Massimo Taibi (born 18 February 1970 in Palermo, Italy) enjoyed a long and consistent career between the posts for various Italian sides, but when he briefly played for Manchester United he made a massive twat of himself.
After growing up at Sicilian side Licata, Taibi made his name at Piacenza where he played 177 games without making a mistake and earned a brief spell as back-up at Milan.
Manchester United saw Taibi playing for the Italian giants and snapped him up in 1999, to provide some competition for causal racist Mark Bosnich and forgettable Dutchman Raimond Van Der Gouw.
It was to prove a mistake. Against Southampton, Taibi made one of the worst mistakes ever seen by an adult human when he allowed a feeble Matthew Le Tissier shot to squirm through his legs. The ball was moving so slowly that a bemused Le Tissier had been substituted by the time it went in.
The tabloids artfully lampooned fall-guy Taibi with The Sun running the headline ‘Venetian Blind’ accompanied by a picture of the hapless No 1’s howler.
Although Taibi understood the pun, he tried in vain to point out that while he had played for Venezia he wasn’t from Venice and in fact hailed from Palermo, which lies 506 miles away from the Veneto capital. He went on to assert that the two cities share little fellowship due to fundamental historical, cultural and linguistic differences.
Meanwhile La Gazzetta dello Sport ran with the catchy headline: ‘Taibi, why did you opt to collect the ball in a fashion that left you open to humiliation should you misjudge the speed of the shot?’
Taibi was a laughing stock in England and fell below Bosnich, Van Der Gouw, Nick Culkin and manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the goalkeeping pecking order.
La Gazzetta dello Sport documented Taibi’s goal with the headline: ‘Taibi, you’re not such a useless cunt after all, you’ve only gone and scored a fairly important equaliser (from a corner).'
Taibi played for Serie B side Ascoli until January 2009 but he is often paraded on the Old Trafford pitch before big games and he recently helped Sir Alex Ferguson do up his holiday home in Tuscany.
Taibi always used to wear ill-fitting tracksuit bottoms that made him look like a geography teacher who had been forced to cover a PE lesson.