Max Biaggi : 'I don't think we've hit top gear yet'
Max Biaggi, motorcycling champion
Biaggi, aka the Roman Emperor' or Panda', has loved football since he was a child. He began racing 125cc motorcycles in 1989 and in 1991, graduated to 250s and became European Champion with Aprilia. After a brief sojourn with Honda, he returned to Aprilia and dominated the Championship, winning three consecutive titles, in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
The following year found him with Honda once again, but this time riding in the 500cc championship. During an illustrious career in Grand Prix motorcycle racing, Biaggi has taken 55 pole positions in 181 Grand Prix and has 41 victories to his name. He is widely considered one of the ten best riders of all time.
FIFAworldcup.com caught up with him following Italy's 2-0 win over 10-man Czech Republic.
What did you think of the match?
Obviously I was happy with the result. However, we gave the opposition too many chances, in spite of the fact that they were a man down after Polak's sending off. We should have taken advantage of the situation, taken the game by the scruff of the neck and attacked more. Instead, we let them see too much of the ball and took a few too many risks. For me, Perrotta was the best player on the field.
What do you think is in store for the Azzurri during the rest of the FIFA World Cup?
I need my crystal ball! For the moment I'm pleased that we're through and that we've topped the group. It's turned out well for us, because had we come second we'd have had to face Brazil. If we do have to meet them, let's hope it's towards the end. I think we're looking stronger than we did in Korea/Japan.
Which teams should Italy fear the most?
I'm not sure that Ghana are the pushovers people say they are. Then, of course, there are Brazil, Argentina and perhaps England. And don't forget us. I don't think we've hit top gear yet.
Who will be in the Final?
It would be great to see a Brazil-Italy Final, but we shouldn't underestimate Argentina and England.
Do you have a special message for Italy's players?
I'd like to be optimistic, because I don't think they've really shown what they can do yet. I want to see Toni looking livelier and Totti playing to his full potential; he can do so much more. I like their attitude though - Forza Azzurri!
MotoGP rider. I'm training for next season at the moment
I'm a Roma fan.
Is there a charity you'd like to mention?
The Andrea Tudisco Foundation , set up by my cousin and I in the name of my nephew, who died of leukaemia.
What is the best game you have ever seen?
When Italy beat Brazil 3-2 in the second round of the World Cup in Spain, 1982.
Who is your all-time favourite player?
My hero will always be the Brazilian Paolo Roberto Falcao.
Which game have you always dreamed of playing in?
It would have to be the Italy-Brazil game in Spain again. I still clearly remember when we were 2-1 up and Brazil equalised. I think it was Falcao who scored, in fact. Rome had come to a complete standstill that day. A cheer or groan would echo around the city as the goals went in, depending on who had scored. I think we'd have to get to the quarter or semi-finals to experience that kind of atmosphere again.