Back in 1996 the days existed when exotic foreign players were still a rare commodity in the English game, and when Benito Carbone signed for Sheffield Wednesday from Inter Milan for £3million it was a move that excited the English football fan. Possessing amazing skill and ability on the ball as well as his long flowing locks of hair Carbone conformed to the stereotype of the skilful but temperamental ball player.
He had been through a total of seven clubs in his native Italy before he came to England, a list that started at Torino and ended at Inter Milan. But little were we to know at the time, this journeyman would end up relatively settling at Hillsborough spending three seasons at the club. He became a fan‘s favourite in this time at the club with his displays of flair skill and spectacular goals alongside compatriot Paulo DI Canio making the Sheffield Wednesday highlights on a Saturday night something to tune in for.
All in all Carbone played nearly 100 league games for the Owls scoring 25 goals before a contract dispute before the 99/00 season led to move to Aston Villa. This move marked a return to his journeyman ways as he lasted only a season at Villa earning an FA Cup runners up medal before moving to Bradford on a free transfer where he would again spend only one full season. Although in this time the Italian did endear himself to the Valley Parade faithful scoring memorable goals, a trademark of his time in England.
Bradford were relegated at the end of the season though and the rest of his time was in England was marked by two mild loan spells at Derby and Middlesbrough respectively. Carbone was paid generously for his time in England and certain circles questioned his motives for moving from club to club and raised the question as to whether he stayed in England for his love of the game or the money.
However, he returned to Italy in 2002 to play for another four Italian sides lasting a season at each, with Como and Parma being in the Serie A. Carbone also has had a short lived spell in Australia with Sydney FC but only played a few games before not being able to agree on a long term contract and leaving. Since then he has been playing in the fourth highest football league in Italy for Pavia and is still playing for them today at the age of 38. It remains to be seen if Benito Carbone will continue to play after this season and as to whether he will return to the English game maybe in some sought of coaching capacity in the future.