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Rajiv Gandhi was not Sonia Gandhi’s first love. Her first lover was Italian football player Franco Luison.
Antonia Maino, as Sonia was called before her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi, was 14 at the time of her affair with Franco. The affair lasted four years.
In an interview to Italian magazine`Gente’ some time ago, Franco recalled his romance with young Antonia Maino.
Below is what Sonia’s former lover told the magazine:
“We were in love and happy everywhere. Our families were very happy and eager to know that we were in love. Her parents uses to accommodate me with great pleasure at their home of Orbassano near Turin where they were transferred in the 60’s.
“She loved me and wanted to marry me, not the son of Indira.We met for the first time at the see shore of Jesolo in the 60’s, when she was 14.
“I was 26 when I met her for the first time under the shade of my beach umbrella, then I was famous, not Sonia! It seemed like a summer flirt for the first time but lasted for four years and our respective families were happy to see us together. Every sunday, after match, I used to go to Orbasano to meet her. Her family always received me with great pleasure and courtesy. Will remain with her until Tuesday, before return for the practice.
“Football was not her passion, though rarely turns up in stadium to see me in action. When finish the championship, during the summer, we used to go to Vicenza for weekends!
“I was the first great lover of Antonia. Our love story lasted for 4 years. She wanted me to promise her to marry, but I use to postpone each time. Then she went to England where she met Rajiv Gandhi.
“In 1964 she made a decision to go to England. Though I wasn’t happy, she made her trip. She narrated me in her letters everything she was doing. Once she came back for vacation and spoke of Rajiv, son of Indira Gandhi, and “I’m invited to meet his mother and will be going to Delhi soon”, she added. When she came back from New Delhi, she was convinced that she will marry Rajiv Gandhi.
“Though it hurt me very much, farewell to our four years relation wasn’t very tragic and our goodbye was in a very gentle manner.’’
In the interview, Franco had said that he still keeps friendship with Sonia’s family, and meets them at least twice an year to exchange gifts during feasts.
Franco’s wife Nora was quoted as saying, “I was jealous of Sonia, for all his friends use to speak about her when I started our relation in the late 1964. I was afraid one day Sonia would come back and I will lose Franco.’’