The murder of Genoa supporter Vincenzo Spagnolo

This day in football history


On 29 January 1995, 24-year old Genoa supporter Vincenzo Claudio Spagnolo was stabbed before a match against AC Milan. He died later that day while undergoing surgery.

According to reports, Spagnolo was on his way into Genoa’s Stadio Luigi Ferraris when he and other Genoa supporters were attacked by a group of approximately 20 Milan ultras, who had traveled to the match in disguise, separate from other Milan supporter groups. The attack escalated into a massive brawl, with police using tear gas to subdue the combatants. Spagnolo, who was stabbed in the stomach, was one of seven people sent to the hospital.

When word reached the teams at halftime, they decided not to continue with the match, which was scoreless. Italian authorities then canceled all national sporting events for the following weekend. The incident caused such sensitivities between Genoa and Milan that their visiting supporters were not allowed into each other’s stadiums until 2010.

Genoa established a preseason tournament — the Trofeo Spagnolo — in 1995 and it was played every year until 2012.

Witnesses identified Spagnolo’s attacker as 19-year old Simone Barbaglia, an apprentice gardener from Milan. He was convicted, served time in jail, and was released in December 2006.