Playboy footballer who dated Love Islander joins Italian team to escape ‘circle’

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Footballer Aaron Connolly has opened up on his struggles and claimed he moved to join Italian side Venezia to escape the 'circle' back in England.

Speaking in a candid interview with Irish Football Fan TV, the attacker said that he is now back on the right track after enduring a torrid spell at Middlesbrough when he joined on loan in January from Brighton last season.

The 22-year-old, who dated Love Islander beauty Lucinda Strafford until earlier this year, has claimed that now he is back to winning ways mentally and his time in Italy, playing for the northern Serie B side, has been a massive boost.

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He said: "Physically and mentally, I haven't felt this strong in a long time. A lot of people know why I haven’t kicked on and I know myself.

"That’s why this move to Italy was vital, just to get away from the circle I was in back in England, I needed a fresh start.

“My confidence was on the deck, when I missed chances and hadn’t been playing. I wasn’t in the right place to go on loan last year

" I did it because I wanted to play football but I wish this version of myself right now had showed up at Middlesbrough. It would have been a different story."

The Irish forward continued: “Mentally, I wouldn’t have been able to move abroad last season. I wouldn’t have been excited. But this time, I couldn’t say yes quick enough.

Where will Connolly end up next season? Let us know in the comments section below.

"I’ve got a good group of people around me now, a good group of mates… the old circle I used to be around off the pitch, I’ve had to make my mind up.

"It’s either keep going in the phase I was going in and eventually, I’ll just be completely forgotten.

"At the minute I’m probably the forgotten man in Irish football and if I kept associating with people I’d been associating with before, I would have completely gone off the scale.”

Connolly has reportedly split from Strafford in April. The couple had initially kindled their affair in 2021 and were together for two years before Lucinda appeared on the ITV reality show.

During a question and answer, then she asked about her relationship status she replied: “Loving me, myself & I.”

She appeared as a contestant on Love Island in 2021 but at the time she was accused of still being in a relationship with Connolly.


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