(Reuters) - The great-grandson of Italy's late fascist dictator Benito Mussolini hopes he will not be judged by his name after being called up for the youth team at Serie A club Lazio.
Romano Floriani Mussolini, 18, has been part of the squad for Lazio's Under-23 'Primavera' team for the past two matches, including their 2-0 loss to Juventus on Saturday.
"Here at Lazio I'm judged only for the way I play and not because my surname is Mussolini," Romano told newspaper Il Messaggero.
"I hope I can make my debut for the Primavera one day."
Romano is the third child of Alessandra Mussolini and husband Mauro Floriani, and great-grandson of Benito Mussolini, who was prime minister of Italy from 1922 to 1943 after a fascist coup.
Alessandra is a former member of the European Parliament for Forza Italia.
The 18-year-old defender is currently completing his last year at the St George British International School in Rome, which is close to Lazio's training ground.
A minority of Lazio fans, known as "ultras", have links to the far right. A number of banners expressing pride in the fascist movement have been flown at the Stadio Olimpico's Curva Nord over the years.
In 2005, club icon Paolo Di Canio gave a fascist salute to Lazio fans in the Curva Nord after playing in a derby win against city rivals AS Roma.
After receiving a ban, Di Canio was reported to have said "I am a fascist, not a racist". He has since said he was misquoted.
It is unclear whether Romano has signed a professional contract with Lazio. The club were unavailable for comment when contacted by Reuters.
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Ken Ferris)