Fabrizio Miccoli

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Fabrizio Miccoli
FabrizioMiccoli.jpg
Miccoli playing for Palermo in 2010
Personal information
Date of birth (1979-06-27) 27 June 1979 (age 38)
Place of birth Nardò, Italy
Height 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in) [1]
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1991–1995 Milan
1995–1996 Casarano
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–1998 Casarano 57 (19)
1998–2002 Ternana 120 (32)
2002–2004 Juventus 25 (8)
2002–2003 Perugia (loan) 34 (10)
2004–2005 Fiorentina 35 (11)
2005–2007 Juventus 0 (0)
2005–2007 Benfica (loan) 39 (14)
2007–2013 Palermo 165 (74)
2013–2015 Lecce 44 (17)
2015 Birkirkara 11 (6)
Total 530 (191)
National team
1996–1997 Italy U18 10 (5)
1998–2000 Italy U21 7 (2)
2003–2004 Italy 10 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Fabrizio Miccoli (Italian pronunciation: [faˈbrittsjo ˈmikkoli]; born on 27 June 1979) is a former Italian professional footballer who played as a striker.

He scored 103 goals in 259 matches in Serie A across nine seasons, representing Perugia, Juventus, Fiorentina and Palermo, also spending time on loan to Benfica in Portugal. He later spent two seasons with his hometown club Lecce in Lega Pro. He retired in 2015 after playing for Maltese club Birkirkara.

In a two-year international career, Miccoli scored twice in ten appearances for Italy.

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

After playing at youth level with Milan,[2] Miccoli returned to his native Puglia in 1995 to join Serie C1 team Casarano, where he made his professional debut at age 17. He then agreed for a move to Serie B side Ternana in 1998, where he scored a total 32 goals in 4 seasons, 15 of which in his final year at the club. His performances at Ternana had Miccoli dubbed the "new Del Piero" by many sections of the Italian media.[3]

Juventus, Perugia and Fiorentina[edit]

Following his impressive performances, Juventus showed interest in signing Miccoli, and ultimately acquired his transfer rights from Ternana in July 2002, then loaning him to minor Serie A side Perugia for the 2002–03 season.

Miccoli showed great qualities during his first season in the top flight, scoring great goals and showing excellent technical ability. He was dubbed "the Romário of the Salento", "the Maradona of the Salento" and "bomber tascabile" ("pocket bomber"), due to his small stature, pace and his technical ability. His efforts helped Perugia reach an UEFA Intertoto Cup spot. For his efforts, he received an Italy call-up during the season and Juventus recalled him back for the following season.

Miccoli played six UEFA Champions League matches for Juventus, scoring one goal. He also scored seven goals in Serie A for Juventus. However, after a fallout with Juve manager Fabio Capello, he did not receive much playing time, and the next season, half of Miccoli's registration rights was sold to newly promoted Fiorentina for 7 million.[4] Once in Florence, Miccoli showed his good qualities once again, helping Fiorentina to salvation on the last day of the season, scoring a goal to send Brescia to Serie B. At the end of the season, there was a blind auction between Fiorentina and Juventus to decide his ownership, and Juventus won it by a lump sum of approximately €6.7 million for three players (Miccoli (€2.39M), Enzo Maresca (€7,000) and Giorgio Chiellini (€4.3 million)).[5] Therefore, Miccoli had to return to Turin, but he was sent on loan to Benfica. Juventus also had to pay agent fee of €250,000 for Miccoli's new three-year contract.[5]

Benfica[edit]

In July 2006, Miccoli's loan to Benfica was confirmed despite initial interest from Aston Villa.[6][7] Miccoli scored two goals for Benfica in six Champions League appearances. He also became a fan favourite when he scored a magnificent scissor-kick goal against Liverpool during that competition, sending Benfica to the quarter-finals. At Benfica, Miccoli attracted attention from other clubs such as Roma and Internazionale. Miccoli opted to stay one more year in Lisbon with Benfica.[8]

At age 35, Miccoli said Benfica was the most beautiful experience of his career. He was one of the most cherished players by Benfica fans. He scored 14 goals in 39 matches for Benfica in the Primeira Liga.[9]

Palermo[edit]

Fabrizio Miccoli in 2009

On 5 July 2007, Palermo announced on their official website to have signed Miccoli with a three-year agreement, costing Palermo €4.3 million.[10] He completed a four-way swap: Miccoli replaced the left of Andrea Caracciolo, Caracciolo for Fabio Quagliarella and Vincenzo Iaquinta was replaced by Quagliarella. Miccoli returned to Italian football in the 2007–08 season and took part in the Rosanero's third UEFA Cup campaign. He scored a total eight goals in his first season with the Sicilian club, including the winning goal in the Sicilian derby against Catania, despite a number of injuries which prevented him from playing continuously in the season.

In 2008–09, Miccoli, now Palermo vice-captain (behind Fabio Liverani) following the transfers of Andrea Barzagli and Cristian Zaccardo to German club VfL Wolfsburg, enjoyed a remarkable seasonal start, especially after the appointment of Davide Ballardini as new head coach for the team, creating a prolific striking partnership with the Uruguayan Edinson Cavani, scoring 14 goals each. He renewed his contract on 30 May.[11]

Starting in the 2009–10 season, Miccoli took the role of captain leading the team through the campaign in place of the injured Fabio Liverani, and being then confirmed after the latter rejoined the team in November 2009. During the 2009–10 season, Miccoli scored 19 goals, tying him for third in the Serie A goal-scoring race. He scored a hat-trick on 27 March 2010 against Bologna, and in a home draw against Sampdoria on 9 May 2010, Miccoli scored his 41st goal in Serie A for Palermo on a penalty which he had earned, making him the all-time Serie A leading goalscorer for Palermo. The Luciano Zauri foul that earned Miccoli the penalty against Sampdoria, though it resulted in a successfully converted penalty, also caused a moderate injury to Miccoli's knee.[12] As a result, Miccoli underwent right knee surgery on 13 May 2010 at the Villa Stuart Clinic in Rome. The moderate damage to his cruciate ligament was deemed "successfully repaired" by knee specialist Professor Pier Paolo Mariani, and Miccoli was expected to make a full recovery over the summer months.[13]

Miccoli's strong 2009–10 season played a big part in Palermo's campaign, which saw the club finish fifth in Serie A, tied for the best league finish in club history, and narrowly missing out on Champions League football. This also brought transfer interest from English Premier League side, Birmingham City, whom despite his injury at the time and the prospect of Miccoli missing most of the first half of the next season, still bid a reported £5 million for the 31-year-old striker.[13][14]

Miccoli made a strong start to the Serie A 2011–12 season, scoring twice in a 4–3 win against Internazionale and helping Palermo to fourth place in Serie A after five matches, recording three goals and three assists en route.[15] In February 2011, Palermo defeated Lecce 4–2, with Miccoli, a boyhood supporter of Lecce, scoring a free-kick on the stroke of half-time. However, Miccoli refused to celebrate, being visibly upset as he left the field and was substituted during the interval.[16] Miccoli maintained his good form despite a lacklustre season from Palermo, with three different managers serving as head coach from August to January, and on 1 February 2012, he became the top goalscorer in club history after scoring a hat-trick in a 4–4 draw against Internazionale at the San Siro.[17] In May 2012, he scored a hat-trick against Chievo away in a 4–4 draw. On 30 September 2012, he scored another hat-trick against Chievo in a 4–1 away win.

On 24 November, Miccoli scored his 100th Serie A goal in Palermo's 3–1 win over Catania. On 28 April 2013, in Serie A's 34th matchday, of the championship won 1–0 against Inter, Miccoli reached the first place in the ranking of the players present in the shirt of Serie A with Palermo, with 161 appearances, overcoming in the next race, on May 5, lost 1–0 to Juventus. Later in June, it was confirmed that Miccoli would not be offered a new deal, and would therefore be released by the end of his contract, set to be on 30 June 2013, ending his six-year stint in Sicily.

After being released, Miccoli was linked with a number of clubs including Australian club Melbourne Victory. Australian media reports suggested he had made a verbal agreement to join the Victory. However, he later signed with his hometown club Lecce.[18][19]

Lecce[edit]

Having been released by Palermo, Miccoli reached an agreement with Lecce and a contract was formalised 17 July 2013.[20] He was immediately made captain of the team he supported as a child.[21] He scored 14 goals in 27 appearances for a Lecce side which just narrowly missed out on promotion back into Serie B, reaching the final of the 2013–14 Lega Pro Prima Divisione Play-off during his first season with the club, only to be defeated by Frosinone.[22] The following season, the club missed out on promotion yet again, finishing sixth in Group C of the Lega Pro Championship.[23]

Birkirkara[edit]

On 24 June 2015, Miccoli reached an agreement with Maltese Premier League side Birkirara on a one-year deal.[24] He made his Stripes debut on 2 July as a 71st-minute substitute for Edmond Agius in a goalless home draw against Ulisses in the first leg of the first qualifying round for the season's Europa League.[25] One week later, on his first start in the return leg at the Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium, he opened a 3–1 victory after the opponents' defensive error.[26] In the second qualifying round second leg, held at the Ta' Qali National Stadium, he scored the only goal to defeat West Ham United and earn an aggregate draw, but was later substituted and Birkirkara lost in a penalty shootout.[27]

In the league campaign, Miccoli scored 6 goals in 11 matches, including Birkirkara's first of the season on 21 August in a 4–0 home win over Naxxar Lions,[28] and two on 4 October in a win of the same score over St. Andrews.[29] On 16 December 2015, Miccoli announced his decision to retire from professional football.[30]

International career[edit]

Fabrizio Miccoli made ten appearances for Italy between 2003 and 2004, scoring twice.[31] He made his debut under manager Giovanni Trapattoni against Portugal on 12 February 2003, creating the only goal for Bernardo Corradi. On 30 March 2004, Miccoli scored directly from a corner kick in another friendly match against Portugal.

Miccoli featured in UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying matches and received another call-up in a friendly against Finland in November 2004, which ended in a 1–0 win, with the only goal scored by Miccoli from a free-kick.[31]

After leaving Juventus on numerous loan stints, Miccoli did not receive any call ups under Marcello Lippi and was not called-up to the Azzurri under either Roberto Donadoni nor Cesare Prandelli. Many sections of the Italian media attribute Miccoli's exclusion from the Italian national side under Lippi due to Miccoli's role in court during the 2006 Italian football scandal ("Calciopoli") in which Miccoli testified against Juventus, a club with close relations to Lippi.[32][33] Notwithstanding, Lippi still spoke positively in the media about Miccoli, referring to him in 2005: "I am constantly keeping him under observation, He's a big quality player and technically he is really good. He is a genius. Miccoli is a forward that can be really important for all teams in which he plays."[34]

During the 2009–10 Serie A season, there were several calls and speculation within the Italian media and high football figures that Miccoli could make a return to the Azzurri for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,[35][36] and expressed continued interest in playing for the national team.[37][38] However, Miccoli was not selected for the World Cup and in March 2011, upon return from a serious knee injury, he effectively announced his intentions not to pursue an international career any further.[32]

Style of play[edit]

Usually deployed as a creative second striker,[39] Miccoli was well known throughout his career for his all-round attacking and creative abilities, specifically his technique,[40] pace and his powerful and accurate finishing, both inside and outside the area with either foot.[41] While being a prolific goalscorer, Miccoli was also a regular assist provider.[39] Due to his acceleration, balance, agility,[42] and his technical skills,[43] Miccoli was also capable of playing in a playmaking role, as an attacking midfielder on occasion, a position which allowed him to undertake individual dribbling runs during counterattacks and create chances for teammates.[44] Throughout his career, he was also deployed as a winger, where he demonstrated his ability to beat opposing players in one-on-one situations courtesy of his ball skills and close control,[45] and subsequently cut in onto his right foot to curl shots on goal from the left flank. Miccoli was also an accurate set piece and penalty kick taker. He frequently used the "Panenka" gesture when taking penalties during his playing career.[46]

Personal life[edit]

Miccoli is married to Flaviana, a woman he met first when he was 17 and she was 14. Together they have a daughter, Suami, who was born in March 2003. His second child, a son named Diego, was born in June 2008.[47]

In early 2010, Miccoli made national news after he purchased an earring belonging to his childhood hero Diego Maradona. The earring had been confiscated by the national tax office during a visit by Maradona to Italy (the Argentine star owing several million euros in taxes to the Italian state). It was sold at a public auction for €25,000. After confirming the purchase, Miccoli revealed he would return the earring to Maradona if he were to meet him.[48]

Miccoli is a supporter of Lecce and, before joining them in 2013, had previously expressed an interest in playing for the club in the future.[49]

Controversy[edit]

On 22 June 2013, the Italian press agency ANSA reported that the office of public prosecution in Palermo had started investigations against Miccoli for extortion in connection with allegations he commissioned Mauro Lauricella, the son of Sicilian mafioso Antonino Lauricella, to collect money owed to him by a nightclub. Additionally, Miccoli was quoted in wiretaps of taped telephone conversations, published in the newspaper La Repubblica, as referring to the assassinated anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone as "fango", or "filth" in English.[50][51][52] Subsequently, during the 2013–14 season, the FIGC Federal Prosecutor's Office asked for a disqualification day and a fine of 50,000 euros, so on February 27, 2014 he was acquitted by the Federcalcio Disciplinary Committee.[53]

On 20 April 2015, Miccoli was investigated on charges of aggravated extortion because of constant contact with Lauricella to recover 12,000 euros from a physiotherapist friend at the disco "il Paparazzi" in Isola delle Femmine.[54]

In October 2017 Miccoli was sentenced by the Court of Palermo to three years and six months imprisonment, with abbreviated procedure, for extortion aggravated by Mafia method.[55]

Club statistics[edit]

As of match played 3 May 2015[56][57][58][59][60][61]
Club League Season League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Casarano Serie D 1996–97 27 8 27 8
1997–98 30 11 30 11
Total 57 19 57 19
Ternana Serie B 1998–99 30 1 2 0 32 1
1999–2000 33 9 7 0 40 9
2000–01 23 7 2 0 25 7
2001–02 34 15 4 3 38 18
Total 120 32 15 3 135 35
Perugia (loan)
Serie A 2002–03 34 9 6 5 2 2 42 16
Juventus Serie A 2003–04 25 8 6 1 6 1 37 10
2004–05 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Total 25 8 7 1 6 1 38 10
Fiorentina
Serie A 2004–05 35 12 4 0 39 12
Benfica (loan) Primeira Liga 2005–06 17 4 0 0 6 2 23 6
2006–07 22 10 0 0 11 3 33 13
Total 39 14 0 0 17 5 56 19
Palermo Serie A 2007–08 22 8 0 0 0 0 22 8
2008–09 30 14 1 0 31 14
2009–10 35 19 3 3 38 22
2010–11 21 9 4 1 3 0 28 10
2011–12 28 16 0 0 2 1 30 17
2012–13 29 8 1 2 0 0 30 10
Total 165 74 9 6 5 1 179 81
Lecce Lega Pro Prima Divisione 2013–14 27 14 3 0 30 14
Lega Pro Prima Divisione 2014–15 17 3 1 2 18 5
Total 44 17 4 2 48 19
Career total 519 185 45 17 30 9 594 211

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Juventus[56]
Palermo[56]
Birkirkara[56]

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.goal.com/de/people/italy/110/fabrizio-miccoli Goal.com profile
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  4. ^ "Magical Miccoli". David Taylor. Football-Italia. November 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Six-Monthly Report at 31 December 2005" (PDF). Juventus FC. 24 March 2006. Retrieved 6 August 2013. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Villa linked with Miccoli swoop". BBC Sport. BBC. 18 August 2005. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
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  50. ^ "Miccoli shock: Ex capitano Palermo indagato per estorsione" [Miccoli Shock: Ex captain of Palermo investigated for extortion] (in Italian). ANSA. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  51. ^ "Miccoli to 'clarify' Mafia investigation". Football Italia. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
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  53. ^ Offese a Falcone, Miccoli prosciolto Repubblica.it in Italian
  54. ^ Miccoli indagato per estorsione in Italian
  55. ^ "Palermo: Miccoli condannato a 3 anni e sei mesi per estorsione aggravata" (in Italian). Repubblica.it. 21 October 2017. 
  56. ^ a b c d Fabrizio Miccoli at Soccerway. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  57. ^ "Fabrizio Miccoli - Soccer - Scoresway - Results, fixtures, tables and statistics". Scoresway. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
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External links[edit]