Italian footballers strike it rich on bond market

Italian football stars such as Udinese's Antonio Di Natale, pictured, have found the back of the net after a punt on the country's bond market paid big dividends.

A year ago the Italian Footballers' Association urged them to snap up government debt when the market was in turmoil. The rising price of Italian bonds since has meant returns of nearly 30 per cent, pushing Italy's benchmark 10-year borrowing costs from sharply above the 7 per cent danger mark, which triggered bailouts for other countries, to 4.7 per cent.

British football stars would also have netted big profits if they had made a similar patriotic investment in UK gilts a year ago.