Niccolò Galli was a promising professional footballer who played as a defender. He was the son of former Italian international goalkeeper Giovanni Galli, he began with his hometown club, Fiorentina, before moving to Arsenal in August 1999. He spent one year in London, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2000, then returning to Italy to finish his studies. He was on loan with Bologna during this time. It was here that the promising young central defender’s career really started to take off, featuring in Serie A and being recognized by Italy’s youth teams, before he died; during this time, he was regarded as one of the most promising young footballers in his position constantly playing for all of the youth Italy Team’s squads. On 9 February 2001, Galli died in a road accident while riding on his moped, on the way home from practice at the Bologna training centre, aged 17.
Did you Know?
The football training centre used by Bologna FC, in the neighbourhood of Casteldebole, is named after Galli; Bologna FC also retired his number 27 shirt. Arsenal observed a minute’s silence upon the news of his death. Galli’s former friend and youth academy team-mate Fabio Quagliarella wears the number 27 in his honour. A foundation has also been dedicated to Galli in his honour.