Southampton forward Graziano Pelle has become a fan favorite with the Saints faithful since his move to the south coast in 2014. The 30-year-old Italian had a moderately successful debut with 12 Premier League goals in his first season, and is off to a hot start in 2015/14 with five goals from eight matches.
Despite the loss of most of their team to big-spending clubs, Southampton have remained competitive in the Premier League behind the partnership of Pelle and Sadio Mane.
Off the field, Pelle dates Viktoria Varga, a model who’s also popular in her own right. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Varga is a Model From Hungary
Varga is 5-feet-9 and is from Gyor, Hungary, a town in the northwest of the country close to the border of Slovakia.
She currently works for Attractive Models, a Budapest-based company.
2. The Couple Have Been Dating for 3 Years
How in the world did Pelle meet Varga? Well in a class 21st century love story, Pelle found Varga on Facebook and began sending her messages. She was hesitant to accept the advances at first, but soon changed her tune.
Varga told Pelle she was in Gyor and told him to find her. One thing led to another and they met at a hotel room, with Pelle offering her a 100 roses as a introduction gift.
Pelle shared many of his personal stories in his book: Pelle Talks, 1000 Questions and More.
3. Pelle Is a Former Ballroom Dancing Champion
Pelle got his nifty footwork that he shows on the field on the dance floor, apparently. He comes from a dancing family: his mom and two older sisters competed competitively in the activity.
At age 11, he and his sister Fabiana won the Italian Latin American dance championship.
Though he was good at the hobby, it never became a choice. Soccer was his No. 1 passion.
4. Pelle Didn’t Break out Until 2012
Pelle was a relative unknown his entire career until a huge break came in 2012. Prior to that, he toiled between various Italian clubs and AZ in the Netherlands.
While at Parma in 2012, he was loaned out to Feyenoord in the Netherlands. Then manager Ronald Koeman and Pelle connected immediately, and Pelle errupted for 11 goals in his first 10 games and 29 in 33 for the season, leading the club to a third-placed finish.
He would continue to fire goals the following season, and Feyernoord missed out on their first league title since 1998/99 by just four points.
The goals would lead to a reunion with Koeman at Southampton, and the success led to his first cap for Italy in October, 2014. He has three goals in six caps for the Azzurri.
5. Pelle Is off to a Hot Start With Southampton
Pelle has netted five goals in eight Premier League matches, good for a tie for third in the Premier League. The goals have rallied Southampton from an early-season hole, and heading into the second international break the Saints sit in ninth place in the league with 12 points.
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