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Gianluca FESTA

Position: Defender Gianluca Festa

Height: 5ft 11in

Weight: approx 80kg

Date Of Birth: March 15th, 1969

Place Of Birth: Cagliari, Italy

Nationality: Italian

Date Signed: 18th January, 1997

Transfer Fee: 2.7 million

Previous Clubs: Cagliari (Ita), Roma on loan (Ita), Inter Milan (Ita).

International Honours: 5 Caps for Italian Under 21s

Club Honours: Coca-Cola Cup runners-up (1997-98, 1996-97), FA Cup runners-up (1996-97), Division One runners-up (1997-98), Supporters Club Player of the Year (1997-98).

One of the shrewdest of Bryan Robson's foreign signings, Gianluca is a vastly experienced defender having played in Italy's Serie A, B, and C. He had previously gained promotion with his hometown club Cagliari from division's C to A in consecutive seasons, and captained the military national team during his national service. Since Bryan Robosn signed him for 2.7 million he has proven to be worth his weight in gold, he began his Middlesbrough career by scoring on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday. Following relegation in 1997, Festa decided to stay with Boro winning the hearts of the Riverside people while other transfer coups, Ravanelli, Emerson and Juninho, buggered off.

He signed with Inter Milan from Cagliari and went straight to Roma on loan. At the San Siro, the next season his team mates included, oddly enoough both Paul Ince and Christian Ziege who have since had thier own experiences with Boro.

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