A New Meaning for “Football Strip”

Followers of European football’s Champions League will be aware of the hard assignment awaiting the Italian club A.S. Roma next Wednesday. Having lost to English Premier League leaders Manchester United 2-0 at home last Tuesday, Roma – because of the away-goals rule – need to go to Manchester and score at least three goals with no reply (or four goals if Man. United score one, etc.) to go on to the Champions League semi-finals.

It’s going to be tough, but the club at least has gotten a helping hand from one of its more rabid fans, the Italian actress Sabrina Ferilli. As the Czech News Agency ČTK reports in the daily Lidové noviny (For Progressing the A.S. Roma Footballers Are Promised a Strip-Tease), Ferilli has promised to take her clothes off for the delectation of Roma’s players – and their other fans – if the team beats Man. United sufficiently to make it through to the next round. And while the article notes towards its very beginning that Ferilli is now 43 years of age, the embedded video profile (apparently a report from an Italian news channel) also shows very clearly that she still has quite a lot to offer any viewers. (Don’t worry, though, the video would rate no more than “PG” under the American movie rating system, if even that.)

Offering a motivational tool like this is nothing new for Ferilli, though, as ten years ago she made clear her standing promise to offer a similar reward to A.S. Roma’s players whenever they won the Italian premier league (a.k.a. “Serie A”). They finally achieved that at the end of the 2000-2001 season, and Ferilli duly showed up to do her thing at the victory party, although then she never unveiled herself further than what you could call a “micro-bikini” – probably, so writes ČTK, because of the public disapproval the Vatican had expressed towards her plans.

(Linguistic footnote: Yep, “micro-bikini” is my translation of the Czech miniaturní dvoudílné plavky. I think that’s pretty spot-on, but if you have a better one then I’d be glad to hear it. On the other hand, if you’re the type who wants to object “But in the article it’s written differently: miniaturních instead, etc.,” well, that’s because the entire phrase happens to be in the locative case, but in general I really think you should just sit back, chill out, and leave such heavy translation-work to me.)

UPDATE: The obvious next step after you’ve read an article like this – especially if you’d prefer avoiding having to translate any more such Czech expressions as miniaturní dvoudílné plavky – is to try to find something on the subject in the on-line Italian press. As our Italian friends like to exclaim: Eccolo! No less than La Gazzetta dello Sport confirms the account, in an article headlined La Ferilli Repeats Her Promise: You’re Champions, I Undress. (There’s another nice picture of her right at the top, as well, so even you non-Italian-readers can go ahead and click on through. It’s even just a bra or bikini-top that she’s wearing there, although I would unfortunately not characterize this one as “micro.”) Here’s the word-for-word transcript of what she said during an appearance on Radio Montecarlo: “If Roma wins the Champions League [Oho! So it’s not enough just to advance from this round!], I promise a show for the fans that will make them forget the strip-tease of 2001 at the Circo Massimo. [I assume that’s the famous Circus Maximus from Roman times; what an excellent venue in which to do a strip-tease, if you’ve got both the materials and the attitude to do it well!] But, to not jinx myself, I won’t say anything else.” But then, as the Gazzetto writer points out, Manchester United does stand in the way, although that consideration seemingly has no effect on the heightened enthusiasm, as repeatedly expressed in the comments section, for an ultimate A.S. Roma victory.

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