Having the same name as a hated Serie A referee is not fun

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

When referee Gianluca Rocchi sent off Joel Obi for no good reason and gave Napoli a penalty kick for a foul outside the box in its 3-0 win over Inter last weekend, he got a lot of abuse from Nerazzurri supporters. And so did an unemployed man from Florence, who had nothing at all to do with the match except for the fact that he has the terrible misfortune of also being named Gianluca Rocchi.

From the AFP:

But now a 44-year-old from Limite sull'Arno, just outside Florence, has received threatening phone calls.

"It's not the first time it's happened and that's also why I follow the Florentine referee's performances to see if I need to expect some telephone threats," the unemployed Rocchi told local newspaper Il Tirreno.

"I always hope that he referees well. But in any case, it's never nice to hear someone tell you on the telephone they're going to kill you."

How awful is that? I mean, the only thing that's worse than getting the abuse referees get on a regular basis is getting the abuse that referees get on a regular basis while not being a referee. Or having any job at all, let alone one that involves death threats from extremist football fans.

The unemployed Rocchi really needs to just go ahead and change his name to something less controversial like Silvio Berlusconi or Mario Balotelli.

Photo: Reuters

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