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‘I would’ve loved to play cricket’

London: Christian Vieri is one of the world’s most feared strikers but the Italy international would swap it all for his real passion — cricket.

“I would have loved to have been a cricketer,” the 30-year-old Inter Milan player told Champions magazine, the official publication of the Uefa Champions League.

“I was telling a friend last week, I would stop playing now to play cricket if I could get the same contract. I was a bit of an allrounder at school.”

Vieri’s love of cricket stems from his upbringing in Australia, where his family emigrated from Tuscany when he was three. He was a left-hand batsman and had a bat signed by Allan Border.

Since returning to Italy, cricket opportunities have been rare, though Vieri says Gennaro Gattuso is another fan of the game after playing it in Scotland.

On a recent holiday in the Maldives, Vieri tried to convert his friends. “The waiters, the cooks, they were all Indian and they played every afternoon,” he said. “I played with them. We spent the week playing cricket.”

He reserves the most glowing praise for Ronaldo, his former partner at the San Siro. “Ronaldo is the best,” he said. “I always knew where he was, he always knew where I was. I’ve never been so perfect with a player in my life.”

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