Becoming a professional footballer is a challenge in itself but achieving a childhood dream is something that requires hard work, belief and determination.
Starting out as a youth player in his home city of Rome, Raffaele grew up idolising Paolo Di Canio and supporting Lazio before beginning his dream of becoming a professional football player when he signed for Blackburn Rovers in July 2003 at just 16 years old.
Moving abroad at such a young age is never easy and it took him some time to adjust to the new lifestyle he was facing in Lancashire.
“It was completely different, obviously the physicality of the game was a different level not just watching the first team but the youth teams as well.”
“In Italy the training was a bit more tactical and relaxed, you don’t really kick each other in games but in England every training session is flat out and the intensity is very high so I kind of struggled to get used to that at the start because I was playing against kids that were my age but a lot stronger physically.”