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When The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly

A journey into the world of Italy's racist soccer thugs.

Originally Published: June 5, 2013
By Wright Thompson | ESPNFC &
ESPN The Magazine

VERONA, Italy -- Right up until he started quoting Hitler and dropping N-bombs, my new friend was a great dude. I'll call him The Hooligan. A more generous host would be hard to find. Soon after we met, he made sure we stopped at the one place in town that served Campari correctly. He speaks eight languages, and seemed nothing like the Hellas Verona fans I'd read about, the neo-fascist, neo-Nazi, racist thugs. The Hooligan insisted the Veronese just have a dark sense of humor and refuse to wear the yoke of modern political correctness.

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