Vince Grella

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Vince Grella
Vince Grella (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Full name Vincenzo Grella
Date of birth (1979-10-05) 5 October 1979 (age 35)
Place of birth Dandenong, Melbourne, Australia
Height 1.82 m (5 ft 11 12 in)[1]
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Youth career
1996–1997 AIS
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1996 Springvale City 16 (0)
1996–1997 Canberra Cosmos 14 (1)
1997–1998 Carlton 23 (1)
1998–2004 Empoli 60 (1)
1999–2001 Ternana (loan) 27 (0)
2004–2007 Parma 92 (2)
2007–2008 Torino 28 (1)
2008–2012 Blackburn Rovers 38 (0)
2012–2013 Melbourne Heart 1 (0)
Total 299 (6)
National team
1996–1999 Australia U-20 11 (0)
1996–2000 Australia U-23 17 (0)
2003–2010 Australia 46 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 28 January 2013.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:00, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Vincenzo "Vince" Grella (born 5 October 1979) is an Australian former footballer who played as a midfielder. Grella began his senior career in Australia before moving to Italy, where he spent over ten years, playing for Empoli, Ternana, Parma and Torino. He moved to Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League in 2008 where he spent four seasons, before returning to Australia in 2012 to play for Melbourne Heart.

He retired from professional football in January 2013, after a long-standing struggle with injuries. Grella represented the Australian national team on 46 occasions, and played at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. His 2010 FIFA World Cup profile describes him as a possessing the "ability to mop up loose balls and halt opposition counter-attacks." [2]

Club career[edit]

Italy[edit]

He had a ten-year stint in Italy's professional leagues after beginning his career in the NSL. He has been a regular for Australia since 2003, playing in his customary defensive midfield position, and was involved in both the 2006 World Cup and the 2007 Asian Cup. Grella's friendship with Australian teammate Mark Bresciano is well known. Grella has described Bresciano as "even more than a brother"; they played together at the AIS, Carlton and Empoli, and were reunited in 2004 when Grella joined Parma, before Bresciano moved on to Palermo in 2006.[3] Aged 19, Grella made his debut in Serie A with Empoli, in a match against Juventus at the Stadio delle Alpi, where his first job was to mark Zinedine Zidane.[4] (Empoli held Juventus to a 0–0 draw).[5] Grella built up his reputation in Italy during his time with Empoli, to overcome initial doubts about his suitability to Serie A and earn the respect of the Italian media, coaches and fellow players.[6] Grella was widely linked with a move to AC Milan in 2003, although the proposed transfer never eventuated, and he moved to Parma a year later.[6][7] While at Parma, both Grella and Bresciano were excused from the 2005 Confederations Cup by the then-Australian manager Frank Farina to allow the pair to take part in a relegation playoff between Parma and Bologna–which Parma won, to avoid relegation.

Grella was named as captain of Parma for the 2006–07 season, and played a key role helping the team avoid relegation from Serie A for a second consecutive season.[8] On 20 June 2007, Grella signed a three-year contract with Torino,[9] one of several new signings made by The Bull.[8] The move to Torino was a free transfer due to the expiry of his contract with Parma.[10][11] During his one season in Turin, he was a regular member of the side, although his season was interrupted by injury on several occasions. He scored one league goal for Torino, a powerful volley from the edge of the penalty area, which cannoned in off the far post to draw level with Fiorentina. The goal was a candidate for goal of the month for January in Serie A.[12] It was only the sixth league-goal of his career.

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

On 26 August 2008, Grella joined English then Premier League outfit Blackburn Rovers on a four-year deal,[13] for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be around £4m[14] (with the initial fee later revealed as 4.2m),[15] having previously been linked to fellow Premiership club Fulham.[16] He joined fellow Australian Brett Emerton at the club. He made his first appearance for the club in a 4–1 loss to West Ham United at Upton Park, where he played the first 45 minutes, picking up a yellow card and providing an assist with a header for the only Blackburn goal, before being subsitituted at half-time for Keith Andrews. A calf injury kept him out of the side for a month following his debut, and he returned to the side in a 1–1 draw with Middlesbrough at Ewood Park, playing the full game in the centre of midfield. This was his home debut, and he was later named man-of-the-match for his performance.[17]

The following 3 years he spent at the club were a frustrating time for Grella, and Blackburn Rovers fans, with injuries disrupting his stay at Rovers. A succession of knee, groin and calf problems would ultimately rule him out for vast majority of his contract. After the 2010–11 season, Blackburn Rovers revealed their desire to transfer Grella.[18] However, with his history of injuries, no offers were made, and he left Blackburn Rovers upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the 2011/12 Barclays Premier League season, a season in which he only made 2 appearances.[19] Over the last 2 years of his contract, Grella was only able to make a total of 9 appearances due to injuries.

Melbourne Heart[edit]

On 16 October 2012, he signed with Australian A-League club Melbourne Heart on a one-year deal.[20] Previously, Grella stated he announced his intention to return to Italy next season, rather go back to his home country.[21] But in the unexpected event, Grella says former national team-mate and now manager of Melbourne Heart, John Aloisi convinced Grella to play football in Australia.[22] Two months after the move, continuously having injuries, Aloisi revealed he's making a comeback from injury and just returned to training.[23]

Vince Grella made his A-League debut for the Melbourne Heart on Australia Day, 26 January 2013 against the Western Sydney Wanderers at the Parramatta Stadium as a 68th minute replacement for Jonatan Germano.[24] He officially announced his retirement two days later due to a torn calf that he picked up in his one match for Melbourne Heart.[25] In an interview with the Australian FourFourTwo Magazine, Grella spoke out his retirement and said:[26]

International career[edit]

Grella was a regular member of the Socceroos; he represented the Australian Under-23s at the 2000 Summer Olympics and received his first senior cap when he came on as a second-half substitute in the international friendly against England in 2003, which Australia won 3–1 at West Ham's Upton Park stadium. In November 2005, Grella played in both legs of the World Cup play-off against Uruguay, where Australia qualified for the 2006 World Cup for the first time in 32 years. At the World Cup, Grella's displays in the heart of Australia's midfield saw him named in a preliminary squad for FIFA's team of the tournament, the only Australian to make this list.[27]

On 13 November 2006, Grella was selected as captain for an international friendly in London against Ghana, making him the 51st player to captain the Australia football team. On 21 July 2007 in Hanoi, Vietnam, Grella was sent off in the 76th minute of Australia's 2007 Asian Cup quarter-final against Japan. Leaping for a header, Grella's forearm connected with Naohiro Takahara's head, who had come from behind Grella, sending the latter to the ground. The game was 1–1 at the time and remained that way until the end of extra time, with Japan eliminating Australia from the tournament in a penalty shoot-out. He has currently amassed 46 caps for Australia since making his debut back in February 2003.[28]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 21 August 2011.
Club Season Division League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists
Canberra Cosmos 1996–97 NSL 14 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 1 0
Carlton 1997–98 NSL 23 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 23 1 0
NSL total 37 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 37 2 0
Empoli 1998–99 Serie A 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Ternana (loan) 1999-00 Serie B 8 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0
2000–01 Serie B 19 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 21 0 3
Ternana total 27 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 30 0 3
Empoli 2001–02 Serie A 3 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 0
2002–03 Serie A 32 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 35 1 2
2003–04 Serie A 25 0 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 28 1 1
Empoli total 60 1 3 10 1 0 0 0 0 70 2 3
Parma 2004–05 Serie A 27 0 0 1 0 0 9 0 1 37 0 1
2005–06 Serie A 35 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 37 1 1
2006–07 Serie A 30 1 2 2 1 0 2 0 0 34 2 2
Parma total 92 2 3 5 1 0 11 0 0 108 3 3
Torino 2007–08 Serie A 28 1 1 4 0 2 0 0 0 32 1 3
Torino total 28 1 1 4 0 2 0 0 0 32 1 3
Blackburn Rovers 2008–09 Premier League 17 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 19 0 1
2009–10 Premier League 15 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0
2010–11 Premier League 5 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 0
2011–12 Premier League 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Blackburn total 38 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 0 45 0 1
Melbourne Heart 2012–13 A-League 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Career total 283 6 11 24 2 2 11 0 1 318 8 14

International[edit]

[29]

Australia national team
Year Apps Goals
2003 2 0
2004 8 0
2005 6 0
2006 9 0
2007 7 0
2008 4 0
2009 6 0
2010 4 0
Total 46 0

Personal life[edit]

Grella and his wife, Barbara, have twin daughters, Victoria and Sophia, born in 2002.[6] Grella first met Barbara while she was working in a shoe store in Empoli, Italy, which Grella frequently visited to buy shoes following their first meeting.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Player Profile". fifa.com. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  3. ^ The Brotherhood , The Age, 18 November 2005
  4. ^ Brown, C. Aussie hardman with touch of Italian class, The Independent, 12 Jun 2006
  5. ^ The Four Diegos... World Football Golden Soft Sombrero Moment with Vince Grella, The Four Diegos, Retrieved 29 October 2008
  6. ^ a b c Lynch, M. Grella's soccer dreams come true in Italy, TheAge.com.au, 13 February 2003.
  7. ^ "Serie A trio wrap up deals". Sky Sports. 31 August 2004. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  8. ^ a b FIFA Transfer activity gathers pace, FIFA.com, 22 June 2007
  9. ^ "Grella firma per il Torino" [Grella signs for Torino F.C.]. Official Torino F.C. website (in Italian). 20 June 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  10. ^ The Age, Socceroo Grella signs for Torino, The Age, 21 June 2007
  11. ^ "Torino grab Grella". Sky Sports. 20 June 2007. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Goal of the Month: January, FootballItaliano.tv, 4 February 2008
  13. ^ "Grella signs for Rovers". Blackburn Rovers Official Website. 27 August 2008. 
  14. ^ "Blackburn Rovers sign Vince Grella". Lancashire Telegraph. 26 August 2008. 
  15. ^ "Ince seeking bargain recruits". football.co.uk. 2 October 2008. 
  16. ^ Fulham target Grella Sky Sports News
  17. ^ "Rovers v Middlesbrough: Min-by-min". Blackburn Rovers F.C. 20??-??-??.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. ^ "A-League clubs alerted as Blackburn to offload Grella". tribalfootball. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  19. ^ "Blackburn Rovers trio on PFA transfer list". Lancashire Telegraph. 2 June 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  20. ^ "Grella Headed To Melbourne Heart". footballaustralia.com.au. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  21. ^ "Grella Set For Italian Switch". footballaustralia.com.au. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "Heart Puts Grella Back On The Football Map". footballaustralia.com.au. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "Aloisi: Grella will be 'involved soon'". footballaustralia.com.au. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  24. ^ "Ten-man Wanderers are Heart stoppers". footballaustralia.com.au. 26 January 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  25. ^ "Grella Hangs up Boots". footballaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  26. ^ a b "Vince Grella: Injury destroyed me". footballaustralia.com.au. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  27. ^ AAP World Cup's over, now for South Africa, TheAge.com.au, 30 June 2006.
  28. ^ "Penalty heartbreak for Roos". The World Game on SBS. 13 February 2008. 
  29. ^ Vince Grella at National-Football-Teams.com

External links[edit]