Luciano Becchio

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Luciano Becchio
Luciano Becchio York City v. Leeds United 1.png
Becchio playing for Leeds United in 2009
Personal information
Full name Luciano Héctor Becchio[1]
Date of birth (1983-12-28) 28 December 1983 (age 30)
Place of birth Córdoba, Argentina
Height 6 ft 1.5 in (1.87 m)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Rotherham United (on loan from Norwich City)
Number 22
Youth career
2002–2003 Boca Juniors
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2005 Mallorca B 29 (5)
2004–2005 Ciudad de Murcia (loan) 16 (3)
2005–2006 Terrassa 24 (2)
2006–2007 Barcelona B 10 (0)
2006–2008 Mérida 50 (28)
2008–2013 Leeds United 190 (75)
2013– Norwich City 13 (0)
2014– Rotherham United (loan) 3 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:09, 20 September 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Luciano Héctor Becchio (born 28 December 1983) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a striker for Norwich City and is currently on loan at Rotherham United. Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Becchio began his career in Buenos Aires at Boca Juniors but moved to Europe aged 20 after failing to make the grade at Los Xeneizes. Through his ancestry, Becchio was able to claim an Italian passport and subsequent citizenship of the European Union, allowing him to sign for Spanish club Mallorca B in 2003. He would go on to play for a variety of other lower league clubs in the country over the next five years, including the Barcelona B team.

After an impressive season at Mérida in the 2007–08 season, Becchio was recommended to Leeds United Director of Football Gwyn Williams by former Newcastle United midfielder Marcelino Elena.[2] He joined the Yorkshire club on trial during a pre-season tour of Ireland in July 2008. He signed shortly after the club's return to England, having impressed manager Gary McAllister and made his début as a substitute on the opening day of the 2008–09 season against Scunthorpe United.[3]

The Argentine went on to feature in over 200 games and scored over 80 goals at Leeds, achieving promotion from League One in 2010 and playing in the same team that knocked reigning English Champions Manchester United out of the FA Cup in January of the same year. Becchio became a firm fans' favourite at Elland Road. Becchio signed for Premier League club Norwich City as part of a swap deal for Welsh striker Steve Morison on 31 January 2013.[4]

Career[edit]

Early Life in Argentina[edit]

Becchio was born in Argentina's second-city of Córdoba located at the foothills of the Punilla Valley in the geographical centre of the country. As a child, he had a keen interest in tennis but football was his main passion; idolising legendary striker Gabriel Batistuta and following Buenos Aires-based Boca Juniors. In 2000 aged 16, he would make the 425 mile-move south to join the youth ranks at Los Xeneizes where he would be joined in his age group by the younger Carlos Tevez who would go on to achieve great success in European club football by winning Premier League titles with Manchester United and Manchester City. Life at Boca was a memorable experience for the teenager as he travelled to Europe to play in youth tournaments in Italy, Switzerland and Germany but it wouldn't be long before the opportunity to move to the continent on a permanent basis would arise.

Moving to Spain[edit]

Real Mallorca offered Becchio the chance to move to the La Liga side in 2003. With opportunities at Boca limited, he agreed to make the move to the Balearic Islands where he was joined by his parents and younger brother Mathias after selling their family restaurant business in Argentina to support their son in Europe. Mallorca coach Héctor Cúper placed Becchio in the 'B' team where he scored five times in twenty-nine appearances. In his second season at the club, he signed for Ciudad de Murcia on a loan deal.

After two years at Mallorca, Becchio moved to the Iberian Peninsula when he signed for Catalonian club Terrassa FC where he spent the 2005/2006 season before moving fifteen miles across the region to sign for reigning UEFA Champions League winners FC Barcelona. Becchio admitted that he would never have a chance of featuring for the first team but relished the opportunity to train with world class footballers such as Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi, whilst in the 'B' team he would compete with notable young prodigies including Bojan Krkić and Giovani dos Santos for a starting position.[5] A year later, he would be on the move again; heading south-west to join Segunda División B team Mérida UD.

During the 2007/2008 campaign, Becchio finally found regular football with Los Romanos and repaid the faith shown in him by topping the division top scorer charts with twenty-two goals for the season, including a final day hat-trick versus CD Baza.[6] Mérida finished fourth and qualified for the division play-offs versus Ponferradina but lost on aggregate over two legs.[7] Becchio's performances during the campaign didn't go unnoticed however, as he became the most saleable asset for the debt-stricken club after being monitored by scouts from across Europe.[8]

Leeds United[edit]

2008–09 season[edit]

In July 2008, he joined League One side Leeds United on trial aiming to impress manager Gary McAllister in pre-season friendlies against Shelbourne and Barnet.[9] He was recommended to Leeds scout Gwyn Williams by former Spanish Newcastle defender Marcelino.[10] On 31 July, he signed for Leeds on a three-year contract.[11] He made his first start for Leeds in their 5–2 win over Chester City in the first round of the League Cup.[12] He was given his first league start against Yeovil Town in a 1–1 draw; in which it took him just 25 seconds to score his first Leeds goal.[13] He scored his second goal for the club in his first start at Elland Road in a 4–0 victory over Crystal Palace in the League Cup.[14] The following week, he came off the bench to head home his third Leeds goal in the 2–1 win over local rivals Bradford City in the Football League Trophy.[15]

During the 2008–09 season, Becchio only missed one match in all competitions, which was due to suspension.[citation needed] In a sequence of appearances which saw him start 24 consecutive matches – including the entire busy Christmas period and while deputising for the injured Jermaine Beckford – he scored nine goals.[citation needed] With the loan signing of Lee Trundle from Bristol City, and the January transfer window signing of Mike Grella, manager Simon Grayson publicly stated that Becchio would be given a short resting period so that he would be ready for the vital last few months of the season,[16] although that never materialised as Becchio was insistent on retaining his place in the team.[citation needed] Grayson frequently referred to Becchio as Lazarus due to various points in the season where he would be injured but would make a remarkable recovery to be fit and ready for the next match.[citation needed] In the final game of the season he scored his 18th goal of the season in all competitions, which in turn contributed to the relegation of Northampton Town.[17] His 19th of the season came against Millwall in the League One play-off semi-final, in which he rounded off a fine team move started by Ben Parker, with Beckford and Andy Robinson also playing vital roles.[18] He scored 19 goals in his début season in English football at Leeds.[citation needed]

2009–10 season[edit]

Becchio scored his first goal of the 2009–10 season in the 1–0 league win against Wycombe Wanderers.[19] He had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside in the League Cup tie against Liverpool; replays showed that he was onside as Beckford flicked on Ľubomír Michalík's headed pass.[20] He missed the game against Milton Keynes Dons as his wife was due to give birth.[21] Becchio and his wife welcomed their first daughter named Bianca who was born on 27 September 2009 at the Leeds General Infirmary. He picked up a serious ankle injury in the game against Charlton Athletic, when he stepped on the ball whilst controlling it from a high pass, and had to be substituted.[22] Radio Leeds believed Becchio might have broken his ankle, although the club were waiting to have a second scan on his ankle after the swelling went down. The scan showed that he had suffered ligament damage to his ankle, according to Leeds assistant manager Ian Miller. Becchio did not play for the Leeds first team again until late November. In his absence Leeds signed Welsh International striker Sam Vokes on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers until 2 January 2010 as cover.[23]

On 25 November 2009, Becchio returned from injury and played in Leeds' reserve team game against Lincoln City, to help boost his match fitness.[24] Becchio scored a goal in a 2–1 victory and also managed to get a full 90 minutes under his belt. He returned for the first team as a substitute in the FA Cup second round draw with Kettering Town. Two days later, he came on as a substitute against Oldham Athletic and scored his first goal since his long layoff, this his third of the season. He returned to Leeds' starting lineup in the league at the expense of Sam Vokes against Brentford. His fifth goal of the season was a header against Hartlepool United on boxing day, which took a heavy deflection.[25]

Becchio played against Premier League team Manchester United when Leeds won 1–0 away at Old Trafford on 3 January 2010 in the FA Cup third round, but he picked up an injury and was substituted in stoppage time.[26] Becchio struggled for goals for Leeds since returning from injury, with him being asked to play in more of a deeper strikers role to hold the ball up for the midfield. Against Tottenham Hotspur Becchio was dropped to the bench and replaced up front by Robert Snodgrass, although he later came on in the second half after replacing midfielder Michael Doyle as Leeds earned a replay against the Premier League side. Becchio's sixth goal of the season for Leeds came in the FA Cup replay against Tottenham, after Beckford's shot was parried by Heurelho Gomes and it fell into the path of Becchio who slotted it into the back of the net.[27] Goals number seven and eight for Becchio came in the following game against Hartlepool. This was the first double he scored in a competitive match for Leeds.

Becchio disputably scored his ninth goal of the season with an injury time equaliser coming against Leyton Orient when his goal-bound shot was deflected in by Orient defender Charlie Daniels; the goal was credited to Daniels but Becchio said he felt the goal should be his as his shot was goal-bound. Becchio scored another two goals against Oldham, taking his tally to 10 goals for the season. He continued his fine goal scoring form when he scored his 11th goal of the season in the Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town, with the game finishing 2–2.[28] Goal number 12 of the season came against Tranmere Rovers, with Becchio scoring with a diving header.

Becchio was substituted early on in the first half against Norwich City after being knocked unconscious after a clash of heads with Michael Nelson.[29] Becchio's head also landed heavily on the ground which caused him to swallow his tongue. He was substituted by Mike Grella and due to the injury was ruled out against Swindon Town.

Becchio returned from injury for Leeds when he was named on the bench against Southend United and managed to score his 13th goal of the season in the 83rd minute after he replaced Beckford as a substitute in Leeds' 2–0 win. Goals number 14 and 15 came when Becchio scored a brace against Carlisle United. Becchio scored his 16th of the season with a goal against Gillingham in Leeds 3–2 defeat. Becchio's 17th goal came against MK Dons in Leeds' 4–1 win. Becchio played an instrumental part as Leeds were promoted to the Football League Championship after finishing in 2nd place in League One and thus earning automatic promotion.[30]

2010–11 season[edit]

Becchio started the opening game and scored Leeds' 1st goal of the Championship season against Derby County and slotted in an equaliser after a run by Jonny Howson, however Leeds lost 2–1.[31] Becchio's second goal of the season came in Leeds' second match of the season in the League Cup against Lincoln City. Becchio scored his 3rd goal of the season in the match against Swansea City. Despite being dropped for the game against Doncaster, he returned to the side in the yorkshire derby vs Sheffield United as Leeds ran out 1–0 winners.[32] Becchio scored his 4th goal of the season against Preston North End.[33] Becchio scored his 5th goal of the season with a fine left footed volley and received the man of the match award against Middlesbrough. In the post match on-the-pitch interview with Sky Sports he also famously swore live on air stating that it was a "fucking unbelievable win!"[34]

His sixth goal of the season came in the following game in the 2–1 loss against Leicester City.[35] In November 2010 Becchio entered contract negotiations with Leeds over extending his contract.[36] In the game against Hull City Becchio suffered a black eye after being elbowed by Ian Ashbee[37] Becchio scored his 7th, 8th & 9th goals of the season with a 17 minute hatrick against Bristol City after coming on as a second-half substitute[38] Becchio was praised by manager Simon Grayson after his thrilling quick fire hat-trick vs Bristol City, Grayson said that it was a great performance by Becchio and he is still young and can only get better. Becchio revealed that he was looking to sign a new contract at Leeds.

On 3 December 2010, Becchio won The Championship PFA Player of the month Award for November beating off competition from Adel Taarabt, Lewis McGugan, Scott Sinclair and Jay Bothroyd for the award.[39] Becchio scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season when he scored a brace against Crystal Palace from 1–0 down.[40][41] Leeds confirmed that contract talks with Becchio were ongoing and had only been delayed due to translation issues.[42] Becchio scored his 12th goal of the season against Burnley.[43]

On 18 December 2010, after the 2–0 home win against Queens Park Rangers which took Leeds to second place in the Championship, Becchio signed a new three and a half year contract with Leeds. "I'm very happy to sign," he told the club's official website. "I love the fans, we are doing well and we want to get to the Premier League."[44][45] 1 January 2011, Becchio scored his 13th goal of the season with an injury time equaliser against Middlesbrough.[46]

On 8 January, Becchio helped earn Leeds a 1–1 draw against Arsenal, Leeds went 1–0 up when Robert Snodgrass scored a second half penalty, Arsenal equalised in the 90th minute when Cesc Fàbregas scored a penalty.[47] However, on 18 January, Becchio was injured and missed the second leg which Arsenal went on to win 3–1. Becchio returned to Leeds' starting lineup against Portsmouth and scored his 14th goal of the season, the goal also reached his 50th goal milestone for Leeds in all competitions.[48] Becchio scored his 15th goal of the season against Norwich City.[49] His 16th goal of the season came against Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, the game marked his 100th league start for Leeds.[50] Becchio's 17th goal of the season came in the 5–2 win against Doncaster Rovers.[51] On 2 April, Becchio bagged his 18th of the season in the 4–1 mauling of Nottingham Forest, Unfortunately, he was a ghost when Forest lashed 7 past Leeds United on their own turf.[52] and his 19th at the New Den against Millwall a week later. Becchio scored his 20th goal of the season against Watford in a 2–2 draw, however Becchio picked up an injury in the same game which caused him to miss all the remaining games left in the season.[53] During the summer Becchio was linked with a £3 million pound move to Swansea City.[54] After doing some rehab on his hamstring injury in Spain, Becchio returned to light training for Leeds in time for the start of pre season training.[55]

2011–12 season[edit]

However, Becchio injured his hamstring again before a pre-season tour of Scotland. On 22 July, Becchio had surgery on his hamstring injury. The injury would rule Becchio out for a few months and meant he would miss the start of the 2011–12 season.[56] After five months out injured Becchio returned to Leeds' first team when he was named on the bench against Crystal Palace on 10 September, he came on as a second-half substitute and scored his first goal of the season with a header in Leeds' 3–2 victory, the goal also marked Becchio's 50th 'League goal' milestone for the club.[57] Becchio came on as a substitute against Bristol City on 1h September providing the assist for Ross McCormack's winning goal.[58]

Becchio made his first start of the season on 20 September, coming into the side against fierce rivals Manchester United.[59] After being used as a substitute due to the form of Andy Keogh and Ross McCormack. On 22 October 2011, Becchio thought he had scored a dramatic late winner against Peterborough United in a 3–2 win, however teammate Darren O'Dea was credited with the goal.[60] After getting a rare start Becchio scored his second goal of the season on 29 November in Leeds' emphatic 4–0 win against Nottingham Forest.[61]

During December, Becchio was linked with a move to fellow Championship side Middlesbrough.[62] However, Leeds Chairman Ken Bates revealed he wouldn't sell Becchio to one of the clubs closest rivals in the same league.[63] Becchio's third goal of the season came as a consolation in Leeds' 4–1 loss against Barnsley on 31 December 2011.[64]

Becchio finished the 2011–12 season with his lowest goal tally for Leeds with just 11 league goals, however this was largely down to a hamstring injury suffered towards the end of the 2010–11 of the season, causing him to miss the following pre-season training and the first part of the subsequent season. On 4 May, Neil Warnock stated his belief that Becchio would come back a stronger player for the 2012–13 season and recapture his prior form with a full pre-season behind him.[65]

2012–13 season[edit]

Becchio scored his first goal of the season in the first game of the season against Shrewsbury Town in the League Cup on 11 August.[66] Becchio scored his second goal of the season and his first in the league by scoring the winner in Leeds opening day victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers.[67] Becchio scored his seventh goal of the season on 22 September against Nottingham Forest.[68] Becchio scored his 10th goal of the season on 30 October in Leeds' 3–0 League Cup win against Premier League side Southampton to help Leeds advance to the Quarter Finals of the competition.[69]

Becchio scored a brace against local rivals Huddersfield Town to help earn Leeds a 4–2 victory on 1 December. The goals were his 13th and 14th of the season.[70] Becchio scored his 15th goal of the season against Premier League side Chelsea in the League Cup tie on 19 December 2012.[71] On 22 December Becchio scored his 16th and 17th goal against Middlesbrough helping Leeds win 2–1.[72]

On 1 January, Becchio scored his 76th Leeds United league goal, which makes him Leeds' 10th All-Time Goalscorer in the league, overtaking Arthur Hydes.

On 24 January 2013, Leeds announced that Becchio had handed in a transfer request after talks of a new deal broke down. A Leeds statement said Becchio was already the club's highest earner and his wage demands "were beyond a level we could support".[73] On 30 January 2013, Becchio was revealed to be in talks to join Norwich City as part of a swap deal for Norwich's Welsh international striker Steve Morison who was in talks to move to Leeds United.[74] Norwich manager Chris Hughton confirmed that he was hoping to complete a deal to sign Becchio as part of a swap deal for Steve Morison.[75] Becchio scored 19 goals for Leeds in the 2012/13 season for Leeds before departing the club.

In total Becchio scored 87 goals in 221 appearances for Leeds in all competitions.

Norwich City[edit]

On Transfer deadline day 31 January 2013, Norwich confirmed the signing of Becchio on their website on a 3 and half year deal in a swap for striker Steve Morison,[76] making their second incoming transfer of the January window. He was handed shirt number 19. He made his début away at QPR on 2 February 2013, coming on in the 87th minute as a substitute. He would subsequently make his first start the following match at home against Fulham on 9 February, playing the majority of the match but not scoring.

Rotherham United[edit]

On 1 September 2014, Luciano sign for Rotherham United on loan until 1 January 2015.[77]

Personal life[edit]

Luciano is married to Patricia Bosquet with whom he has three children. Their first born is daughter, Bianca, who was born in September 2009 at Leeds General Infirmary.[78]

Becchio's boyhood hero was former Boca Juniors, Fiorentina and AS Roma striker Gabriel Batistuta.[79]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Mérida UD
Leeds United

Individual[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 19 May 2013[80][A]
England
Season Club Division League FA Cup League Cup FL Trophy Play-Offs Total Discipline
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals A yellow card A red card
2012–13 Norwich City Premier League 8 0 0 0 0 0 8 0 0 0
Norwich City Total 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 0 0 0
2012–13 Leeds United Championship 26 16 1 1 4 3 31 20 4 0
2011–12 Championship 41 11 1 0 1 0 43 11 5 0
2010–11 Championship 41 19 1 0 2 1 44 20 5 0
2009–10 League One 37 15 5 2 3 0 2 0 47 17 5 0
2008–09 League One 45 15 3 0 4 2 2 1 2 1 56 19 7 0
Leeds United Total 190 76 11 3 14 6 4 1 2 1 221 87 26 0
Career Total 195 76 11 3 14 6 4 1 2 1 226 87 26 0

Notes[edit]

A. ^ Soccerbase's stats includes Becchio's goal versus Millwall in the Play-Off game in May 2009 as a 'league' goal. However, it does not include his goal in the league game versus Brighton and Hove Albion in November 2012 and instead credits Michael Brown with it. The goal has been officially awarded to Becchio and therefore Soccerbase's stated league total for the Argentinian is accurate per se.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]