‘Not a statesman’: Matteo Salvini – the Zelig of Italian politics

League head attempts to burnish his credentials as leader of Europe’s far-right with home-turf rally

Nino Governale was the perfect target for the teenage Matteo Salvini. The PE teacher hailed from Sicily and could hardly get through the weekly lesson at the prestigious Alessandro Manzoni high school in Milan without being goaded by his pupil.

“Salvini was as arrogant at 14 as he is today,” Governale says. “His favourite game was to antagonise. At that time he was against all southerners – we were the enemies coming to Milan and stealing jobs.”

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‘Not a statesman’: Matteo Salvini – the Zelig of Italian politics