Grifo's touch of class can be traced back to a special gift from his grandfather. - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Simon Hofmann/Getty Images
Grifo's touch of class can be traced back to a special gift from his grandfather. - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Simon Hofmann/Getty Images
Bundesliga

Vincenzo Grifo: Freiburg’s tap that refuses to turn off

It could all be down to a magic shirt. Vincenzo Grifo's grandfather may be the secret behind the Pforzheim-born Italian's inspiring outings with SC Freiburg in their first season following promotion, with Borussia Mönchengladbach snapping him up for next year.

The son of an Apulian mother and Sicilian father was given a very early introduction to football, and it appears to be having a lasting effect on him. Indeed, he was just three when he trained for the first time for VfR Pforzheim, and he already had something divine.

Divine as in Il Divin Codino – the divine ponytail. That was the nickname given to Italian legend Roberto Baggio and it was one of his shirts that grandfather Grifo gifted his grandson when he first found a football at his feet. He slept in that shirt, and the magic appears to have rubbed off.

Watch: Grifo's lovely chip against Mainz

Baggio's touch was sublime – almost second to none – and Grifo has shown similarly magnetic properties, receiving the ball on average more than any of his teammates. Having possession is one thing, knowing what to do with the ball is another, and the 24-year-old is not found wanting in that department either.

Read: Freiburg's unique coach Christian Streich

He took more shots than any of his teammates in 2016/17, and that explains his six goals and eight assists: both appear to be on tap when it comes to Grifo. He works very hard for it too, churning up more grass on average than some of the Bundesliga's renowned midfield engines such as Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara.

- © gettyimages / Alex Grimm