Aleesami recalls smoking culture at Palermo: “On my 1st-day more than 8 players were on the balcony smoking cigarettes.”
Amiens full-back Haitam Aleesami recalled one of the crazier moments of his career to date, the smoking culture amongst the playing staff at his former club Palermo.
“In Italy, I saw there were a lot of people who used to smoke cigarettes, and, when I say a lot of people, I mean players. It’s really common and that was strange for me, I remember when I came on my first day, to Palermo. I went to the hotel where all the players were and they were about to play against Marseille in a friendly game. So I went there and had lunch with them and then I just saw 7 or 8 players go out on the balcony outside the restaurant with all the coaches just sitting there and smoking cigarettes. I just went to Oscar Hiljemark, I said to him are these physios or coaches and he said: “Ah, no. Welcome to Italy, you will get used to it.”
“So what happened, before games, it was like, we had the showers and bathrooms together, so always five minutes before I went out onto the pitch, I went to take a piss and it was always the same guys before a game standing there smoking cigarettes because they just needed it. Even in the break, the coach would give us 5 minutes, and you would see one or two guys just sprinting in just to have some puffs of the cigarettes and I was like oh my gosh this is crazy. You would never be able to do that in a country like Norway or England or in Spain. I don’t know if it was some addiction, or they just had to do it before the games.”