FANTACALCIO (fantasy football in English) is a fantasy game on football, based on managing virtual teams formed by real players, chosen among those who play in the real tournaments and games (e.g. Serie A, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Bundesliga, World Cup, European Cup, etc ). In Italy, it is now a mass phenomenon and it is estimated that in Italy there are just over 6 million fantasy coaches (more than the 4 million who “play” football).”

Historical notes 

Fantasy football was invented by Riccardo Albini who, inspired by a US pastime based on baseball ( Fantasy Baseball , also known as Rotisserie from the name of the meeting place of the first players, La Rotisserie Francaise in New York  ), published for the first time in Italy in 1990 through Edizioni Studio Vit. Alberto Rossetti and Diego Antonelli also contributed to the drafting of the definitive version of the game rules.

A big contribution to the popularity of the game was given by the collaboration with the newspaper “La Gazzetta dello Sport” which, starting from the summer of 1994, hosted the game on its pages, providing the grades to calculate the scores of the fantasy teams. The initiative was a great editorial success: initially, it was assumed that about 10,000 participants would participate but, during the year, 70,000 subscribers were reached.

Fantasy football is very popular on the web in all its variants. In Italy, it is a registered trademark owned since 2017 by Quadronica Srl, owner of the Fantagazzetta platform.

Italian Fantasy Football 

Officially there are three types of fantasy football: the one with a general ranking or “all against all” (where, since there is no calendar at the end of the season, the ranking will reflect the skill of the fantasy coaches and the strength of the fantasy teams), the one with the ranking points determined by head to head matches (where unpredictability is highest) and Formula 1-style competition.

  1. The aim is to lead a fantasy team, made up of real players of the teams of the Italian league, to conquer the Fanta League.
  2. The outcome of each match is based on the real performance of the 11 players who make up the fantasy team weekly.
  3. A league usually consists of a number of people varying between 4 and 10: although it is arithmetically possible to field up to 20 teams (as many as those in the Serie A championship), playing more than 10 people increases the risk for each player not to have a sufficient number of players available to field 11 starters unless the league allows any player to be used as a competitor, as long as they fall within the initial budget of “Fanta Millioni” established to create the fantasy team; this usually happens in leagues with many teams, for example in those written by newspapers.
  1. Each player acts both as president (at the auction he buys players) and as coach of his own fantasy team.
  2. The squad of each fantasy team is made up by game rules of 25 players, although in many variations a different number of players is allowed:
    • 3 goalkeepers,
    • 8 defenders,
    • 8 midfielders,
    • 6 forwards.
  3. The individual championship matches are played by a fantasy team made up of 11 regulars divided into their respective roles based on the modules.
  4. Line ups type of 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-5-1, 5-3-2, 5-4-1, 6-3-1 are officially admitted . Variations to the game rules also allow the use of line ups such as 3-4-3, 3-5-2, and 3-6-1.
  5. The fantasy teams, in the head-to-head league, face each other in a series of matches whose outcome is determined by the sum of the votes assigned in the report card by the newspapers (mainly La Gazzetta dello Sport ) by newspapers online or fantasy football newsrooms such as SportMediaset, Sky and Fantagazzetta, or for some years, by third parties’ proprietary algorithms that process the grade (commonly called “statistical”) in a parametric way based on match statistics. On the other hand, in the sum-of-votes fantasy football, all the grades and bonuses/malus of every single day are added to determine the ranking. The main statistical grades (taking into account the popularity of the respective platforms) currently on the market are Alvin482 developed by Fantagazzetta, the statistical vote by Gazzetta dello Sport for the Magic Leghe platform  , the live statistical vote of FantaMaster, Fantaclub’s FantaMetric, and the objective rating of Fantacalcio-Online. To these basic values ​​must be added the “bonus” and “malus” points due to different variables:
    • +3 points for each goal scored
    • +3 points for each penalty saved (goalkeeper)
    • +2 points for each penalty scored 
    • +1 point for each assist made
    • -0.5 points for each yellow card
    • +1 undefeated goalkeeper
    • -1 point for each goal conceded by the goalkeeper
    • -1 point for each expulsion
    • -2 points for each own goal
    • -3 points for a missed penalty
  6. The conversion table of the scores obtained from the sum of grades and bonus/malus into goals is historically the following:
    • Under 66 points: 0 goals
    • From 66 to 71.5 points: 1 goal
    • From 72 to 77.5 points: 2 goals
    • 78 to 83.5 points: 3 goals
    • 84 to 89.5 points: 4 goals
    • From 90 to 95.5 points: 5 goals
    • From 96 to 101.5 points: 6 goals
    • And so on a goal every 6 points
      However, over the years the Fantasy Football Federation has made changes to the table, bringing the threshold for the 3rd goal from 78 to 77 points in the 2002/2003 season and assigning the following goals every 4 points (4 goals with 81 points, 5 with 85 points, 6 with 89 points and so on).
  7. When a player in the starting line-up has not received a grade, the grade of the players on the bench takes over. In the event that no player among the owners or the substitutes receives a vote, the official reserve will take over, whose grade will always be considered to be a 4; this reserve can only be used once if several players do not play, the others will have no score and will be played in numerical inferiority.  In the event that a fantasy manager has only substitute players after the match has started and has no owners in a certain role, the grade is counted to the substitute player.
  8. Should there be a postponement of one or more matches, the “Official Fantasy Football Game Rules” provides for the stand-by of the match the subsequent grades, and addition of bonus and malus when the match resumes. In the case of a definitive suspension is given the “political” 6 to all participants.
  9. The classification of the Fanta championship is established by score, with the attribution of 3 points for the match won, 1 point for the match drawn and zero points for the match lost.
  10. The fantasy championship ends when all the matches scheduled in the calendar have been played. The team with the most points is declared “Fanta League Champion”.
  11. The lineup must be communicated according to the game rules or by the start of the first match scheduled for the day or thirty minutes before that time. In the case that the line up is not inserted before the established deadline, the line up used on the previous match will become active, without any penalty.

Auction Budget 

The budget value is usually expressed in fictional currencies such as FantaMilioni , FantaEuro or MagicMilioni . It is up to the members of Fantalega to determine the budget available to each player (or fantapresidente): the quota, by game rules, is set at 260 FM (even if some leagues decide to provide 300 FM, 500 FM, sometimes even 1000) .

Transfers to other leagues

If a player were to go to play in a league other than Serie A, and he is part of some squad, the manager must sell the player who moved to another tournament at the purchase value, halved in the case of a transfer to a minor league. However, in each league, there may be discretion on the amount of the refund.


One or more players can be traded, sold or bought indefinitely or limitedly (depending on the rules established in your league) during the market, in exchange for fantamillioni, in the case of purchases or sales, or even for players in the case of exchanges with another Fanta manager. In this case with the possibility of including both players and “fantamillioni” in the operation.


A maximum of 7 players must be present on the bench.

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“Fantasy football, that social network born before the social networks.“-The Words of its inventor Riccardo Albini, from “Il Fatto Quotidiano”

A success that for 28 years has known no crisis. The year was 1988, the European Championship in Germany was at the gates and Riccardo Albini invented the game at the “Goccia d’Oro” bar in Milan that still keeps millions of fantasy coaches glued to (or argues). “I have not become a millionaire, but I am happy to have contributed to the knowledge of the national sport beyond the news of the big teams”. And at the he tells some tricks for winning training“.

It all started in a bar in the center of Milan, where Riccardo Albini spent his lunch break in the late Eighties. Today the large room in via Ausonio, behind the San Vittore prison, has become a manicure and pedicure shop. But if you are passionate Inter fans and have happened to rejoice at a goal from Paulo Dybala, when you pass there, stop for a moment. Because on one of those tables that no longer exist, a game was born that does exist. And he realized the dream of a country where there are millions of coaches: to give them a team to manage. June 1988, the European Championships are upon us, Albini believes the time has come to test Fantasy Football, elaborated in the spare time during the previous three years. Ever since, during a video game fair in Chicago, he came across a book on the rules of a fantasy game related to American football. With him at the tables of the “Goccia d’oro” bar there are seven friends, more or less the same ones with whom he still shares his fantalega today. It is the first auction that you remember. They have a lot of fun. They then decide to meet before the start of the championship to replicate.

From a Milanese bar to a success that knows no crisis. Albini, when did Fantasy Football come out of those four walls?
Two years later. We thought of making a book in which we explained the rules of the game. It was called Serie A – Fantasy Football. It was 1990. 10,000 copies were printed and we sold a quarter. At the editorial level it was a bloodbath but the numbers speak for themselves: that year about 15 thousand people became fantasy coaches.

So when did the turning point come?
It was a progressive process. We went to the Gazzetta to ask if something could be done together, but there was no technology capable of supporting the game. In via Solferino, however, they began to have to manage a problem: they received hundreds of calls from angry fans because perhaps a player’s vote had been missed. In the meantime, as many of those who bought the book wrote or called us, we tried to sell it again. And slowly it imposed itself.

Until the agreement with the Gazzetta.
We tightened it in 1994. We managed to find a method and developed the “grand prix” version, while until then we only played in “head to head”. 70,000 teams participated. They thought it would be a success to have ten thousand. If we had included in the agreement an economic bonus for every team registered beyond that threshold, today I would be a millionaire.

But how? Haven’t you monetized?
Yes, but I have not become a millionaire. We collected with the book and with the sale of the brand to the Espresso Group.

When you conceived Fantasy Football did you think it could become so popular?
No, also because in the United States the version applied to American football was not. It was not born with the idea of ​​making money but to play. I figured it would have fun, since it revolved around football, but we didn’t have a business model just to be clear.

How similar is the Fantasy Football we know today to the one he developed in 1988?
The plant is practically identical. I am proud of those rules. Any fantasy of that period did not involve direct confrontations.

How many championships have you won?
Five in 28 seasons. I lost one for a stupid thing.

Tell us about it …
I had Shevchenko. I bought it as soon as I arrived, at 45. It made me win two league titles in a row. The third year I could have confirmed it. Instead, I decided to cut him because he hadn’t played very well the previous season and so I was hoping to buy him back for a lower amount. Instead the day before the auction he scored a double and his price shot up.

His ideal training?
I always play 3-5-2. With good midfielders you can earn those two or three points that make the difference.

And the 3-4-3 so popular among fantasy coaches?
In our league it has long been banned. I find that he places too much weight on attacks and attacking midfielders. A good coach, on the other hand, must know how to balance his choices. And then it homologates the formations: when it is allowed, everyone uses it.

The player who gave you the most satisfaction?
In addition to Shevchenko, I remember excellent years of Hamsik at the time of Mazzari and a splendid season of Cuadrado with the Lecce shirt.

The auction is the key moment of the game. Is there any ‘secret’?
We need to carry on what we have set ourselves in the previous week, to devote to study. It is essential not to get caught up in the “illuminations” of the moment, which in reality have a very specific name if they are successful: strokes of luck. And then woe to be fans: nothing more wrong than buying many players from your favorite team.

Albini, one last question: are you aware that you have sent some people to the stars and ruined thousands of Sundays for others?
I know well. But Fantasy Football has also served to increase the average knowledge of what happens in Serie A. Before many people only read the chronicles of the big teams, now you have to know even the small ones to understand how all the players play. There will certainly have been some friendships broken for a stolen player or a goal at the last minute, but many others are held up, perhaps at a distance, thanks to Fantasy Football. It represents an excellent excuse to meet every week and be together at least once a year. It is a social network born long before social networks.

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Fantacalcio 10 YEARS HALL OF FAME 1989-1999


The origin of Fantacalcio MANTRA – The Words of its inventor FULVIO GENNARI, from “”

It was April 27, 2012, when Fantagazzetta, after a month of rumors and teasers, presented the Mantra game system to the public, the revolution of fantasy games related to the football. 
Initially incorporated in the beta version of the free game “Fantagenius Pro”, from the summer it was then made available also for the platform , the pride of the community and natural final destination of Mantra, born and conceived mainly to be played in a league format. 

Presenting this innovation was a difficult undertaking because breaking the ultra-twenty-year habits of one of the most successful games in Italy seemed at least presumptuous. Yet Mantra had within itself that ‘delicacy’ to face the fantasy football player face-to-face: DO NOT TAKE even a breath away from the vital breath of the classic version, ADDING a sea of ​​fun and a decisive leap in quality thanks to the emphasis on the tactical component, so far absolutely marginal and far from the reality in the game. 

Identifying the players by their characteristics and inserting them coherently in a game scheme has become the “license of Coverciano” for fanta managers. Not only. The presence in the list of many multi-role players allows strong flexibility in the choices. The chessboard is never rigid and the tactical transformation becomes a lever available to the fanta manager no longer bound to have to choose the 3-4-3 almost by force.

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Mantra allows for a richer and more immersive gaming experience. From the managerial qualities required to set up a squad, to the ability to weekly choose the tactical system that can best enhance the players available . We reiterate, without giving up anything of the old and dear fantasy football. 

The leap, or rather, the generational transition to this new game system is therefore absolutely natural and its tactical component supports the way in which we are now used to using the football product from the media (TV, press and web) which, under this point of view, in the last twenty years they have had a very strong evolution. Attacking midfielders, winger, low winger and so on. Is there any of you who don’t know what they are? Let’s not joke! The Italian fantasy football player is an absolutely prepared “human being”!.

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