the match that clinched the Serie C championship 2020/2021 against U.S Alessandria. What do you feel when you think about it today?
I believe that moment is the most beautiful of my career. I remember the day before; I was very calm, something that Ale Bellemo (Captain of Como) envied a lot. I’m not usually someone who faces pre-match with tranquility because tension helps me give my best. I had a new awareness of myself. In previous years, I had always set limits. I never settled, but maybe I had no idea how much room for improvement I had. Now I think only of looking ahead, without setting myself any limitsi.
Arriving in Serie B, you had to once again confront those who thought you weren’t suitable for this level.
One thing that has never been lacking is the trust of my teammates and the club; this makes you work well.
You have now scored 100 career goals.
I am happy, I really wanted the goal. It was nice to do it in a crucial game, with a decisive goal in the 90th minute followed by a full team hug, against Feralpisalò. I hadn’t scored in the league for eight months and it was beginning to take its toll.
In the journey, you also earned a degree in economics.
Yes, with a thesis on “Demographic Change and Macroeconomic Implications in Italy.” As I said before, I started studying because I didn’t know if I would become a footballer, and because, I have to say, my parents cared a lot and always supported me I graduated in Economics in Macerata. It took me a while, but in the end, I got my degree, and it was hugely satisfying. It was in the middle of Covid though; I didn’t even have proper clothes because you couldn’t leave the house. I discussed the thesis in a shirt, remotely in front of the PC, and under wore my Como game shorts, so the webcam wouldn’t capture them (laughs).
In your free time, what do you do?
I follow many sports, especially basketball, from the NBA to European and Italian leagues. For the rest, I try to read when I’m at home and have free time.I just finished Orwell’s “1984” and Obama’s biography. I like it, it relaxes me, and it opens my mind. When I can, I also read something more related to economics, just to stay updated. On away trips, I play cards with my teammates.
What is happiness for you?
I’ll answer with two things. The ball going into the net and everything that comes with it, and Sunday lunches with my whole family.