Pato, Adriano, Rivaldo: The 'Golden Bin' winners in Serie A

Adriano playing for Inter Milan.

Serie A has been graced with some of the finest male footballers in history.

From Diego Maradona to Paolo Maldini and Cristiano Ronaldo to Roberto Baggio, the annals of Italy’s top-flight boast enough legends to fill any ‘Hall of Fame’ to its capacity.

However, the sunshine and wine of Italy isn’t the promised land for everybody because for every player to thrive in Serie A, there is also a footballer who simply doesn’t gel with the division.

Remembering the Bidone d’oro

Or at the very least, a top-class player who produces at least one season at the pinnacle of Italian football where they fall painfully short of the standard expected of them.

In fact, we know that so well because – believe it or not – there was once an award that was specifically designed to name and shame the most disappointing Serie A player each year.

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As corroborated by Football Italia, the now-defunct ‘Bidone d’oro’ was a tongue-in-cheek prize that was decided upon every calendar year by listeners of the Catersport on Rai Radio 2.

The so-called award, which roughly translates to either ‘Golden Bin’ or ‘Golden Trashcan’, started life in 2003 and ran until Catersport was taken off air in 2012.

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Who won the ‘award’?

As such, it means that a total of 10 plaques were dished out in what can only be described as football’s equivalent of the Golden Raspberry Awards, which mocks the worst films of each year.

There’s no denying that it makes for a curious bit of footballing history, so we couldn’t help taking a look through all the ‘winners’ as we twiddle our thumbs through the current international break.

And let’s just say that the Bidone d’oro picked up some high-profile targets along its warpath with World Cup and Champions League winners in the firing line. Check out the results down below:

2003: Rivaldo

Just four years after winning the Ballon d’Or at Barcelona, Rivaldo flattered to deceive with just five league goals in 22 games of an oft-forgotten spell with AC Milan.

Rivaldo scores for AC Milan.

2004: Nicola Legrottaglie

Legrottaglie endured a debut season at Juventus to forget and quickly fell down the pecking order once Fabio Capello took over as manager.

2005: Christian Vieri

An absolute legend of the Italian game who clearly underwhelmed viewers across a calendar year that casually straddled spells with Inter Milan and AC Milan.

Vieri during his AC Milan spell.
AC Milan’s Christian Vieri (L) and coach Carlo Ancelotti attend a training session at AC Milan’s sporting centre in Carnago, 50 km (31 miles) north of Milan, July 14, 2005. Vieri joined AC Milan from city rivals Inter Milan. REUTERS/Daniele La Monaca DLM/TZ

2006: Adriano

A year that marked a sad transition in Adriano’s career as he went from scoring 19 goals in the 2005/06 season to just three strikes the following campaign.

2007: Adriano

And unfortunately, that proved to be a trend that continued into 2007 as the once-unstoppable ‘L’Imperatore’ cut a shadow of his former self.

Adriano is an Inter Milan icon.
Football – Ajax Amsterdam v Inter Milan Pre Season Friendly – LG Amsterdam Tournament – Amsterdam ArenA – 9/8/08 Ajax’s Gregory van der Wiel in action against Inter Milan’s Adriano Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic

2008: Ricardo Quaresma

Who remembers Quaresma’s spell at Inter Milan with just one goal in 32 appearances? Yeah, sadly, there wasn’t much to write home about.

2009: Felipe Melo

A year where Melo traversed spells with Fiorentina and Juventus was clearly one to forget as the Brazilian midfielder stopped Quaresma from retaining his title.

Melo captaining Juventus.
Football – Manchester City v Juventus – UEFA Europa League Group Stage Matchday Two Group A – City of Manchester Stadium – Manchester – 10/11 – 30/9/10 Felipe Melo – Juventus Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Thomas

2010: Adriano

One can’t help having a sour taste in one’s mouth as Adriano is slapped with a third Bidone d’oro title having failed to score across eight games for AS Roma in his final fling with Italian football.

2011: Diego Milito

‘Disappointing’ really is the key word here because Milito failed to build on the magnificence of his treble-winning season under Jose Mourinho by dropping from 30 goals down to just eight.

2012: Alexandre Pato

One of the most famous ‘what could have been?’ tales in modern football. This was the year that Pato’s rise to power at AC Milan started to plateau and peter out beyond repair.

Pato playing for AC Milan.
Football – Tottenham Hotspur v AC Milan UEFA Champions League Second Round Second Leg – White Hart Lane, London, England – 10/11 – 9/3/11 AC Milan’s Alexandre Pato Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Couldridge Livepic

An uneasy legacy

Goodness me.

Let’s just say that the discontinuation of the Bidone d’oro is hardly a bad thing because the last thing these players needed after a tough year at the office was to be teased about it.

No doubt the award was conducted in good taste – forgive our lack of Italian radio knowledge – but still, dishing out awards for the most disappointing player each year probably takes things a little bit too far.

Milito scores for Inter Milan.
Inter Milan’s Diego Milito celebrates after scoring against Pescara during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the Adriatico stadium in Pescara August 26, 2012. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito (ITALY – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Either way, though, there are probably more than a few Serie A stars who are feeling grateful that their underwhelming seasons haven’t been slapped with a ‘trophy’ over the last few years, that’s for sure.

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