Malgioglio: “Thanks Mattarella, but I owe everything to disabled children and their families”

The former goalkeeper will receive the Order of Merit: “Angels who gave meaning to my life”

Andrea Di Caro

Each man has his personal Match of Life. For many it is often a dry race, the overcoming of an obstacle, the achievement of a goal. Astutillo Malgioglio, 63 years old and former goalkeeper of Brescia, Rome, Lazio, Inter and Atalanta has played his every day for almost 45 years. And every day he wins it.

But football has nothing to do with it or, if anything, it highlights even more the importance of what he decided to do when he was a young Serie A footballer and like so many of his colleagues he could have devoted himself to entertainment, the good life, evenings and luxuries and instead chose to spend all his free time and all his earnings helping disabled children. Hers is a moving story. He retraces it with the delicacy, sensitivity, dignity and humility of a man who in the story tends to make himself small despite being a giant and who does not like to point the finger to accuse, preferring to use his hands on the body of those in need of care.

“I have received so much”

Faced with the compliments for the recognition he will receive from the hands of the President of the Republic Mattarella on November 29th, Astutillo fights and displaces you with his big heart: “I learned about it two days ago. I have already received so much from my life, that I don’t think I deserve this too. ” He says just like that, “received so much”, he who gave everything, to help others: “I don’t know if I am worthy of receiving this honor, I want to share it with the families of those angels who have given me the opportunity to do the most beauty in the world: helping others. And every time I succeed, I feel the luckiest man on earth. When I received the news I was with the parents of a disabled child, they were moved and this for me is the sense of everything”.

When I received the news I was with the parents of a disabled child, they were moved and this is the meaning of everything for me.

Astutillo Malgioglio

Sharing, respect and solidarity

Sharing, Malgioglio often repeats this word. From the dictionary it means: “to divide, share with others, have in common”. This is what Astutillo did from a young age: “I was 19 and I was the owner of Brescia in Serie B when, thanks to a friend, I visited a center for the disabled for the first time. I was impressed by their marginalization, their abandonment. strong emotion, a punch in the stomach. My parents have always been involved in social matters, they had already ‘taught’ me respect and solidarity towards others, but that day everything became clear to me. Life couldn’t be just a ball I started studying and specialized in children’s motor problems. Then with my first job I opened an ERA 77 gym with the initials of the name of my daughter Elena born in 1977, my wife Raffaella and mine. we offered free therapies to disabled children. We helped them to walk, to move by themselves “.

I was the owner of Brescia in Serie B when, thanks to a friend, I visited a center for the disabled for the first time. It was a very strong emotion, a punch in the stomach

Astutillo Malgioglio

He and the world of football

What deserved support and applause, however, became a negative label for his career: “In football I have always been tolerated. It’s a world that revolves only around himself and his little Sunday dramas; every voice out of the chorus. It’s a danger. In my entire career I have never skipped a training session. I was one of those who call themselves ‘exemplary professionals’. Yet, often, it was not enough. Any other interest other than football is seen as a dangerous distraction, even when helping of children with disabilities. I always had everyone’s eyes on me. I had to give 110% to avoid hearing the hateful chatter of those who, in front of an error on the pitch, might comment ‘He thinks of the handicapped instead of parrying …’. For years I went back and forth between the training ground and my gym in Piacenza: no stress, no distraction, just the feeling of being a better man. ”

I was one of those who call themselves ‘exemplary professionals’. Yet often it was not enough

Astutillo Malgioglio

With children in Trigoria

In 1983 Liedholm called him to Rome as deputy Tancredi, the year after winning the Scudetto. “They were two splendid seasons. The club has always come to meet me: I took disabled children to Trigoria for re-education, I used the team’s gym after training. The footballer Malgioglio had the pleasure of playing with Falcao and Cerezo, the man Astutillo had the honor of helping children “.

The greatest bitterness

But Rome also brought with it the greatest bitterness. After two years in the Giallorossi he moved to Lazio, in Serie B. It was a troubled season. The team was struggling, the club was absent, the fans did not leave him alone criticizing his commitment off the pitch. “I have always wondered why there is so much hostility; I never demanded applause, just a little respect”. In a lost game at home, you whistle at every intervention, until a banner appeared on the curve: “Go back to your monsters.” Even a meek man has a breaking point: at the end of the game he took off his shirt, stepped on it, spat on it and threw it at the fans. “It hurts me to go back to this episode. I would not do that gesture again. Only my family and I know the suffering I experienced. What hurt me most was not the malice towards me but the lack of respect, solidarity, humanity for those unfortunate children who had nothing to do with it. The next day in Piacenza I saw the parents of those children. Crossing their eyes, I did not know what to say. Many of those children did not manage to become adults “.

I wouldn’t do that gesture again. I was hurt by the lack of respect, solidarity, humanity for those unfortunate children who had nothing to do with it

Astutillo Malgioglio

Trap and the end of his career

He had decided to quit when the phone call from Trapattoni arrived who chose the man before the player: “I signed blank and stayed at Inter for five years, winning a Scudetto in the Nerazzurri. With the signings I renewed the gym with state-of-the-art equipment. from all over Italy to do re-education in my center. When Trap left Inter, my path was also closed. ” At 34, he bid farewell to football with the Atalanta shirt. With the end of his career, the funds for his re-education center also disappeared. “The facility cost a lot and I didn’t feel like charging patients. I never asked anyone for anything, neither companions, nor society. I had a lot of machines, I donated them all. Unfortunately, I had to close the gym in 2000”.

A bath of humanity

But with his wife Raffaella he did not stop: “We decided to take a different path: follow the most serious cases at home. And this opened up a world that is humanly even more intense and satisfying: because we became part of these families. , we shared suffering, pain, but also smiles, improvements and results, managing to better understand and experience their situation and disability on the skin. The regret for the closure of the gym has been replaced by this infinite human baggage that has definitively filled the our life”.

We became part of these families, we shared suffering, pain, but also smiles, improvements and results

Astutillo Malgioglio

“I do not regret anything”

For years Astutillo has experienced the bitterness of having been forgotten by the world of football. “I have never looked for assignments, sometimes a phone call, a memory, a caress would have been enough: I live from these things. Then I regretted having also felt bitterness. My path was another and it allowed me to enter again more in contact with those in need. I have also renewed myself in spirit. I do not regret anything and I feel an enormously lucky man “.

We want to thank the writer of this write-up for this remarkable material

Malgioglio: “Thanks Mattarella, but I owe everything to disabled children and their families”

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