A chance encounter with Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a French restaurant helped revive the footballing career of one young man, it has emerged.
Working as a waiter after a series of football setbacks, Davide Lorenzo was serving Srivaddhanaprabha as he sat down to eat at a diner in Nice earlier this year and instantly recognised the Leicester City owner, who tragically lost his life in October.
The 24-year-old soon engaged in conversation with Srivaddhanaprabha, telling him about being released from Juventus as a youth team player and his subsequent struggles to find a club in Malta, Belgium and Norway.
Lorenzo would then go on to have trials in the USA with New York Red Bulls and New York Cosmos, but his tourist visa expired, meaning he had no choice but to return to Europe.
Without a club and no job, Lorenzo relocated to France to live near his girlfriend and took on work as a waiter.
“When I told him I was juvenile at Juventus, Vichai looked at me in a strange way,” he said.
“’What are you doing here then?’ And so I told him my life, even before the appetiser arrived, I’m like that.”
Srivaddhanaprabha arranged for Lorenzo to have a trial with Leicester City and after impressing, he was offered a short-term deal to play in their U23 side.
In October, Srivaddhanaprabha tragically lost his life when his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium.
Speaking to Italian website Tutto Mercato, Lorenzo revealed how the lates Leicester owner made his dream become a reality.
“I am happy to have achieved this goal which I have pursued for so long. I know the contract was a consequence of the changes I have made on and off the pitch, he said.”
“I have learned so much from previous mistakes, now I just want to train hard every day and see where it takes me.”
“Claude Puel told me to keep working hard because they have seen my desire and my qualities – now I have to get back in shape.
“It’s a dream, it really is, to have trained with Adrien Silva and Nampalys Mendy. Incredible.
“One month ago I would have given my blood just to go back to Italy and play Serie C. But I never stopped believing in myself and now I have a second chance.”
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The Leicester boss recently spoke to the Leicester Mercury on Lorenzo’s chances in the future, suggesting he could earn a permanent contract.
“It is an interesting story. He met Vichai in a restaurant and told him his dream to come to Leicester to show his quality,” said Puel.
“We know the chairman liked this spirit when a man has a dream and tries to give his best. He offered for him to come for a trial and I gave him a contract. It is a nice story.
“Then we will see his future, but now he needs to get fit and we will see, perhaps put him out on loan or give him some game time.
“He trains with the under-23s, we will see if he can come into the first team.
“It is early because he hasn’t trained for one year, but it is a good feeling and a good story of course.”