Meet England’s ‘last World Cup winner’ born just 10 miles from Old Trafford who never earned a single Three Lions cap
WHEN football fans think of England’s last World Cup winner, names such as Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore or Gordon Banks may crop up.
So it stands to reason that Simone Perrotta would definitely not come to mind.
However, 46-year-old Perrotta can claim the title of being England’s last World Cup winner.
Perrotta never made a single appearance for the Three Lions, instead being capped by Italy 48 times.
He was a member of the team which beat France on penalties to land the Jules Rimet in 2006, playing for 61 minutes in the Berlin final.
But having been born less than ten miles from Old Trafford in Ashton-under-Lyne, Perrotta has a unique claim to fame in bothand .
Perrotta was born in the town to Italian parents who had emigrated in the 1970s.
Mum Ana Maria and Dad Francesco ran a pub in Ashton, with the latter also taking over a football team called the Jolly Milan, before they headed back to Italy when Perrotta was six-years-old.
Giovanni Castellano, a former neighbour of the Perrotta’s, told Manchester Evening News: “Football was in the family’s blood.
“It (the team Francesco run) was named after the Jolly Carter, a pub in Hyde where we were based, and Milan because we were all Milan fans.
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“Having this football team meant trips for Simone to such exotic footballing locations as Hyde, Gorton and Oldham and even at that age he was showing signs of becoming football crazy like his father.”
During his time in England, Perrotta senior developed an affinity for Manchester United and eventually saw his son play at the stadium for AS Roma in a 2007 Champions League match.
Following the 2006 final, Mr Castellano added: “It was not Simone’s best match, but he did us proud throughout the contest. It was a fantastic achievement that most of us can only dream about.
“Now we can rightly say that there is no other place in the world with two World Cup football players of different nationalities from the same town.”
Perrotta’s club career saw him stay in Italy, starring for the likes of Reggina, Juventus, Bari and Verona before retiring at Roma in 2013 after nine seasons with the club.
He won the Italian Cup in back-to-backs years and the Super Cup once with Roma, as well as lifting the Euro Under-21 title with Italy in 2000.
Perrotta was immortalised with a statue outside of Curzon Ashton’s Tameside Stadium, which will play host to Avely or Barnet in the FA Cup first round proper.
The statute, erected in 2010, depicts him alongside the borough’s two members of England’s 1966 triumph – Geoff Hurst and Jimmy Armfield.
Upon finding out about the statue seven years later he said: “It was my uncle, who still lives there, who told me about it.
“I find it a big strange nobody else alerted me to the existence of this statue. My kids were surprised standing there in front of the statues of those players. And I thought: ‘Hey, I’m there too’.”
England can secure qualification to Euro 2024 by getting a draw against Italy – who beat the Three Lions on penalties in the final at Wembley in Euro 2020 – on Tuesday.
Gareth Southgate’s side are unbeaten in Group C qualifying, having beaten 2-1 Italy in the reverse fixture.
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