Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Guest Blog

By Alex Bartolomeo

There seems to be a trend developing in the Serie A if we look at recent transfer windows, but it is nothing new for calcio fans. The young talents of Italy have been shipped off or sold to the highest bidder. It seems that young Italians are finding it hard to make there way into a starting XI in the Serie A, and if they do owners seem reluctant to sell their rising stars within the Serie A for fear of that competition. What is most troubling about all of this is that players get sold away to other countries and are forgotten. Taken out of the National Pool before even getting a chance in most cases.

In recent weeks we have seen Fabio Borini and Marco Verratti both leave the Serie A for England and Italy respectively. This is not the first time we have seen this happen, and most certainly will not be the last. I think we would all like to see these players reach their potential before being shipped elsewhere.

Here are some examples of what could have been:

Alessandro Rosina (right) shakes hands with Alessandro Del Piero prior to a Torino derby match.
Rosina was captain of Torino at the time. (2008)

Known as Rosinaldo in Torino for resembling the great 'Phenomeno' Ronaldo. Rosina started his career with Parma at just 20-years-old. Hopes were high for this young man however, he never did truly break out with the Gialloblu. He moved on in the summer of 2006 to Torino where he finally began fulfilling his potential. During his three seasons with Torino he ammased 22 goals and 10 assists. Despite interest from clubs all over the Serie A, it was Zenit St. Petersburg who won the race for his signature. Rosina was 25 and just entering the prime of his career, however since moving to the Russian side he has never cemented his place in the first team. He earned his first cap for the Azzurri during the 2007-08 season, but has yet to earn a second cap since moving to Zenit.

Enzo Maresca after winning the UEFA Cup with Sevilla

An Italian bull that started his career at the age of eleven with AC Milan. A box-to-box central midfielder that made his first senior appearance at the age of 18 with West Bromwich Albion of the English Premiere League. He quickly became a highly touted young player from there. Juventus purchased him in 2000 to bring him back to Italy however, he was never given a proper opportunity. Lack of first team football at Juventus to a loan spell at Bologna and co-ownership deals to Piacenza and Fiorentina respectively. In that 2004-2005 season Enzo played well, finding the back of the net five times in just 25 appearances. As a midfielder, that is a very good scoring record. Despite showing promise Juventus bought his full rights back from Fiorentina in 2005 and sent him to Sevilla, where he would go on to win the UEFA cup. Enzo netted twice in the final and was awarded man of the match honours. However, Enzo was never given an opportunity with the national team.

Alberto Aquilani

Being born in Rome, he began his training as a 15-year-old with the Giallorossi and became known as 'The Prince'. Roma fans believe he would be the one to replace Francesco Totti. This put a lot of pressure on the young midfielder, and he was not able to live up to the immense hype. Alberto was only given a short stin at the senior level with Roma, and was plagued by injuries. However, a team abroad still believed in his talent. He was sold to Anfield where he would play with Liverpool in the English Premiere League. Injuries have never allowed him a chance at the first team. He has only been called to one major tournament (Euro08) and since has not made it to the World Cup in 2010 or the recent Euro 2012. Alberto has spent his last two seasons in Italy, but only on a loan basis. He is still looking for a permanent move back to his home country.

Federico Macheda

At 14 Federico was already set to become a star. He got noticed by Sir Alex and was taken to the Premiere League. Never having really gotten an opportunity with the first team, Macheda's growth seems to have stunted. He is no longer one of the top Italian talents, and although he is still 21-years-old has fallen behind as guys like Fabio Borini and Mattia Destro are much further ahead in their development.

Marco Verratti

Touted as the second coming of Andrea Pirlo despite having never played a minute of Serie A football, Marco Verratti is Italy's most promising young talent at the moment. He led Pescara to promotion from Serie B this past season and made the big money move to PSG. Juventus was set to close a deal on the youngster until Pescara got a more than generous offer from the Parisian giants. The ceiling is high for Marco, but he needs to play in order to reach his immense potential. I don't think he will get that chance at PSG, it will be unfortunate if he does not continue to grow as a man and as a player because of this move.

It is not always what it is cracked up to be, leaving for the big money contracts in Russia or wherever a young star may find it. This is not a problem subject to Italians alone, but a problem that seems to be more prevalent in recent years. The blame should not just go on the players, although the allure of high reputation teams coupled with a big contract is hard to refuse, the owners in Italy need to nurture this talent better than they have in recent years. There is a bigger picture here, growing the game in Italy should benefit every team financially, not just the bigger clubs. Rising stars need to be given opportunities, and real opportunities at that, not just a few appearances here and there.

The problem is not as large as I might make it out to be, I know that but Italy should be a league that competes with the English and Spanish and at this rate it is starting to feel like it has become a feeder league for them. Mario Balotelli, Marco Verratti, and Fabio Borini should be the stars of football playing with Italian teams, not teams from around the globe. These are the types of players that can restore the great reputation the Serie A once had. Yes we may not be losing all of our best young talent, but in recent years the few that are leaving are the really special ones, and that is what scares me the most.

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