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On this day in 2002, Middlesbrough smashed their club transfer record for an Italian striker

Massimo Maccarone arrived from Empoli for £8.15m.

soccer-middlesbrough-press-conference Maccarone at his unveiling. Source: EMPICS Sport

3 JULY 2002 — eighteen years ago today — witnessed Middlesbrough break their club transfer record to sign Italian striker Massimo Maccarone for £8.15 million.

The forward, who had come through Milan’s youth system but left having never made a first-team appearance, arrived in the Premier League after impressing with Serie A side Empoli.

Much was expected of Maccarone, particularly as compatriot Fabrizio Ravanelli had secured cult-hero status at the Riverside years earlier. 

And although he won a League Cup and Uefa Cup runners-up medal at Boro, he would never hit the heights in England — scoring 18 league goals in 80 appearances — before return to his homeland, initially on loan. 

He is fondly remembered for some late winners en route to the 2006 Uefa Cup final, however. Maccarone was on target against Basel in the quarter-final and also came off the bench to hit a brace in the 4-3 aggregate win over Steaua Bucharest. 

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