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Coco the scorer



Aug 7 2005


By Eleanor Gregson, The Sunday Sun



As a defender, football star Francesco Coco is described as powerful and pacy, and we can reveal he's no slouch when it comes to women either.

The Italian player is a renowned lothario in his home country where he has dated a string of beautiful models and actresses, including the on-off girlfriend of Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio.

Ironically, it was while dating model Giselle Bundchen that the 28-year- old first fell out of favour at Inter Milan in 2002, suffering a great loss of form . . . on the football field at least.

Coco, currently on trial at Newcastle United, is now dating Francesca Lodo, a Miss World contestant in 1999.

An Italian source told the Sunday Sun: "In our country, it is common for top stars to date beautiful women. Even then, Coco has a reputation for having what we call a good eye. He is well known on the party and society circuit."

Coco follows in a line of Italian stars who have previously captured the hearts of women here, if not their team's football supporters, including former Middlesbrough striker Fabrizio Ravanelli and ex-Newcastle United defender Alessandro Pistone, who also came from Inter Milan.

And with his dark, Latin looks, if he makes his stay permanent, Coco will no doubt prove a big hit in the city's Bigg Market and Quayside areas.

Coco, who describes his hobby as "women", has over the years scored with an eye-catching line-up of beauties.

As well as Bundchen and Lodo, it includes well- known Italian actresses and models Elisabetta Canalis, Laura Freddi and Luisa Corna.

He jetted into Tyneside just a few days ago, with United being given permission to field him by Inter Milan in a friendly against non-league Yeading yesterday.

Newcastle boss, Graeme Souness, is keen to tighten his defence after Wednesday's disappointing defeat to Deportivo in the Intertoto Cup, and is hopeful that Coco may be the answer.

Before Inter, Coco became the first Italian to play for Barcelona in 2001. He has also played for AC Milan and Torino.

On what football had done for his success with women, Coco has said: "Football makes miracles."