Vázquez playing with Italy in 2015
|Full name||Franco Damián Vázquez|
|Date of birth||22 February 1989|
|Place of birth||Tanti, Argentina|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|2012–2013||→ Rayo Vallecano (loan)||18||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 August 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 16 June 2015
He began his career with Argentine club Belgrano in 2007, before moving to Italian side Palermo in 2011. After a brief loan spell in Spain with Rayo Vallecano during the 2012–13 season, he made his breakthrough with the Sicilian club, earning a transfter to La Liga side Sevilla in 2016. Born in Argentina, Vázquez holds both Argentine and Italian nationality as his mother was born in Italy. He made his senior international debut for the Italy national football team in a friendly match in 2015; however, in 2016 he declared his wish to represent Argentina, his place of birth.
Nicknamed El Mudo (The Mute), due to his introversion in his youth, Vázquez started his career at Argentine club Belgrano, with whom he debuted in 2007 and then became a mainstay at the club, achieving interest from a number of Italian clubs (the first being Parma in 2010) as a consequence.
In August 2011 he was heavily linked with a move to Italian side Palermo as a replacement for fellow Argentine Javier Pastore; the move, effective from January 2012, was subsequently confirmed on 1 September 2011 with a bid of €4.53m being paid by the Sicilians as a result. He officially joined the Sicilians' squad on 29 December 2011. He debuted in Palermo on 8 January against Napoli, and made a total 14 appearances with no goals (mostly as a substitute).
Rayo Vallecano (loan)
On 24 August 2012 he moved on loan to La Liga club Rayo Vallecano. He mostly played as a substitute, and failed to make a breakthrough in the first team squad, not being signed permanently by the club at the end of the season and therefore returning to Palermo.
Return to Palermo
He was originally kept out of the squad list by head coach Gennaro Gattuso and therefore ineligible to play in any games for the first half of the 2013–14 Serie B season, but reincluded into the first team roster by new boss Giuseppe Iachini later in January 2014 as a replacement to on-loan youngster Valerio Verre, and then being used also as a second striker in a more regular basis - a role that gave him the opportunity to score goals for the team. In the following 2014–15 Serie A campaign, Vázquez gained notoriety thanks to him forming a successful and effective striking partnership with Paulo Dybala, which saw them both finish the season as two of the top assist providers in the league, with 10 assists. On 16 January 2015, he agreed a contract extension with Palermo until 30 June 2019. On 15 May 2016, he scored in a 3–2 home win over Verona to help save Palermo from relegation at the conclusion of the 2015–16 Serie A season.
On 16 July 2016, Vázquez returned to Spain's top flight, joining Sevilla FC for a fee of reported €15 million. On 9 August, in his first official appearance for his new club, he scored in a 3–2 extra-time defeat to Real Madrid in the 2016 UEFA Super Cup. On August 20th, Vázquez scored and assisted on his La Liga debut in a 6–4 home victory over Espanyol.
Having Italian citizenship sparked the Italian national team's interest since Vázquez had never played at international level, but the player was still uncertain about whether to accept the possible upcoming call or not. Later in January 2015, he stated he would probably accept a call-up from Italian head coach Antonio Conte, also due to the heavy competition for a place in the Argentine team.
On 21 March 2015, Vázquez received his first Italian national team call-up for a European 2016 qualification game against Bulgaria and a friendly match against England. Manager Antonio Conte was criticised for calling up Argentine-born Vázquez along with Brazilian-born Éder. Speaking at a Serie A meeting on 23 March 2015, Roberto Mancini said, "The Italian national team should be Italian. An Italian player deserves to play for the national team while someone who wasn't born in Italy, even if they have relatives, I don't think they deserve to." Conte's response to the use of foreign-born players was, "If Mauro Camoranesi [who was born in Argentina] was allowed to help Italy win the 2006 World Cup, then why can't Éder and Franco Vázquez lead the Azzurri to glory in next year's European Championship?"
Vázquez made his international debut in Italy's 1–1 friendly draw against England at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on 31 March 2015, coming on as a substitute for fellow oriundo Éder. He made his second appearance for Italy later that year, as a substitute in a 1–0 friendly defeat to Portugal, on 16 June. In August 2016, however, he declared his wish to represent his country of birth, Argentina, at international level, instead of Italy.
Style of play
Vázquez is a quick, talented, and mobile left-footed player, who, despite not being particularly fast, possesses good vision and passing ability, as well as excellent dribbling skills, and technique, which makes him an effective assist provider; during the 2014–15 Serie A season, he was one of the top assist providers in the league with 10 assists. In addition to his creative abilities, he is also capable of contributing to his team's offensive play with goals, due to his accurate striking ability from distance. A versatile and hard-working player, he is usually deployed as an attacking midfielder, although he has also been deployed in several other offensive and midfield positions: he has been used as a winger, as a deep-lying playmaker in midfield, as a false 9, and as a second forward. His playing style has drawn comparisons with Javier Pastore, Alessandro Del Piero, and Roberto Baggio.
- As of 16 June 2015
|Italy national team|
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