The 10 (incredibly good) recipients of Serie A’s infamous ‘Golden Bin’ award
Between 2003 and 2012, Italian radio show Catersport held an annual poll to decide the worst Serie A player of the year. It was a big deal, and some big names were (un)lucky enough to collect the award.
They do things a bit differently in Italy. Here in the UK, you can’t imagine the BBC running an annual poll to decide the shittest Premier League player of the year. Gary Lineker gets enough abuse for the Match of the Day running order as it is.
But in the land of pasta and very small cars, state broadcaster RAI was happy to broadcast a controversial survey each December to identify the worst player in Serie A.
It was known as the Bidone d’Oro – literally, the ‘Golden Bin’ – a play on the Ballon d’Or award for the European footballer of the year, and its winners over 10 seasons included some very big names.
It was a big event too: the results of the poll were covered by international media like Reuters and ESPN. Some players even responded to the dubious prize to defend their reputation.
Here are the legendary ‘Bidoni’ in full…
2003: Rivaldo, Milan
Despite feigning injury from a ball at the World Cup, Rivaldo was still one of the finest attackers in the world in 2002.
Milan signed the 30-year-old from Barcelona that summer, prompting Silvio Berlusconi to say: “There is no one better than Rivaldo.”
No one except Rui Costa, Clarence Seedorf, Jon Dahl Tomasson and the handful of other players that kept Rivaldo out of the team for most of the season.
Despite winning the Champions League in 2003, Rivaldo held off competition for the inaugural Bidone from Al-Saadi Gaddafi, son of the Libyan dictator Muammar, who had bought his way into the Perugia set-up to make a single substitute appearance.
2004: Nicola Legrottaglie, Juventus
Defender Legrottaglie signed for Juve in 2003 off the back of some impressive performances for Chievo.
Despite scoring against his former club in his second game, he put in some stinkers over the 2003–04 season, including mistakes for both goals in a crucial 0-2 defeat to Lazio.
Paolo Montero, one of Juve’s other centre-backs (looking pissed off with Legrottaglie at 1:11 of the highglights below), presumably cast a vote for his team-mate.
2005: Christian Vieri, Inter & Milan
The Bidone d’Oro was decided by the masses, so it’s little surprise that Milan and Inter players picked up a lot of nominations from rival fans.
Vieri, who moved directly from Inter to Milan in the summer of 2005, was always going to attract the wrath of his detractors, but it didn’t help that he was genuinely rubbish at his new club.
He scored once in eight games, then left after half a season to join Monaco.
2006: Adriano, Inter
Legendary players often become synonymous with the trophies they win.
But before Cristiano Ronaldo became *the* Champions League champion, before Miroslav Klose wrote his name into World Cup lore, there was Adriano, undisputed champion of the Bidone d’Oro.
This was actually the biggest ever margin of victory for a Bidone winner, caused by the Brazilian striker’s dramatic loss of form over the calendar year.
A disastrous showing at the 2006 World Cup was followed by a barren spell in Serie A, with Adriano failing to open his account until two days before Christmas — long after votes had been cast.
2007: Adriano, Inter
Adriano technically won the league in four straight seasons with Inter, but by 2007 they were doing it in spite of him, not because of him.
Inter sent the unfit forward on unpaid leave in November 2007, all but securing his second Golden Bin.
It’s easy to forget he was brilliant once…
2008: Ricardo Quaresma, Inter
Portuguese trickster Quaresma was signed by Inter in the summer of 2008 for a fat €18.6million — apparently at Jose Mourinho’s behest.
He was so bad that the club sent him on loan to Chelsea after just six months, but not before Catersport listeners had crowned him the Bidone d’Oro winner for 2008.
As always, the tag was a permanent blemish on Quaresma’s record.
In a 2009 article about Mourinho’s severe man management style, the Giornale newspaper called Mou “the man with the golden gun (and bin)”.
2009: Felipe Melo, Fiorentina & Juventus
Brazilians were easy targets for Italian fans, and defensive midfielder Melo earned his facetious trophy after a €25million move to Juventus.
Actually, this one was a bit harsh. Melo probably earned his nomination after violently elbowing Balotelli (2:54 below) in a 2-1 win over Inter, but the Brazilian was one of Juve’s better midfield performers over a disappointing season in which they finished seventh.
Unusually, Melo felt the need to defend himself after the award.
“I’ve scored two goals in the league,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport in February 2010. “But my first task is to mark, win the ball and pass it. I’m not bothered by the Bidone trophy. Whoever gave it to me doesn’t understand anything about football.”
2010: Adriano, Roma
You can’t keep a good man down.
After a great season in Brazil with Flamengo, Adriano returned to Serie A to complete a hat-trick of Bidone d’Oro titles, failing to score in five lethargic appearances for Roma.
He won ahead of another Brazil-born striker, Juve flop Amauri, who became a naturalised Italian and played one match for the national team: a 0-1 friendly defeat to the Ivory Coast, played at the very suitable venue of Upton Park, London.
2011: Diego Milito, Inter
Little over a year after winning the treble, an unlucky Milito was adding the Bidone to his trophy cabinet. This was partly the fault of Rafa Benitez, who failed to prolong Inter’s glory over the 2010–11 season.
But Milito reacted brilliantly. Awarded the Golden Bin on 12 December 2011, the striker found himself benched for a home tie against Lecce nine days later. He came on at half-time, scored after four minutes, then went on a run of nine goals in six games.
Only Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (28) had scored more than Milito (24) by the end of the 2011–12 campaign.
2012: Alexandre Pato, Milan
Not everyone bounced back in such style though.
Milan’s Alex Pato, a mainstay of what happened to these wonderkids? listicles – guilty as charged – picked up the last ever Bidone d’Oro trophy after scoring one Serie A goal in 18 months.
It was the sixth time the trophy went to a Brazilian.