Criscito with Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2015
|Full name||Domenico Criscito|
|Date of birth||30 December 1986|
|Place of birth||Cercola, Italy|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Left-back, Centre-back|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg|
|2011–||Zenit Saint Petersburg||116||(10)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 3 December 2016.
Domenico "Mimmo" Criscito (Italian pronunciation: [doˈmeniko ˈmimmo ˈkriʃʃito]; born 30 December 1986) is an Italian footballer who plays as a left-back for Russian Premier League club Zenit Saint Petersburg. Prior to joining Zenit, Criscito played for Italian clubs Genoa and Juventus. A full international since 2009, he represented the Italian national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. A versatile player, Criscito is effective both offensively and defensively, and is also capable of playing as a wing-back, or as a central defender, a position which he often occupied in his early career.
A native of southern Italy, Criscito moved up north at age 13 to pursue his football career. He started his professional career at Genoa, for whom he made his debut in Serie B in June 2003 at the age of 16. In the summer of 2004, Genoa sold 50% of Criscito and Francesco Volpe contracts to Juventus for €1.9 million, with 50% contract of Antonio Nocerino was sold to Genoa for €450,000.
Criscito played for Juventus's Primavera team alongside Italy U-21 teammates Claudio Marchisio, Paolo De Ceglie and Sebastian Giovinco, and together they won the 2006 Campionato Primavera. In the 2006–07 season, he returned to Genoa and established himself as one of the top young defenders in Serie B. In January, Juventus bought the remaining 50% of his contract for a combined price of €7.5 million. This was paid by the co-ownership of Masiello and Konko to Genoa, and €5.25 million. He also signed a new contract with Juventus that would last until 30 June 2011.
Criscito made his Serie A debut for Juventus on 25 August 2007, in Juve's comeback game in Serie A versus Livorno, a crushing 5–1 victory. However, he endured a difficult time at the Turin club. He was deemed "too soft" to be a centre-back after Francesco Totti scored twice in six minutes in the September game, a 2–2 draw, against Roma from his side of the pitch. Criscito was substituted at half-time. After that, he found himself behind Nicola Legrottaglie and Giorgio Chiellini in the pecking order due to their outstanding form.
Return to Genoa
Not content to remain on the bench, Criscito opted to return to Genoa on loan in the opening days of the winter transfer window. In the summer of 2008, he was sent on loan to Genoa again for €1 million with the Ligurian club having the option to purchase half of his contract for €5.5 million. In February 2009, he scored his first goal since returning to Genoa, the winner against Palermo. His co-ownership agreement was renewed for the 2009–10 season. He was very impressive after re-joining Genoa, who were back in Serie A by then, and he retained a place in the starting line-up as Gian Piero Gasperini's first choice left-back. However, he did not rule out a return to Juventus after being linked to a permanent return to replace Fabio Grosso. In September against Napoli, Criscito was shown a straight red card for allegedly swearing at the referee after being penalized for a foul on Christian Maggio, but Gasperini later defended the 23-year-old saying that he was angry at himself, not the referee. The appeal to rescind the red card was turned down, but his ban was reduced to 2–3 matchdays.
On 25 June 2010, Juventus announced that the Criscito's remaining 50% registration rights were sold for another €6 million. However co-currently 50% registration rights of Leonardo Bonucci was signed from Genoa via Bari for €8 million.
On 27 June 2011, Criscito signed for Russian Premier League club Zenit for €11 million. He penned a 5-year contract with the club. He made his debut for the club on 6 August in a 2–0 away victory against CSKA Moscow, providing an assist for teammate Aleksandr Kerzhakov. He ended the season as a league champion, his first career silverware.
On 14 November 2006, Criscito made his debut for the Italy Under-21 squad in a match against the Czech Republic. He appeared in two European Under-21 Championships, in 2007 and 2009, reaching the semi-finals of the letter tournament. In 2008 he also represented Italy at the Summer Olympics.
On 12 August 2009, he made his senior national team debut in a friendly against Switzerland in Basel. After a promising season, he was named in Marcello Lippi's 23-man squad for the 2010 World Cup, where he was the starting left-back; Italy were eliminated in the first round of the tournament.
Criscito was named to Italy's Euro 2012 squad, but withdrew from the team after he came under investigation due to the Scommessopoli match fixing scandal. Manager Prandelli explained his withdrawing Criscito from the Italy squad for Euro and said "I am not taking Criscito because he would have been under pressure which no human being can bear, The other reason is that he could have been summoned by the prosecutor at any moment, before a match" Criscito went on to criticize the Italian FA for the decision to drop him despite the limited selection of left-backs. Several months later he was cleared of all charges.
Style of play
Criscito is a tactically versatile player, who is capable of being both an effective attacking and defensive threat as a full-back. He began his career as a left-footed centre-back, but he was moved to the position of left-back while playing for Genoa, where he was also employed as a wing-back or as a wide-midfielder on occasion under manager Gian Piero Gasperini in Genoa's 3–4–3 formation. Criscito has been described as a quick defender, with good technique, distribution, and man-marking ability.
- Russian Football Premier League (2): 2011–12, 2014–15.
- Russian Cup: 2015–16
- Russian Super Cup: 2015, 2016
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