Cerci playing for Torino in 2013
|Full name||Alessio Cerci|
|Date of birth||23 July 1987|
|Place of birth||Velletri, Italy|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|2006–2007||→ Brescia (loan)||21||(0)|
|2007–2008||→ Pisa (loan)||26||(10)|
|2008–2009||→ Atalanta (loan)||13||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 May 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
He started his professional football career at Roma, playing four times for the first team before serving periods on loan at Brescia, Pisa and Atalanta. He returned to Roma in 2009 where he sporadically played under Claudio Ranieri and was sold to Fiorentina in August 2010. In Florence, Cerci had a strained relationship with the fans. In June 2012 he was signed by Torino, where he has enjoyed his greatest success.
Internationally, Cerci has represented Italy from under-16 to under-21 youth levels. He made his senior international debut in March 2013 a friendly match against Brazil and was included in their squad for that year's Confederations Cup.
Cerci grew up playing football in Valmontone before joining the A.S. Roma youth system. At this time, he was nicknamed "l'Henry di Valmontone" ('the Thierry Henry of Valmontone') due to his playing style. On 16 May 2004, he made his debut in Serie A at the age of 16 under Fabio Capello in the 76th minute against Sampdoria, ending 0–0. The following season, he was a key player in the Roma under-19 side that won the Campionato Primavera 2004–05. With the first team he made an additional two appearances, playing the final minutes against Inter Milan and Cagliari.
On 21 March 2005 he signed his first professional contract with Roma for three years. However, he mostly continued to play with the youth team (winning the second edition of the Wojtyła Cup) and making just one appearance for the first team against Chievo on 30 April 2006.
Brescia, Pisa and Atalanta
On 18 August 2006 he was loaned to Brescia in Serie B. He made his debut in the cadets on 15 September, in a 1–1 draw against A.S. Bari. Cerci played 21 times for Brescia (mostly as a substitute), helping the Swallows finish the season in 6th place.
Cerci returned to Roma at the end of the season, before being loaned to Pisa Calcio in 2007. Pisa was then a newly promoted side in Serie B and coached by Giampiero Ventura, who quickly made Cerci a starter in his formation against Bari and Frosinone. On 9 September 2007, Cerci scored his first official goal, in a 1–2 victory away to Cesena. On 25 September he scored again against Triestina, before repeating himself against Treviso, Ascoli and Albinoleffe. On 30 October 2007, he scored the first brace of his career during a 3–3 draw to Modena and on 9 February 2008 he is decisive in the return match against Cesena, scoring a further 2 goals.
However on 12 February, he suffered a knee injury against his former club Brescia that sidelined him for 2 months. He returned on 12 April, but after just 7 days back, was stretched off the field after a bad fall. Magnetic resonance imaging highlighted that Cerci had broken his meniscus and had inflammation to his anterior crucial ligament. On 26 April 2008 he was operated on in Roma by the same doctor that had operated on Francesco Totti just days before, sidelining him for 4 months. His first season was ended prematurely with 10 goals in 26 appearances and 7 assists.
Returning to Roma, Cerci was prepared to stay in the capital to play in Serie A, but on 25 July 2008 was loaned out to Atalanta for €250,000 with the right to purchase the player in co-ownership for €2.75 million. Cerci once again selected the number 11 shirt, making his debut for the Nerazzurri against Chievo. However, numerous injuries throughout the season limited him just to 11 appearances with 0 goals.
Return to Roma
Cerci returned to play for Roma in the 2009–2010 season, scoring his first official goal for the club on 27 August 2009, the 4–0 against Košice in the Europa League play-offs (7–1). In the league, Cerci played the first four matches against Genoa, Juventus, Catania and Napoli, but Claudio Ranieri would later bench him and mostly play him in the Europa League. On 16 December 2009, he scored a brace during CSKA Sofia-Roma (0–3), the final match of the group stages. He made a further appearance for the club in the second round against Greek side Panathinaikos, providing an assist in the first round for David Pizarro. Cerci finished the season with a total of 19 appearances for Roma in Europe and Serie A, with 3 goals.
Cerci made his debut for Fiorentina on 29 August 2010 against Napoli ending 1–1 and scored his first goal in Serie A on 7 November 2010 against Chievo (1–0). Near the end of the season, Cerci scored 6 goals in 5 games, with 2 braces. He concluded the season with 26 appearances and 7 goals in the league, plus one goal in Coppa Italia against Reggina. However, Cerci had a difficult rapport with Fiorentina and its supporters. During his time at Florence, he was accused of overindulging in the city nightlife and was famous for illegally parking his Maserati around the city centre. On one occasion, he was fined for refusing to move his car after he parked it in a space reserved for police.
In the summer of 2011 Cerci became the focus Manchester City under the direct request of Roberto Mancini. However, just as the deal seemed imminent, Cerci decided to stay in Florence, having resolved his issue with the fans.
In the 2011–12 season, Cerci scored his first goal during Coppa Italia against Cittadella (2–1), and the first of two goals against Bologna (2–0) in the opening round of the league. He repeated himself against Parma, Lazio and Lecce, but erratic performances and a difficult relationship with the fans called into question his permanence in Florence.
On 23 August 2012 he was sold to Torino under a co-ownership agreement for €2.5 million. At Turin, he was reunited with Giampiero Ventura, who had already coached him at Pisa. He made his debut for Torino on 1 September 2012 against Pescara, and 30 September 2012 was a key player against Atalanta, with 3 assists. He scored his first goal for the Granata on 25 November, producing the first goal in a 2–2 draw against Fiorentina. On 13 January 2013 he scored his second goal of the season, in a 3–2 home victory to Siena. He repeated himself in the next round, scoring the 2–0 away against Pescara. He scored his fourth goal for Torino on 17 February, in a match won 2–1 against Atalanta.
On 20 June 2013 the co-ownership agreement between Torino and Fiorentina was resolved in favour of Torino for €3.8 million, confirming him for the next season, and taking Marko Bakić permanently to Fiorentina.
For the 2013–14 season, Giampiero Ventura began fielding Cerci as a second striker rather than a right winger, a role in which he began to score with greater continuity. He scored his first goal of the season in the opening round against Sassuolo, won 2–0. He scored again in September against Bologna and A.C. Milan, before scoring his first brace for Torino against Hellas Verona on 25 September. He scored again on 6 October in a 2–2 draw away to Sampdoria, also providing 2 assists and a goal against Livorno on 30 October. On 3 November, Cerci ended his boyhood club A.S. Roma's record 10-match winning streak, scoring the 1–1 at home for Torino.
On 22 December, Cerci ended his mini goal drought, scoring the 4–1 against Chievo, also providing 2 assists. On 26 January 2014, he scored a decisive penalty against Atalanta to give Torino the win 1–0, and on 17 February scored the second Torino goal in a 3–1 win away to Hellas Verona, breaking his personal record for goals scored during his season at Pisa. With teammate Ciro Immobile suspended, Cerci was the difference in a 2–1 against Cagliari, assisting the first goal and scoring the second on 30 March. On 13 April, Immobile and Cerci scored in stoppage time, Cerci with the last kick of the match, to secure a 2–1 win against Genoa. He ended his season with 13 goals and also 11 assists, the most in Serie A.
After his positive start to the season at Pisa, he was called up to the Italy U-21 by coach Pierluigi Casiraghi. He debuted 16 November 2007 in Italy-Azerbaijan (5–0), scoring the 3–0 on an assist by Sebastian Giovinco. Due to injury, he was not called up to the National Olympic side for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. From 2007–2009, he was part of the Italy U-21 biennium, with whom he took part in the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship in Sweden, but never played.
On 17 March 2013 he was called up for the first time to the Italian national team by Cesare Prandelli for a friendly against Brazil and a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification against Malta. He made his debut on 21 March, replacing Andrea Pirlo in the 46th minute in a 2–2 draw with Brazil. On 16 May 2013 he was included in the list of 31 provisional players ahead of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, with his place confirmed in the final list submitted on 3 June.
Style of play
Cerci is a naturally left footed player, with excellent technique, vision, and remarkable quickness, playing mainly as a winger. He can play on both wings, but prefers the right, from which he can cut inside and shoot or provide crosses and assists with his preferred foot. His playing style has drawn comparisons to Arjen Robben.
From season 2013–14 he began to be used regularly as a second striker alongside Ciro Immobile.
- As of 18 may 2014
- Roma: 2004–05
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- Osvaldo e Cerci le novita' di Casiraghi per il doppio impegno con Azerbaijan e far oer
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- Rathborn, Jack. "Alessio Cerci: Why Italy's Late Starter Could Be a Big Star at World Cup 2014". bleacherreport.com. Bleacher Report. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alessio Cerci.|
- Atlético Madrid profile
- Torino profile
- (Italian) Career statistics on aic.football.it
- Alessio Cerci – FIFA competition record
- Alessio Cerci – UEFA competition record