Demetrio Albertini

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Demetrio Albertini
Demetrio Albertini.JPG
Personal information
Date of birth (1971-08-23) 23 August 1971 (age 43)
Place of birth Besana in Brianza, Italy
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
Milan
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–2002 Milan 293 (21)
1990–1991 Padova (loan) 28 (5)
2002–2003 Atlético Madrid 28 (2)
2003–2004 Lazio 23 (2)
2004-2005 Atalanta 14 (1)
2005 Barcelona 5 (0)
Total 393 (31)
National team
1989 Italy U18 7 (0)
1990–1992 Italy U21 17 (0)
1992 Italy Olympic Team 5 (2)
1991–2002 Italy 79 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Demetrio Albertini (born in Besana in Brianza, 23 August 1971) is a former professional Italian football midfielder, and a current sporting director, who is currently serving as president for the FIGC. He is widely considered as one of the legends of the AC Milan side of the 90s[1] and a fundamental player for the Italian national team of the same period. He spent most of his career with AC Milan of the Italian Serie A, winning many trophies, including five Serie A titles and two UEFA Champions League titles with the club. He also played his final season for FC Barcelona, winning the Spanish League before retiring that year.

A vital member of the Italian national team, Albertini was part of the squads that competed at the World Cups of 1994 and 1998, as well as the 1996 and 2000 European Championships, reaching the finals of the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000.

Biography and Club Career[edit]

Albertini, born in Besana in Brianza, province of Monza e Brianza, emerged as a product of AC Milan's youth system, and went on to spend 14 highly successful years with the club after debuting as a 17-year-old during the 1988/89 season under Arrigo Sacchi. He spent part of the 1990/91 season on loan at Padova Calcio in Serie B, collecting 28 appearances and 5 goals, in order to gain experience, and was subsequently awarded a prize by Diadora as one of the most promising young Italian stars.[2] He soon established himself in the starting lineup of the Milan side during the 1991/92 season under Fabio Capello, wearing the number 4 shirt, and helping Milan to win the title undefeated that season, and he would go on to make almost 300 Serie A appearances for the club. Albertini won many titles during his years at Milan, and claimed three successive Serie A titles in 1992, 1993 and 1994, and he also managed to capture two further scudetti in 1996 and 1999. In addition, he made 41 Champions League appearances, helping the Rossoneri to reach three consecutive finals between 1993 and 1995, lifting the trophy in 1994. He also won two UEFA Super Cups, three Italian Super Cups, and an Intercontinental Cup during his time at the club. Albertini remained at Milan until 2002, when his manager and former mentor Carlo Ancelotti preferred to play the emerging Andrea Pirlo in his position. During his time at the club, he managed 28 goals in 406 appearances, scoring a personal record of 8 goals during the 1996-97 season.

After leaving Milan, Albertini bounced around different teams. He spent the 2002–03 season on loan to Atlético Madrid, scoring 2 goals in 28 caps for the Spanish club. He was eventually traded to Lazio in exchange for Giuseppe Pancaro during the 2003–04 season, with great bitterness,[3] where he finally won the Coppa Italia which had eluded him at Milan, scoring 2 goals in 23 appearances for the club.[4] He started the 2004–05 season with Atalanta, playing 14 matches and scoring a goal on his debut,[5] before transferring to FC Barcelona in January, where he joined his former mentor Frank Rijkaard, and was able to capture La Liga during the final season of his career, with five caps.[6]

International career[edit]

For the Italian national team, Albertini has been capped 79 times, scoring 3 goals. He made his debut on 21 December 1991, at the age of 20, in a 2-0 win against Cyprus in Foggia. He played for his country at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, Euro 96, and Euro 2000. Although he was still an Italy regular at the time, he was unable to participate in the 2002 World Cup due to an injury to his Achille's tendon a few months before the competition. In 1992 he competed with the national squad at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. He has also captained Italy on 6 occasions.

1994 World Cup[edit]

Albertini's first major tournament for Italy came at the USA 1994 World Cup. Alongside Milan team mate Roberto Donadoni, as well as Dino Baggio, Albertini formed the "engine room" of the Italian midfield throughout the World Cup. In the last group game against Mexico Albertini assisted a crucial goal for Daniele Massaro, which allowed Italy to barely qualify for the second round as the best third placed team. In the semifinal against Bulgaria, Albertini gave a dominant performance, taking several shots on goal and even hitting the post. Albertini created several chances during the match, dictating the tempo of his team's play. He notably helped to set up Roberto Baggio's second goal of the match, with a lobbed throughball, which allowed Italy to progress to the final with a 2-1 win.[7] In the final against Brazil, a balanced, scoreless game after extra-time led to a penalty shoot-out; Albertini scored his penalty, but his effort did not prove to be enough, as Franco Baresi and Roberto Baggio as well as Daniele Massaro missed their penalties.[8]

Euro 1996[edit]

Italy went to the European championship in England as vice-world champions and many saw Sacchi's team as the key contender for the title along with Germany, and saw Albertini as Italy's key player, wearing the number 10 shirt. However, the tournament ended in frustration for the Italians. Arrigo Sacchi's team selection for the second group game against Czech Republic was based on the presumption that, after the victory over Russia and in the light of the upcoming clash with Germany, Italy could afford playing without a series of key players including Albertini. Italy lost 2–1 to the Czech Republic and then were knocked out of the tournament following a 0–0 draw with future champions Germany, a match the "Azurri" dominated thanks to Albertini's presence in midfield. Sacchi in one of his interviews admitted the early departure was due to his mistakes and the 1996 squad was his best Italy team, even better than the one that got the second place in USA 1994.[9]

World Cup 1998[edit]

At the 1998 World Cup, Albertini's presence was not as central and explicit as it was in the previous big tournaments, but Cesare Maldini relied on him as one of the key central midfielders. Out of the games that Italy played in France, Albertini was not involved only when Italy faced Austria in the group stage. In the quarter-final clash, Zidane-led France managed to overcome the masters of insurmountable defence only by penalties, during which Albertini's surprising failure did induce the tides to turn against "Squadra Azzurra".[10] Ironically, the midfielder could have been the organiser of the Italian golden goal; during the extra time his superb delivery in the form of lobbed pass to Roberto Baggio left the latter alone with Barthez, but the shot went just inches away.[11] Having won its most difficult match of the tournament, France went on to claim the nation's first World Cup title.[12]

Euro 2000[edit]

In Dino Zoff's formation, Albertini was the unquestionable leader of Italy's midfield, starting alongside Di Biagio, behind either Stefano Fiore or Francesco Totti. His pace-setting and creative role in controlling the Italian midfield was paramount to Italy's successful run in the tournament, although the Italians ultimately missed out on the trophy. The azzurri progressed to the final undefeated, winning all three of their group matches against Turkey, Belgium and Sweden, going on to defeat Romania 3-0 in the quarterfinal, and overcoming co-hosts the Netherlands in the semi-final on penalties after a 0-0 draw following extra time. Italy eventually lost out once again to the 1998 World Champions France on a golden goal in the final.[11] Albertini was chosen to be part of the Team of the Tournament due to his performances throughout the Cup.

Retirement[edit]

On the 5th December 2005, Albertini announced his retirement from professional football and expressed his desire to one day become a full-time football manager.[13] On the 15th March 2006, a Milan vs Barcelona celebration match was organised in Albertini's honour, featuring great footballing names from both past and present (such as Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, and Franco Baresi). Milan won the match 3–2 at the San Siro, with Albertini scoring the first goal from a textbook swerving free kick. Following the match, a visibly emotional Albertini was given a standing ovation from the fans.[14]

FIGC[edit]

On 18 May 2006, following the Italian football scandal involving Juventus F.C. and Luciano Moggi which led to the resignation of Franco Carraro from the Italian Football Federation presidency and the appointment of a temporary commissioner, Guido Rossi, by the National Olympic Committee, Albertini was named vice-commissioner of FIGC.

On 19 September, following the resignation of Guido Rossi, who was in the meanwhile appointed as chairman of Telecom Italia, Albertini also announced his resignation.

Style of play[edit]

Albertini was a complete, experienced and composed midfielder, who was gifted with stamina, power, technique, and class, which allowed him to be regarded as one of the best Italian midfielders of his generation.[15] His key strengths as a player were his mentality, his excellent vision, tactical knowledge and ball control, but above all, his brilliant passing range,[16] which made him a key member of the Milan and the Italian national sides of the 90s and early 2000s.[17] Few players were able to replicate Albertini's long passing adeptness, and many have likened his ability to that of Ronald Koeman. Albertini was also an accurate penalty kick and set piece taker who could curl the ball well, and he was also known for his powerful strikes from distance.[17][18] Although he was fundamentally a creative central midfielder or deep-lying playmaker with excellent technical ability, he was able to complete himself tactically and improve upon the defensive and offensive aspect of his game play throughout his career, which allowed him to play in several midfield positions.[19][20] In the Milan side and Italy side, he was seen as the heir to Carlo Ancelotti, and later also as the predecessor to Andrea Pirlo, due to his ability to control the midfield and set the tempo of his team, and was often regarded as the "creative brain" and "metronome" of his teams.[21] Many football experts draw parallels between Albertini and Andrea Pirlo,[22] the midfield ace of European and world football, who emerged as his heir in Italian football, both for Milan and for the Italian national side.[18] Like Albertini, Pirlo is a deep-lying playmaker who also possesses excellent technique, ball skills, vision and passing range, and who is also a set-piece specialist and a goal threat from distance. In addition his footballing skills, Albertini was also known for his correct behaviour on the pitch, and was seen as a symbol and leader for both his club and national sides.[16]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Season Club League League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1988–89 Milan Serie A 1 0 - - - - - - 1 0
1989–90 1 0 - - - - - - 1 0
1990–91 - - 2 0 - - - - 2 0
1990–91 Padova Serie B 28 5 - - - - - - 28 5
1991–92 Milan Serie A 28 3 5 0 - - - - 33 3
1992–93 29 2 6 0 7 1 1 0 43 3
1993–94 26 3 0 0 13 1 2 0 41 4
1994–95 30 2 4 0 11 0 2 0 47 2
1995–96 30 0 3 0 5 0 - - 38 0
1996–97 29 8 2 0 5 1 1 0 37 9
1997–98 28 0 9 2 - - - - 37 2
1998–99 29 2 3 0 - - - - 32 2
1999–2000 26 1 1 0 5 0 1 0 33 1
2000–01 12 0 2 0 11 2 - - 25 2
2001–02 24 0 4 0 8 0 - - 36 0
2002–03 Atlético Madrid La Liga 28 2 2 1 - - - - 30 3
2003–04 Lazio Serie A 23 2 4 0 8 0 - - 35 2
2004–05 Atalanta 14 1 2 1 - - - - 16 2
2004–05 Barcelona La Liga 5 0 - - 1 0 - - 6 0
Total for Milan 293 21 41 2 65 5 7 0 406 28
Career totals 391 31 49 4 74 5 7 0 521 40

*European competitions include the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, and UEFA Super Cup

International[edit]

[23]

Italy national team
Year Apps Goals
1991 1 0
1992 4 0
1993 6 0
1994 14 0
1995 8 2
1996 7 0
1997 9 0
1998 10 0
1999 6 0
2000 11 0
2001 2 0
2002 1 0
Total 79 2

Honours[edit]

AC Milan[edit]

1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99
1992, 1993, 1994
1989–90, 1993–94
1989, 1994
1989

SS Lazio[edit]

2003–04

FC Barcelona[edit]

2004–05

Italy[edit]

1992
1994
2000

Orders[edit]

Ufficiale OMRI BAR.svg
4th Class / Officer: Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana:(2006)
Cavaliere OMRI BAR.svg
5th Class / Knight: Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana:(2000)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AC Milan bid farewell to legend Albertini". Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "demetrio albertini". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  3. ^ "[Esplora il significato del termine: Albertini addio al veleno "Milan sei stato ingrato". Parigi vende Ronaldinho] Albertini addio al veleno "Milan sei stato ingrato". Parigi vende Ronaldinho". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  4. ^ "Member associations –". UEFA. 
  5. ^ "Member associations –". UEFA. 
  6. ^ linkHalf-time lead 3 4 – 1. "UEFA Champions League –". UEFA. 
  7. ^ "Roby Baggio ci porta in Paradiso". Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Even great players can miss penalties". 
  9. ^ Ferrato, Luca. "Interview with Arrigo Sacchi". Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Match Report". Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "4. Baggio's volley -1998". Article. 
  12. ^ "Zidane lights the blue-touch paper for France". Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Member associations –". UEFA. 
  14. ^ "Addio Albertini, vincono le stelle". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  15. ^ "BBC Sport, Euro 2000 Profile: Demetrio Albertini". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  16. ^ a b "A.C. Milan Hall of Fame: Demetrio Albertini". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  17. ^ a b "Le stelle di Francia 98: da Albertini a Batistuta". 
  18. ^ a b Pogorzelski, Kevin. "The Legend of Calcio: Demetrio Albertini". 
  19. ^ "Demetrio Albertini: Metronomo". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  20. ^ "Autocritica di Albertini: "Devo dare di più"". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  21. ^ "Enciclopedia dello sport: ALBERTINI, Demetrio". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  22. ^ "Due o tre cose su Demetrio Albertini, il vecchio Pirlo". Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "Demetrio Albertini – International Appearances". Rsssf.com. 

External links[edit]