Vieri's love for cricket is immense

His love for cricket is immense. So much so that given an opportunity Inter Milan's feared striker Christian Vieri does not mind giving up football for his favourite sport.

His passion for the game even led the Italian international to spend a week playing cricket with Maldives' Indian locals during his recent vacation to the island country situated in the Indian Ocean. "The waiters, the cooks, they were all Indians and they played every afternoon," he told the official UEFA Champions League publication, the Champions magazine, in an interview.

"I played with them. We spent the week playing cricket," said Vieri, who was brought up in Australia after his parents emigrated to the country from Tuscany in Italy. The player also told how he showed promise for the sport during his schooldays in Australia.

"I was a bit of an all-rounder at school. I would have loved to have been a cricketer," he said. In his early days Vieri was a left-handed batsman and also had a bat signed by former Australia captain Allan Border before football took control.

"I was telling a friend, I would stop playing now to play cricket, if I get a similar contract," the 30-year-old declared. Cricketing opportunities have been fewer and farther for Vieri since his return to Italy, although he said that his international team-mate Gennaro Gattuso also enjoys the sport, having tasted it during his time at Rangers.