Fabrizio Ravanelli’s stay on Teesside may have been brief, but ‘the White Feather’ left a lasting impression at Boro.
After helping Juventus to their second Champions League final triumph and steering them to the league title, Ravanelli arrived at the Riverside for a then-record fee of £7million in July 1996.
The Perugia-born striker was one of many big names in a star-studded Boro line-up, which had seen blockbuster names Emerson and Juninho join the club before the Italian’s arrival.
He was a latecomer to top flight football, making his Serie A debut at the age of 24 having previously played for Perugia, Avellino, Casertana and Reggiana before making the £3million move to Italian giants Juventus, where he scored 41 goals over his four years in Turin.
Ravanelli was an instant hit with Boro, netting a hat-trick on his debut in a three-all draw at home to Liverpool, with his trailblazing shirt-over-the-head celebration sweeping the nation.
He was our top scorer during his sole campaign with Boro, bagging an impressive 31 goals in the league and cup, including four against Hereford on our route to Wembley for the League Cup final.
Boro were relegated in 1997 and after featuring in the first two games of the First Division season, Ravanelli made the hop across the Channel to link up with Marseille before returning to Italy with Lazio.
He was back in England in 2001 with Derby County, with his 11 goals – including one against Boro - unable to prevent the Rams from the drop to the First Division.
Ravanelli headed north to Scotland with Dundee before finishing his career with his hometown club Perugia.
He was appointed head coach of Arsenal Kyiv in June 2018. He had previously coached AC Ajaccio and the Juventus youth team.