Pierluigi was widely considered as the best referee of his generation, having obtained for 6 consecutive times the FIFA “Best referee of the Year” prize. He is still involved in football as non-paid consultant to the Italian Football Referees Association (AIA), and is a member of the UEFA Referees Committee. Collina has been the head of referees for the Football Federation of Ukraine since July 5, 2010.
Pierluigi Collina was born in Bologna and attended the local university, graduating with a degree in economics in 1984. During his teenage years, he played as a central defender for a local team, but was persuaded in 1977 to take a referee’s course, where it was discovered that he had a particular aptitude for the job.
Within three years he was officiating at the highest level of regional matches, while also completing his compulsory military service. In 1988, he progressed more rapidly than normal to the national third division, Serie C1 and Serie C2. After three seasons, he was promoted to officiating Serie B and Serie A matches.
In 1995, after he had officiated at 43 Serie A matches, he was placed on FIFA’s Referees List. He was allocated five matches at the 1996 Olympic Games, including the final between Nigeria and Argentina. He refereed the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Manchester United
In 2002, Pierluigi reached the pinnacle of his career when he was chosen for the World Cup final between Brazil and Germany.
Perhaps one of the greatest distinctions of Collina’s career was earning the hatred of Luciano Moggi, the Juventus official and chief instigator of the 2006 Italian football scandal. Collina was one of the referees that Moggi attempted to have punished for decisions that Collina made against Juventus.
Pierluigi was chosen as the cover figure for the popular video game Pro Evolution Soccer 3 (and subsequently Pro Evolution Soccer 4, alongside Francesco Totti and Thierry Henry). This was unusual, as football games had come to almost exclusively feature only players and managers on their covers; in addition, he appeared as an “unlockable” referee in the rival game FIFA 2005.
His is easily recognisable face also led to his appearance in a 2006 Vauxhall Vectra commercial, which aired during 2006 World Cup match adverts in the UK. He also appeared in adverts for Mastercard and Adidas during the 2006 World Cup.
In 2010, Collina officiated the first half of a Soccer Aid charity football match between celebrity and professional players representing England and the ‘Rest of the World’.
As possibly the greatest, and most-famous, referee to ever officiate in football, Pierluigi has a number of successful endorsement campaigns behind him. His instantly recognisable face and pleasing manner make him a great brand ambassador.