D'Alessandro in 2016
|Full name||Andrés Nicolás D'Alessandro|
|Date of birth||15 April 1981|
|Place of birth||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|2006||→ Portsmouth (loan)||13||(1)|
|2006–2007||→ Zaragoza (loan)||36||(2)|
|2016||→ River Plate (loan)||17||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 28 August 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 2 January 2012
D'Alessandro was born in the La Paternal section of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He joined the labor force as a pizza delivery boy before becoming a professional footballer. Known as El Cabezón ("The Big Headed") for how large his big head looks on his small frame rather than any ego connotations, he emerged through the River Plate youth system that has produced much of Argentina's top talent over the years. He followed the likes of Santiago Solari and Pablo Aimar through the ranks, together with Javier Saviola, with whom he shared the limelight in the 2001 Youth World Championship. With the River Plate senior team, he won the 2001–02 and 2002–03 Primera División titles.
Spell in Europe
D'Alessandro attracted attention from European clubs following his success and performances at the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship. He eventually transferred to Wolfsburg in July 2003 for a club record €9 million. On 21 September 2005, D'Alessandro scored the Bundesliga's 40,000th goal since its creation in 1963, netting the fourth goal in a 4–2 victory over Hannover 96.
On 31 January 2006, to the surprise of most fans, D'Alessandro joined English Premier League club Portsmouth on loan for the remainder of the season. His main objective with his new club was to blend in with new teammates and help his club to avoid relegation. On Easter Monday, 17 April, he scored his first goal in English football – a contender for goal of the season – in Portsmouth's 2–1 defeat away to Charlton Athletic.
Portsmouth survived and manager Harry Redknapp sought to sign D'Alessandro on a permanent basis. But he was attracting the attention of many European clubs with strong interest from the likes of Atlético Madrid and Benfica. On 17 June he ended the speculation regarding his career by completing a season-long loan switch to La Liga outfit Real Zaragoza, citing his desire to play in Spain as a major factor in his decision. On 6 June 2007, he signed a contract at Zaragoza, keeping him at the club until 2011.
Return to South America
In 2008, he joined his former River Plate manager Ramón Díaz at Argentine club San Lorenzo. However, after Díaz left the club, D'Alesandro opted to move to Brazil to play for Internacional. Playing for the former Copa Libertadores champions, he described as a "step forward" in his career.
On 13 December 2008 it was reported on ESPN Deportes that the Los Angeles Galaxy had made a $10 million offer to Internacional for D'Alesandro but was declined. Their vice president Fernando Carvalho was quoted; "The offer came from the Los Angeles Galaxy of the United States. I didn't even want to listen to the details. The offer was for more money than we paid for D'Alessandro, who arrived here for five million euro, but we want to keep the Argentinian." D'Alessandro has become one of Internacional's most idolized players of all time along the likes of Falcão, Valdomiro, and Fernandão. In 2008, he was part of Inter's Sulamericana Championship. In 2009 Internacional finished in second place in both the Brasileirão and Copa do Brasil. In 2010, D'Alessandro led Internacional to their second Libertadores Championship, and was elected the best player in South America for that year; in the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup, he also helped Internacional to a third-place finish, and was awarded the Bronze Ball as the tournament's third best player. In 2011 D'Alessadro had personally an even better year, but Internacional only managed to win the State Gaucho Championship. 2012 was a bad year for both Internacional and D'Alessandro. Furthermore, rumours of him leaving to play in China caused a major distraction; after long drawn out drama he stayed but soon was injured. In 2013 his game improved again, and while Inter only won the State Championship, he was praised as the only positive factor of the team that year. 2014 started well; D'Alessandro continued to play well and led Inter to their 4th straight Gaucho Championship.
On 3 February 2016, he returned to River Plate after 12 and a half years on a loan deal. He won his second Recopa Sudamericana and the Copa Argentina during his stay at the club.
D'Alessandro won the 2001 Under-20 World Championship with the Argentine youth side, held in Buenos Aires; due to his performances alongside his club teammate Javier Saviola, he was awarded the Silver Ball as the tournament's second best player. D'Alessandro had originally started the tournament as a substitute, but injuries in the team allowed him a place in the team during the later games. Argentina won the title after beating Ghana 3–0 in the final. He has represented Argentina's senior side on 28 occasions, scoring 4 times between 2001–2011. He also represented Argentina's under-23 side at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where Argentina won a gold medal.
D'Alessandro also took part in the 2004 Copa América with Argentina. He scored his only goal of the tournament in the group stage, in Argentina's 6–1 victory over Ecuador In the final, against rivals Brazil, he missed Argentina's first penalty in the resulting shootout, following a 2–2 draw after extra time; Argentina were defeated 4–2 in the shootout.
Style of play
A talented attacking midfielder, D'Alessandro is best known for his dribbling ability, creativity, and technical skill, and is capable beating players with body feints and tricks, such as the dragback (boba), nutmeg, or the Blomqvist shuffle; he is also an accurate free-kick taker. D'Alessandro is also known for his short passing ability, which makes him a capable assist provider.
In 2001, he was named one of the 100 best young footballers in the world by Don Balón, and he was also labelled one of Maradona's potential heirs by the media and by Maradona himself; despite his precocious talent however, he was not able to fully fulfill the potential he demonstrated in his youth.
- As of 6 June 2015
|Portsmouth F. C.||2005–06||13||1||—||—||—||13||1|
|Argentina national team|
*Stats as of 17 February 2011
- Argentine Primera División (3): 2000 Clausura, 2002 Clausura, 2003 Clausura
- Recopa Sudamericana (1): 2016
- Copa Argentina (1): 2015–16
- Copa Sudamericana (1): 2008
- Campeonato Gaúcho (6): 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- Copa Libertadores (1): 2010
- Recopa Sudamericana (1): 2011
- South American Team of the Year: 2001, 2002, 2008, 2010
- 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship – Silver Ball
- 2010 FIFA Club World Cup – Bronze Ball
- South American Footballer of the Year: 2010
- EFE Brazil Trophy: 2013
- Page 12 of News of the World sport section; 9 April 2006.
- Brega, Giordano (9 February 2008). "Si affloscia la "boba" di Andres D'Alessandro. Il cabezon torna in Argentina" [The "boba" of Andres D'Alessandro comes to an end. El cabezón returns to Argentina] (in Italian). Affari Italiani. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "Player Profile: Andres D´Alessandro". Southamericanfutbol.com. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- "Wolfsburg snap up D'Alessandro". UEFA.com. 12 June 2003. Archived from the original on 28 May 2009.
- "Portsmouth snap up d'Alessandro". BBC Sport. 31 January 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- "Charlton 2–1 Portsmouth". BBC. 17 April 2006. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- "D'Alessandro Pens Four-Year Inter Deal". Goal.com. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- "Internacional turn down Galaxy D'Alessandro bid". ESPN Soccernet. 14 December 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- Rinaldi, Cesare (31 December 2010). "Calcio Sudamericano: Andres D'Alessandro è il Balon de Oro 2010". calcioblog.it. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "Andres D ALESSANDRO". FIFA. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "Saviola blows Ecuador away". The Guardian. 8 July 2004. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- "Brazil win Copa shoot-out". BBC News. 25 July 2004. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- O'Connor, Michael (26 July 2004). "Brazil snatch cup in late twist". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Brega, Giordano (9 February 2008). "Si affloscia la "boba" di Andres D'Alessandro. Il cabezon torna in Argentina" [The "boba" of Andres D'Alessandro comes to an end. El cabezon returns to Argentina]. affaritaliani.it (in Italian). Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- Dotto, Matteo (7 February 2006). "D' Alessandro, la maledizione del mancato Maradona" [D'Alessandro, the curse of the unfulfilled New Maradona]. archiviostorico.corriere.it (in Italian). Il Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "Don Balon's list of the 100 best young players in the world". thespoiler.co.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "D'Alessandro, Andrés". National Football Teams. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- "South American Team of the Year". 16 January 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2015.