Nicola Legrottaglie

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"Legrottaglie" redirects here. For the town, see Grottaglie.
Nicola Legrottaglie
Nicola Legrottaglie.JPG
Legrottaglie in 2010
Personal information
Date of birth (1976-10-20) 20 October 1976 (age 40)
Place of birth Gioia del Colle, Italy
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Cagliari Calcio (assistant coach)
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1998 Bari 17 (0)
1996–1997 Pistoiese (loan) 31 (3)
1997–1998 Prato (loan) 26 (0)
1998–2003 Chievo 66 (6)
2000 Reggiana (loan) 4 (1)
2000–2001 Modena (co-ownership) 32 (1)
2003–2011 Juventus 114 (8)
2005 Bologna (loan) 9 (0)
2005–2006 Siena (loan) 28 (0)
2011 Milan 1 (0)
2011–2014 Catania 76 (8)
Total 404 (27)
National team
2002–2009 Italy 16 (1)
Teams managed
2015–2016 Akragas
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Nicola Legrottaglie (born 20 October 1976) is an Italian retired footballer who played as a central defender, and currently the assistant manager at Cagliari.

In a senior career that lasted two full decades, he amassed Serie A totals of 259 games and 22 goals over the course of 12 seasons, representing in the competition Chievo, Juventus, Bologna, Siena, Milan and Catania. He won the 2011 national championship with the fifth club.

Legrottaglie gained 16 caps for Italy, appearing for the nation at the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Club career[edit]

Early years / Chievo[edit]

Born in Gioia del Colle, Province of Bari, Legrottaglie began his career with A.S. Bari, having loan spells at A.C. Pistoiese and A.C. Prato. Following his return to Bari in June 1998 he was sold to A.C. Chievo Verona in the Serie B,[1] appearing rarely in his second season with the team and, in January 2000, moved on loan to A.C. Reggiana 1919 in the third division; with his new club he also found playing opportunities hard to come by and, after his return to Verona, moved to the same level and in the same predicament, now with Modena FC.

In his season on loan at Modena Legrottaglie was a regular fixture in the starting XI, subsequently returning to Chievo for the club's first-ever season in Serie A. In his first year, he only appeared in 15 games, as the club qualified for the UEFA Cup; in his second season, the defender established himself as a top division player, scoring four goals in 32 league appearances, with Chievo again finishing comfortably in mid-table (seventh).


In the 2003 off-season Legrottaglie was rewarded with a move to top level powerhouse Juventus.[2] Juve paid 7.55million for his services to Chievo, €0.45 million being used in selling 50% of the rights to Giuseppe Sculli, Matteo Paro and Daniele Gastaldello.[3]

Legrottaglie was a full member of the first team squad in the 2003–04 season, appearing in 21 games and netting twice under coach Marcello Lippi. However, following the appointment of new manager Fabio Capello, he fell down the defensive pecking order, making just two appearances in five months; subsequently he moved on loan to Bologna F.C. 1909 in the 2005 January transfer window, playing 11 matches – including twice in the promotion playoffs – for the Emilia-Romagna side.

Legrotagglie playing for Juventus in 2008

Legrottaglie returned to Juventus in the summer of 2005, but was instantly loaned out to A.C. Siena for the 2005–06 campaign, alongside teammate Igor Tudor and some youth players. While at Siena he was again a first-team regular, appearing in nearly 30 games as his club finally avoided relegation. He again returned to Juventus in the summer of 2006 and, as an experienced player, was expected to play a role in the club's attempt to return to the top level following the Calciopoli scandal; however, he would only feature in ten contests out of 42 – also being shown a red card – with the Turinese eventually gaining promotion, as champions.

Following the promotion to the top flight, Legrottaglie was expected to transfer away from Juventus, despite the arrival of Claudio Ranieri as the club's new head coach. He came very close to complete a transfer to Beşiktaş J.K. on a three-year contract, worth £1.1 million per season: the Turkish were set to pay Juve £1.6 million for his transfer, but negotiations broke down at the last minute and hence, the player remained in Torino for their first season back in the top flight; under Ranieri he started the new season right where he left off, on the substitutes' bench, being fourth-choice behind Jorge Andrade, Jean-Alain Boumsong and Domenico Criscito.

Just four matches into the season however, a serious knee injury sidelined Andrade for the remainder of the season, and Legrottaglie was promoted to the starting eleven for the game against Reggina Calcio on 26 September, scoring the opener in a 4–0 routing.[4] Criscito was loaned out to Genoa C.F.C. in January 2008 and, until the season's end, he paired with Giorgio Chiellini in central defense as Juventus allowed just nine goals in the first 14 matches following Andrade's injury (37 overall), finishing in third place; his contract ran originally until 30 June 2008, but in October 2007, due to his excellent form, he was awarded a two-year extension.

In 2008–09 Legrottaglie continued to be first-choice, despite the arrival of Olof Mellberg from Aston Villa (Andrade also was expected to return to first-team action, but he suffered a second serious knee injury). In September 2008, one month shy of his 32nd birthday, he signed another contract until June 2011, and featured in 27 league games as Juve finished second, thus qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the second consecutive season; veteran Fabio Cannavaro returned to the club in July 2009 following his spell with Real Madrid, and this relegated him to the bench for parts of the 2009–10 campaign – he ended with 19 league appearances, netting once.

In late May 2010 Legrottaglie was injured during club training, and thus missed out on Juventus' United States tour.[5]

A.C. Milan[edit]

On 31 January 2011, after Juventus signed central defender Andrea Barzagli, 34-year-old Legrottaglie – who made just eight appearances in all competitions comprised during the first half of the season, under new manager Luigi Delneri – left on a free transfer for fellow league side A.C. Milan, signing a six-month contract.[6]

However, he was only able to make one league appearance for the eventual champions due to a serious head injury suffered during a 0–0 draw with S.S. Lazio.[7] He was released on 30 June, following the expiration of his contract.


On 24 August 2011, Legrottaglie joined Sicily's Calcio Catania on a two-year contract. He scored on his official debut, a 3–3 away draw against Novara Calcio.[8]

Legrottaglie revived his career overall under Vincenzo Montella. He finished 2011–12 with 35 official games and six goals, helping the club to a fourth successive season in which it broke its record points total in Serie A, finishing 11th.

Legrottaglie retired at the end of the 2013–14 campaign as Catania suffered top flight relegation, aged nearly 38. He then returned to Bari after 18 years, being appointed under-17 team coach.[9]

International career[edit]

On 20 November 2002, Legrottaglie made his Italy debut, in a friendly match with Turkey in Pescara,[10] and went on to appear in a further six matches in a one-year span, mostly friendlies. He scored his only goal in April 2003, in a 2–1 victory over Switzerland.[11]

Following solid performances at Juventus he received his first cap in four years, appearing in a friendly against Austria while filling in for injured teammate Chiellini in an 18 August 2008 contest held in Nice. His former Juventus coach Lippi was in charge of the national team.

On 2 May 2010, 33-year-old Legrottaglie was included in a 29-man provisional list for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, attending the training camp in Rome,[12] but was subsequently dropped from the 30-player list submitted to FIFA on the 11th, with Villarreal CF's Giuseppe Rossi and A.S. Roma's Daniele De Rossi taking his place.[13] His only major international tournament was the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa,[14] with Italy exiting in the group stage.[15]

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 30 April 2003 Geneva, Switzerland   Switzerland 2–1 Win Friendly

Style of play[edit]

Legrottaglie was praised by pundits for his physical attributes and his ability in the air, making him a goal threat from set pieces.[16] A strong yet elegant player, he excelled in sliding challenges and at organising high defensive lines, also being gifted with good technical ability, passing range and vision, which allowed him to advance into the midfield. He was also tactically versatile, excelling at reading the game and possessing a powerful shot from distance.

Despite his reputation, Legrottaglie was also criticised at times for inconsistency and lapses in man-marking.[16]

Coaching career[edit]

After retiring, Legrottaglie accepted an offer to become youth coach of the Allievi Nazionali team at Bari. On July 2015, he took his first role as a head coach, accepting an offer from Sicilian Lega Pro club Akragas;[17] he resigned on January 2016 due to poor results.[18]

On 9 January 2017, he was named new assistant to head coach Massimo Rastelli at Serie A club Cagliari.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Legrottaglie is one of the most religious Italian footballers, quoting the Bible as his favorite book, which he credits with having him helped rediscover the joy of living and love for his fellow man.

He attracted controversy when he came out strongly against homosexuality, calling it a "sin".[20]




  1. ^ Carlo Laudisa (5 June 1998). "Bologna: passi avanti per Esposito e Morfeo" [Bologna: moves for Esposito and Morfeo] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Legrottaglie relishing Juve move;, 19 June 2003
  3. ^ Juventus Football Club: Accordo con la società A.C. Chievo Verona per l’acquisizione del calciatore Nicola Legrottaglie (Juventus Football Club: Deal with A.C. Chievo Verona for acquisition of footballer Nicola Legrottaglie); Juventus F.C., 19 June 2003 (Italian)
  4. ^ "Juventus 4–0 Reggina". ESPN Soccernet. 26 September 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Juventus land in New York". Juventus F.C. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Legrottaglie joins Milan". Juventus F.C. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Leaders held to stalemate". ESPN Soccernet. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Novara 3–3 Catania". ESPN Soccernet. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Largo ai giovani, il Bari punta sul vivaio Legrottaglie allenerà gli allievi" [Make way for the young, Bari focus on academy Legrottaglie will coach the students] (in Italian). Corriere del Mezzogiorno. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "Italia-Turchia (1–1)" [Italy-Turkey (1–1)] (in Italian). Italia 1910. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "Italia-Svizzera (2–1)" [Italy-Switzerland (2–1)] (in Italian). Italia 1910. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Verso il Mondiale. Ventinove Azzurri convocati per lo stage di Roma" [Towards the World Cup. 29 Azzurri called to training camp in Roma] (in Italian). Italian Football Federation. 2 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "Ufficializzata la lista dei 30: C'è Giuseppe Rossi al posto di Legrottaglie" [List of 30 players official: Giuseppe Rossi for Legrottaglie] (in Italian). Italian Football Federation. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "Santon in Sud Africa Pazzini resta fuori" [Santon in South Africa Pazzini remains excluded] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  15. ^ Duncan White (21 June 2009). "Confederations Cup: Brazil and Kaka humiliate Italy". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "Nicola Legrottaglie – Scheda tecnica" [Nicola Legrottaglie – Technical report] (in Italian). Juventinologo. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Legrottaglie riparte dalla Sicilia: sarà l'allenatore dell'Akragas" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  18. ^ "Calciomercato Akragas, Legrottaglie lascia la panchina" (in Italian). Tuttosport. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "Legrottaglie nello staff tecnico rossoblù" (in Italian). Cagliari Calcio. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  20. ^ Nicola Legrottaglie insists 'Homosexuality is a sin';, 18 March 2009
  21. ^ a b "N. Legrottaglie – Trophies". Soccerway. Retrieved 21 December 2015. 

External links[edit]