Bruno Neri was born in Tuscany in 1910. He began his football career with Faenza before moving to Fiorentina, where he played nearly 200 matches. On the field, he was a typical midfielder, known for his hard work and dedication to the team. Off the field, he was not typical at all. He had a passionate interest in poetry and the arts; and he disliked many aspects of Mussolini’s Fascist regime. In 1931, he was the only Fiorentina player not to make the Roman Salute at the official opening of the new Stadio Giovanni Berta.
Bruno Neri reached the peak of his football career in 1936-37 when he won three caps for Italy’s all-conquering national side and was signed by FC Torino. But when Italy entered the Second World War in 1940, he left Serie A and went home to be player-coach at Faenza. Through his cousin Virgilio, a lawyer in Milan, Bruno got involved with political opposition to the regime. After the armistice of 1943 and the German occupation of northern Italy, he joined the Ravenna Battalion, partisans fighting in the mountains near the Gothic Line.
Bruno Neri played football for the last time in 1944, for Faenza in the Alta Italia Championship. A few weeks later, he was killed in action, when German forces ambushed his group of partisans on a mountain path. A memorial plaque was placed at the nearby Hermitage of Gamogna. In 2017, a music competition for young people in the Emilia-Romagna region was founded in his memory. It is dedicated to songs of Liberation.
Bruno Neri stood out from the crowd. He was a good player, who won three caps for Italy, at the time one of the best teams in the world. He was also a man of culture, as much at home in museums and art galleries as on the football pitch. From 1943, he fought with the partisans against the Saló Republic and its German allies. He was 33 years old when he was killed in July 1944.
Educators could look at the life story of Bruno Neri and work with young people to consider these questions:
- To what extent is football a tool for resistance?
- What do recent efforts to honor his legacy tell us about remembrance culture?
Find out more
There is not much more known about Bruno Neri. You can access an archived article by When Saturday Comes. A memorial plaque at his family home in Faenza, stating: Here was born Bruno Neri, Partisan commander who fell in combat 10 July 1944 in Gamogna. After excelling as an athlete in sports, he revealed in clandestine action both before and during the war his magnificent virtues as a fighter, and as a shining example, and also a warning, to future generations.”
Italian footballer and partisan Bruno Neri (Source: Almanacco Resistente).
LIFE STORIES To discover now
Do you wanna know more?
HISTORY CAN BE EXPLORED THROUGH THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS
Browse our collection of stories about football history and inclusion. With the history of football being made up of millions of stories, of individuals and communities, of movements and processes, we offer stories that can inspire our cultural conversations today.
Get to know untold stories where individuals are making history with football. When faced with insurmountable challenges, individuals past and present can use football as a cultural force to foster positive change in society. We honour these individuals and tell their ‘untold’ stories in short videos.
Explore our innovative educational resources that use football’s history, heritage and legacy to engage young people. The resources include ready-made lesson plans and historical source collections for school history education as well as toolkit with activities for non-formal settings.
In the wake of the 2015 migration peak, activists and volunteers across Europe have been involved in supporting refugees, sometimes with the simple act of offering space and friendship to participate in football through grassroots clubs to help newcomers integrate.
On this day at the Euro2020, an inclusive Dutch team would have played in Amsterdam. Something of a contrast with the Dutch team who lost to France 24 years ago on this date during the Euro1996. An opportunity to use football as a lens into changes in Dutch society, the role of footballers and a look ahead.
LATEST POST You may also be interested in
What moments in football history have we highlighted in the last month? How do they provide us with historical mirrors to the present?
Artist Ángel Zárraga caused a storm in the conservative climate of Dutch Football.
The EU-funded project “Changing the Chants” released a documentary exploring a border-crossing cooperation to tackle antisemitism in football.
Retelling the history of the women’s football in Northern Ireland offers us a view on how the game came, went and is here to stay.
History uses Football Makes History is the classroom to teach about equality and let’s students decide!