A former Italian Serie A striker Francesco Flachi has returned to the pitch with Signa, a non-professional league side in the fifth division in Italy, to play his first competitive game after the end of a 12-year ban for using cocaine.
Flachi, 46, was under contract with Sampdoria in 2007 when he got a two-year ban after testing positive for cocaine. The club terminated his contract and after two years he made his return to the pitch.
After spending six months with his new club Brescia, he tested positive for cocaine again and got a 12-year ban that terminated a few weeks ago.
On Sunday, February 13, Flachi started the game and played 30 minutes.
Former Sampdoria coach Walter Novellino attended the game in the stands and took a picture with his former player at the end of the match.
“I felt dazed before the game, I haven’t slept fro a week because of the excitement,” Flachi said after the final whistle.
“I am so happy now and I want to thank all those who are making me feel like a footballer again.
“The journey has just begun, let’s see what will happen. In May, I will begin a coaching course.”