The Toughest - Andrea Olivieri

The Toughest is a series of interviews with the stars of 1FF to understand what it means to them to be tough, who their toughest opponents are, and who has helped them to achieve their own version of toughness.

Andrea Olivieri, what does it mean to you to be tough? 
For me it comes down to being tough to play against; seeing the challenge in front of you and to play football that gives your opponent the toughest game they can face. Tough isn’t pushing someone over, it can be working on a defender who doesn’t want to turn around and have a race. I’ve learned what makes me the best version of me to achieve my goals and I bring the right version of that into every situation I play. 

Name check someone in your corner who has made you tough. 
My hero growing up in Italy was Christian Vieri. If you don’t know who that is, search him on YouTube and enjoy! He was a perfect mix of everything I want to be - intelligent, strong, and great acceleration. I met him many times and he has become a mentor to me. He faced many challenges in his career and showed me the power of playing footballer that gives the defender the worst 90 mins of their week!

Christian Vieri

Toughest challenge to get to where you are. 
As an Italian man we have a reputation that we don’t leave home until we’re about 35! Moving to Brazil was a big move for me, culturally especially because we do things quite differently in Italy. I love it here, but miss home and Italian food is the best in the world. 

Toughest direct opponent you've ever played against. 
I think Salvador Broglia. When I talk about playing smart football, he’s doing the same to me. Some defenders kick you, but some make you do things that you don’t want to do, and I find that a lot tougher to play against. You find yourself way out on the wing searching for some space, or back in your own box defending him on corners and think “how did I get here?!” 

Who do you teammates tell you is the Toughest they've faced? 
Dale Ramos. He doesn’t look all that strong but he is, he doesn’t look very quick but he is, he doesn’t look like he’d have that nasty streak in him, but he does. You barely see him all game and then you get to the final whistle and he’s scored two and won the three points. 

In your view - who is the Toughest player in 1FF 
I’m going to go with Vinicius Ribeiro - our Centre Back. The man is a machine. I never want to go up against him in training because he doesn’t switch off and can’t turn down his tackling from how he’d smash an opponent. I almost feel sorry for other teams strikers that have to be on the end of those.