||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)|
|Date of birth||28 February 1987|
|Place of birth||Rome, Italy|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|2008–2010||→ Livorno (loan)||52||(2)|
|2010||→ Juventus (loan)||16||(2)|
|2010–2011||→ Parma (loan)||31||(3)|
|2011–2012||→ Cesena (loan)||18||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 31 May 2015.
Antonio Candreva (Italian pronunciation: [anˈtɔnjo kanˈdrɛva]; born 28 February 1987) is an Italian footballer who currently plays for Serie A club Lazio and the Italian national team as a midfielder, usually as a winger.
Nicknamed Il Timido ("The shy one") for his cautious style of play, Candreva started playing for the youth teams at local club Lodigiani, then transferred to Serie C1 team Ternana in 2003 and played several games for the first team when they were promoted to Serie B for the 2004–05 season. After Ternana were relegated back to Serie C1 the following season, he became a regular in the side and attracted the interest of several Serie A clubs.
In June 2007, Candreva was then signed by Serie A club Udinese and played for their Primavera (U-20) team as overage player. He made his Serie A debut on 27 January 2008 and managed several appearances for the first team.
Loan to Livorno and Juventus
The 21-year-old was successively loaned out to Serie B outfit Livorno for the 2008–09 season. Together with Alessandro Diamanti, he helped the Tuscan side regain promotion to Serie A as playoff winners. After a successful first season, the loan deal between Udinese and Livorno was subsequently extended to one more year, thus giving Candreva the opportunity to play a full season as a regular in the Italian top flight.
On 20 January 2010, it was confirmed Serie A giants Juventus had signed Candreva on loan for the rest of the season, for €500,000, with Juventus having an option to buy half of his contract from Udinese at the end of the season. He was initially signed as a back-up, filling in whenever Claudio Marchisio was injured or suspended and struggled in the wide midfield role. After Alberto Zaccheroni made several tactical changes, the youngster adapted well to the new formation and scored his first Serie A goal, the winner against Bologna less than ten minutes after on as a substitute for Diego. A few days later, he made his debut in European competition in the Europa League round of 32 second leg against Ajax when he came on as a late substitute for captain Alessandro Del Piero.
After the end of the 2009–10 season, Juventus opted not to exercise their right to sign the player permanently and Candreva returned to Udinese in the summer.
On 31 August 2010, Candreva signed for Serie A side Parma on a one-year loan deal, for €500,000. Parma had the option to purchase Candreva in a co-ownership deal, but declined to do so. Candreva had endured a difficult season in which he failed to live up to expectations.[according to whom?]
In the last day of the January 2012 transfer season he moved to Lazio on a free loan deal, in return Simone Del Nero from Lazio went for a free loan in Cesena. Candreva scored his first goal for Lazio against Napoli in the 2011–2012 season where he was finally praised by the Lazio supporters after an indifferent start.
With the hiring of Lazio's new coach Vladimir Petković in the 2012–13 season, Candreva has finally won over fans and coaching staff continuously being one of Lazio's best performers. On 2 September 2012, Candreva scored his first goal for Lazio in the 2012–2013 season when Lazio defeated Palermo in a 3–0 victory following Miroslav Klose's 2 goals.
On 26 May he wins his first trophy, the Coppa Italia, in a historic derby against city rivals of Rome for 1–0.
In June 2013 Lazio excised the option to buy Candreva in co-ownership deal for €1.7 million in 4-year contract. In October 2013, Candreva added one more year to his current contract. on 14 June 2014 Lazio bought Candreva outright for another €4 million, made Lazio had paid Udinese €5.7 million in total.
Candreva has played for Italy since the U-18 level, making his debut in October 2004. After taking part in the 2008 Toulon Tournament, he was named in reserve list for the upcoming Olympics. Candreva was eventually called up as an injury replacement for Tommaso Rocchi. He made his U-21 debut on 9 September 2008 in the 2009 European Championship qualifier against Croatia. In May, he was called up to the 23-man squad for 2009 European Championships as second choice and made several substitute appearances.
In early May, Candreva was called up for the training camp prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and included in the 30-man preliminary squad announced on 11 May 2010 but was dropped a week later.
In October 2012, Antonio Candreva was recalled by Cesare Prandelli to play in a double fixture for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification. Candreva earned a spot in the national team after his top performances for Lazio playing in both qualifiers.
In June 2013, Candreva was selected by Prandelli to play in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. In the knockout stages of the tournament knockout stage, during the semi-final against Spain national football team the match had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out. Candreva stepped up to take the first penalty and scored past Iker Casillas by chipping the ball, in a way that recalled the famous penalty scored by Czech legend Antonín Panenka in the UEFA Euro 1976 Final.
On 1 June 2014, Candreva was selected in Italy's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In Italy's opening match of the tournament, he assisted Mario Balotelli's winning goal in a 2–1 defeat of England on 14 June.
On 16 November 2014, he scored his first goal in a 1–1 Euro 2016 qualifier draw against Croatia. On 12 June 2015, he scored Italy's equalising goal from a penalty, Panenka style in the 36th minute of a 1-1 Euro 2016 qualifier away draw against Croatia in an empty Split stadium.
- Score and result list Italy's goal tally first.
- As of 12 June 2015
|1.||16 November 2014||San Siro, Milan||Croatia||1–0||1–1||Euro 2016 qualifier|||
|2.||12 June 2015||Stadion Poljud, Split||Croatia||1–1||1–1||Euro 2016 qualifier|||
Style of play
Candreva can be deployed in several midfield positions due to his tactical versatility, although he usually plays in a central role as an attacking midfielder or as a winger on the right side of the pitch; he is also capable of playing on the left. A dynamic and well-rounded player, he is well known for his pace, stamina, and work-rate, as well as his eye for goal; he possesses a powerful, accurate long-range shot, and is an accurate set-piece and penalty kick taker. He is also gifted with vision and creativity, as well as precise passing and crossing ability, which enable him to provide assists for team-mates. In addition to these attributes, he also has good technical ability, ball control and dribbling skills.
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- Parma FC SpA Report and Accounts on 30 June 2011 (Italian)
- AC Cesena SpA Report and Accounts on 30 June 2012 (Italian)
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- "Nazionale in Cifre: Candreva, Antonio" (in Italian). FIGC. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
- "Candreva sprizza umiltà: "Da fantasista è un'altra vita. Ma Diamanti manca molto..."". Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Candreva, juventino romano "Se sabato segno, esulto"". Retrieved 14 October 2014.