Italian soccer star to sue Facebook

February 7, 2009 12:11 PM PST

Posted by Chris Matyszczyk

One of the world’s most famous soccer players, Alessandro del Piero of the Juventus club in Italy, is said to be suing Facebook.

He is distressed because of a Facebook profile that purports to be his (it features his name and image) and carries links to Nazi propaganda sites.

Del Piero, who is as handsome as David Beckham (research conducted by me amongst females in the last 30 minutes) and a somewhat more accomplished player (no research needed), claims he has never had a Facebook profile.

Fascist symbolism has a long history in Italian soccer. If you’ve ever been to a home game of the Lazio club in Rome, you might believe that, for certain fans, Mussolini is alive and well and living on the Mediterranean Coast.

One of the more famous incidents of Fascist-forward behavior involved Italian star Paulo di Canio, who repeatedly made straight-armed salutes to Lazio fans.

You might find di Canio’s explanation highly intellectual: “I’m a Fascist, not a racist.” He also went on to explain that Mussolini was both “misunderstood” and “basically a very principled and ethical individual.”

Indeed, not many years before Di Canio’s time at Lazio, the club’s fans displayed a banner that taunted supporters of the rival AS Roma team: “Team of blacks, crowd of Jews.”

It is against this background that Del Piero is trying to protect his image, which has been carefully honed over an extremely successful and media-friendly career.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook responds to the star’s concerns.

Chris Matyszczyk is an award-winning creative director who advises major corporations on content creation and marketing. He brings an irreverent, sarcastic, and sometimes ironic voice to the tech world. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET.

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