Paolo Di Canio. West Ham legend. Controversial. An insatiable talent. Fiery. Entertaining. Hilarious. A promising manager. A fascist?
Following his resignation from Swindon earlier in the year and Sunderland's sacking of Martin O'Neill, Paolo Di Canio was announced as the man who the Black Cats board have selected as their saviour.
Well not everyone on the board. Ex-Labour party MP, David Miliband resigned from the board due to Di Canio's 'past political statements'. The bold move from Miliband lifted the lid on Di Canio's shocking political beliefs.
It is believed that Di Canio is 'fascinated by Mussolini', the leader of the fascist movement in Italy during the Second World War. In an interview in 2005, he stated to an Italian news agency that his straight arm salute whilst playing for Lazio was aimed at 'my people'.
Di Canio is said to identify his people as members of Mossolini's fascist movement. Following the unearthing of these statements, the footballing media and world have erupted with criticism over the appointment.
In his first press conference as Sunderland manager, Di Canio's political beliefs were top of the agenda rather than his managerial ability. However when questioned about fascism, the Italian refused to comment.
Di Canio, in a way that only Di Canio can, stated, "I don't want to talk about politics - I'm not in the House of Parliament, I'm not a political person, I will only talk about football."