The legs don’t carry you as swiftly to your destination as once they did and the body is covered in more battle wounds then the young upstarts around you have had hot meals.
Now 38 years of age Francesco Tavano has seen it all over his 20-year long career. Yet even now with Father time becoming an ever more prominent shadow on his periphery the Caserta born striker is determined to leave the stage at a time of his own choosing and with fans harping for more.
An undisputed King of the provinces Tavano was never fully able to transfer his goal poaching ability to the top stage. For some his failed spells at Valencia in Spain and then Roma will mark him down as just another failed gamble but career statistics of 192 goals in 532 matches shine an all too different light on the man known affectionately as Ciccio.
Of course, it is with Empoli where Tavano will be best known from, scoring 120 goals across nine seasons with the Tuscan outfit, making him a firm fan favourite among the Azzurri. Indeed, the Tuscan air must very much agree with Tavano as it was with Livorno where he also excelled and it is currently where the diminutive attacker resides today.
Not far from Empoli but very much so from the bright lights of Serie A Tavano can be found on the field of the Stadio Marmi in the Yellow and Blue colours of Carrarese. The Marmiferi have been around since 1908 but even so are perhaps better known for being the boyhood club of one Gigi Buffon.
Bankrupt as recently as 2016 the Gialloazzurri have managed to stave off liquidation and retain their status as a Serie C club. This current season has also seen an influx of investment with the stated aim of trying an assault on the top of the table. With one of those investments being Tavano himself along with fellow veterans Claudio Coralli and Marco Marchionni.
Despite still being in the early stages this investment has already begun to reap reward with the club sitting fourth one point off top. With their latest win, 3-0, coming at the weekend at home to Olbia. Of course, it should come as no surprise that Tavano played his role in that win, springing the offside trap to slot home the teams third.
Coincidently it was also the strikers third of the season in four matches leaving him atop the scorers’ charts (Albeit with six others). With 34 matches of the season remaining it will be interesting to see how the veterans body will be able to withstand the punishing months to come, especially on the artificial surface at the Marmi. What is clear though is that already Tavano is winning over the Carrarese fateful.
A career that started under the Tuscan sun looks set to conclude under that same Tuscan sun. He may never be classified as a great but 20 years on Francesco Tavano continues to do what he does best, striking fear into the heart of opposing defences. Proving once and for all if you want to get anywhere in life you can’t go too far wrong with the old dog for the long haul.