The Story Of How An Italian Waiter Was Offered A Trial At Leicester City By Khun Vichai
If a story had to sum up the incredibly generous and thoughtful Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, then this would be it.
Months after the death of former Leicester chairman Srivaddhanaprabha, who sadly passed away in a helicopter crash outside the club's stadium on October 27, 2018, an incredible tale involving Italian waiter Davide Lorenzo emerged online.
Remembering Khun Vichai and the four others who lost their lives two years ago today :blue_heart: pic.twitter.com/fIclPavFbO
- Leicester City (@LCFC) October 27, 2020
It turns out former player turned waiter Lorenzo was serving Srivaddhanaprabha in a restaurant when the Italian recognised him.
Lorenzo asked to serve the group of Thai businessman and the pair began chatting about football in the Nice based diner.
The 24-year-old brought up his time at Juventus as a youth player. He was released from the Italian giants and later, struggled to find a permanent club in Malta, Belgium and Norway.
Lorenzo then went on to have trials in the USA with New York Red Bulls and New York Cosmos but his tourist visa expired and was forced to return to Europe.
Struggling to find a club, he moved to France to live near his girlfriend.
He soon became a waiter when his dream of becoming a footballer faded but in a remarkable set of circumstances, Vichai met Lorenzo and asked him whether he'd be interested in playing in Thailand or Belgium, where Leicester's sister clubs are based.
Vichai soon arranged for the 24-year-old to have a trial at the club so coaches could assess his level of play.
Lorenzo clearly impressed and although off the mark in terms of match fitness, Leicester decided to offer him a chance to train with the Premier League side.
He then quit his job as a waiter and went on to play full-time when the club offered him a short term deal.
Claude Puel, who was Leicester manager at the time, spoke about Lorenzo's chances of making an impact at The Foxes and it sounded promising.
"It is an interesting story. He met Vichai in a restaurant and told him his dream to come to Leicester to show his quality. We know the chairman liked this spirit when a man has a dream and tries to give his best." he said via The Leicester Mercury.
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"He offered for him to come for a trial and I gave him a contract. It is a nice story.
"Then we will see his future, but now he needs to get fit and we will see, perhaps put him out on loan or give him some game time.
"He trains with the under-23s, we will see if he can come into the first team. It is early because he hasn't trained for one year, but it is a good feeling and a good story of course."
In an interview with Italian website Tutto Mercato, Lorenzo himself spoke about the dream-like scenario.
"I am happy to have achieved this goal which I have pursued for so long. I know the contract was a consequence of the changes I have made on and off the pitch." he said.
"I have learned so much from previous mistakes, now I just want to train hard every day and see where it takes me.
"Puel told me to keep working hard because they have seen my desire and my qualities - now I have to get back in shape.
"It's a dream, it really is, to have trained with Adrien Silva and Nampalys Mendy. Incredible.
"One month ago I would have given my blood just to go back to Italy and play Serie C. But I never stopped believing in myself and now I have a second chance."
Lorenzo impressed in the coming months but it wasn't enough for him to earn another deal at The King Power.
It was announced last year that he was one of nine players to be released by Leicester alongside Shinji Okazaki and Danny Simpson.
Although he did not make a single first team appearance for the club, Lorenzo's story is a constant reminder of the incredible genorosity of the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
Two years on, we remember them. RIP.
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