Continuing our journey to try and bring more depth and understanding around our players to our readers, today we are very fortunate to be able to bring to you Fiorentina’s best striker over the past 4 years, Ilaria Mauro. Having joined the club in 2016, Ilaria has an extensive club resume that spans many clubs in Italy and Germany. Today though, she patrols the box looking for goals with the Fiorentina Women.
A steadying presence with the Viola, Ilaria also has been a pillar for the national team. With 49 international caps and 15 international goals, it is no wonder why she has been featured in each of the last two European Championships and the Women’s World Cup.
After reading, please look below on how you can follow her career through social media. Give her a follow! Let us know your comments or any follow up questions you may have. Don’t be surprised to find out that Ilaria may read them...
ViolaNation: You’ve built an amazing career spanning two countries. How did you first get into football? When did you know that football was going to be your career?
Ilaria Mauro: I started playing soccer in the backyard with my brother at the age of 3. Back then I started with U.P. Reanese men’s to land in Tavagnacco (women’s team) at 13 years old and from there my career as a women’s player began. When I went to Germany at the age of 25, I had a 3-year experience and it was there that I understood that I wanted to continue my football career.
VN: You grew up in Udine, not near Florence. How did you come to be a Fiorentina Women’s player?
IM: The last year I was in Germany, Fiorentina contacted me and explained their project to me. I liked it and I accepted, returning to Italy and Serie A.
VN: So had you not decided to start or continue playing football, what would you be doing now (Career)?
IM: It’s top secret, maybe when I stop playing you will find out.
VN: (Laughing) Very fair. We don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone!
VN: Many things have been said about Alia who refused opportunities abroad to stay in her city of Firenze. Your coach, Antonio Cincotta made an observation that both you and Alice Parisi made the same choices to stay in Firenze. Why did you decide to stay?
IM: I feel comfortable here in Florence, the project is interesting, I was convinced by the fact that we want to do our best in this championship. We are a team built to fight and pursue goals to the end.
VN: You had a great experience in the summer with the Italian National Team at the World Cup. Tell us more about that experience.
IM: Wearing the national team shirt is a very strong emotion, such pride. When you go out onto the pitch there is an adrenaline going through your body that is incomparable. The World Cup was an unparalleled experience, but even in previous years I remember some moments with great pleasure such as the goal against Germany at the European Championships. But again, the World Cup is a mix of emotions and adrenaline so strong that I can’t even explain it, you have to live it.
VN: You have flourished here in Firenze playing for the Viola. What are some of the keys to that success?
IM: Yes absolutely, in these 4 years I have improved a lot from a technical and tactical point of view thanks to Mister Fattori and Cincotta who since I arrived at Fiorentina have helped and stimulated me.
VN: What are your thoughts of Rocco Commisso? What does his investment in a new Sports Center mean for you and the women’s team?
IM: Rocco Commisso is following the team a lot and we feel it. In America he sees our games, calls us often to greet us. When he can he comes to the stadium or the field. We see and feel this affection which is fundamental to our success.
Having the new Sports Center is the basis for us being able to compete with other teams at an international level and for growing our young people. A nursery with a center available changes the quality of the athletes a lot.
VN: You just scored twice against Verona. How important was it to get that brace in a 4-2 win?
IM: The brace was important to me because that happened as soon as I got back from an injury. It gave me a lot of enthusiasm and desire to score again.
VN: Viola Club Go Women is a strong supporter of the women’s team. What does their support for the team mean you and your teammates?
IM: Viola Club Go Women is an expression of clean football. They are the first fan club created exclusively for a women’s team. Their support is precious. They always make themselves heard from the stands both at home and away. For us and for the whole movement they are a wealth and an example for national football.
VN: Thank you Ilaria. We’d like to finish with a few rapid questions. Let’s go.
VN: What is your favorite holiday destination?
IM: The sea in general. The next holiday will be special because I want to go to Ibiza but I have never been there. I would like to go to Polynesia because I saw on the internet their beaches and islands. That I have to visit in every way.
VN: Who was your idol as a child?
IM: Zlatan Ibrahimović both as a child and now
VN: Favorite movie and or book? Notting Hill is the film. The book is “The Way of the Warrior of Peace” and in general books on meditation and introspection.
VN: Favorite musician or band?
IM: Vasco Rossi and Queen
VN: Who is your favorite athlete?
IM: Bebe Vio because she is the example of the fact that we must never stop and we must face everything with a smile. I would describe her with the words “If you want, you can”.
VN: Best ice cream in Florence?
IM: Definitely Badiani.
VN: The best advice you have ever been given? Knowing many young girls look at you, what advice would you like to give them?
Since I am a very instinctive person, the best advice given to me is to always stop and reflect before acting. I apply it in everyday life, but on the field I let my instinct flow.
I would like to tell the young women to chase the dream, go ahead and not stop at the first obstacle because they might regret it. At 24 I had an injury that made me think about retiring, but then the passion and desire to play was so strong that I went against everyone and everything and now I am here, so NEVER STOP.
Please follow Ilaria on her social media to stay up to date on everything she has going on!