Pierluigi Collina is a highly respected former football referee from Italy. Born on February 13, 1960, he was widely recognized as one of the top referees in the world during his career. One of his most distinguishing characteristics is his distinctive bald appearance, which combined with his expressive facial gestures made him one of the most recognizable figures in football.
Collina began his refereeing career in the Italian Serie C1 in 1988. His performances were consistently good, and he was soon promoted to the higher leagues. He officiated his first game in the Italian Serie A in 1991.
His career as an international referee started in 1995 when he joined the FIFA list. He quickly gained a reputation for being fair and consistent, characteristics that brought him to the attention of the international football community.
Collina's career peaked in the early 2000s when he was chosen to officiate at several top-level international tournaments. He is best known for refereeing the 2002 World Cup Final between Germany and Brazil, which Brazil won 2-0. In the same year, he was named FIFA's "Best Referee of the Year" for the sixth consecutive year.
Collina retired in 2005 due to the Italian Football Federation's policy of compulsory retirement at the age of 45. However, he was not away from the football world for long as he was appointed as the head of referees for the Football Federation of Ukraine in 2010, and later became UEFA's Chief Refereeing Officer in 2018. He also took up roles in advising and supervising referees at a national and international level.
Apart from refereeing, Collina has been featured in various advertising campaigns and he was on the cover of the video game "Pro Evolution Soccer 3".
Collina was known for his exceptional management of games, his strict adherence to the rules, and his ability to communicate effectively with the players. His focus, understanding of the game, and decisive action made him one of the most respected figures in football.