Montolivo playing for Italy at UEFA Euro 2012
|Full name||Riccardo Montolivo|
|Date of birth||18 January 1985|
|Place of birth||Caravaggio, Italy|
|Height||1.82 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 November 2015 (UTC).
Riccardo Montolivo (Italian pronunciation: [rikˈkardo montoˈlivo]; born 18 January 1985) is an Italian professional footballer who plays for Serie A club Milan, where he is the captain and the Italy national team. He is described as a versatile player capable of playing anywhere in the midfield, Montolivo's two main roles are as a deep-lying playmaker and an attacking midfielder, which best utilise his technical ability, creativity, and range of passing.
Montolivo started his career with Atalanta in 2003 before being transferred to Fiorentina in 2005. He went to make more than 250 appearances for the club in 7 years. In 2012 he signed for Milan on a free transfer. He was given the club's captaincy the following season after the departure of Massimo Ambrosini.
Montolivo made his debut for Italy senior team in 2007 against South Africa and since then has represented the country in two FIFA Confederations Cups (2009 and 2013) as well as in UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he started every game.
Montolivo is a graduate of Atalanta. He made his debut for the club in a Serie B match against Piacenza Calcio coming as an 81st-minute substitute for Michele Marcoliniego. His first start match came in a 2–1 win against Hellas Verona. From that match he became frequent in the starting line-up and scored his first goal against AS Bari in a 2–0 win. Atalanta became fifth and promoted to Serie A by playoffs. At the end of the season, Inter Milan showed interest in buying Montolivo.
He missed the first matches of the his debut season in Serie A because he was out with an injury. He made his Serie A debut in a 2–2 draw against U.S. Lecce. He scored goals in consecutive matches against Cagliari Calcio and Parma. In 23 January 2005 he got the first red card of his career in a match against U.S. Lecce. Atalanta became last in 2004–05 Serie A and was relegated. Montolivo won 32 caps and scored 3 goals in his debut season in Serie A.
In summer 2005, Fiorentina signed Montolivo on co-ownership for €3.5 million. He penned a five-year contract. He was given number 18 jersey. During the 2005–06 season, Montolivo's first-team chances were limited, partly due to the fact that he was still an inexperienced player and partly because manager Cesare Prandelli had a relatively stable and reliable squad of players at his disposal. The young man's talents did not go unrecognised though. He became a fixture in Italy's under-21 team, coached by Pierluigi Casiraghi. He made his debut in Fiorentina colours in a 2–1 loss against Inter Milan.
Despite being associated in the Calciopoli scandal, Fiorentina signed Montolivo on a permanent basis on the following season for €2 million. He played a total of 36 matches for Fiorentina, scoring in 2. He also declared that he will continue playing for the Viola.
The 2007–08 season started well for the Viola midfielder; in the first match day, he was as one of the best on the field against Empoli, against which he also scored a splendid goal from a lob. The season follows between ups and downs, but Montolivo confirmed himself during the course of the season as one of the best talents in Italian football.
His good form earned his a spot for Summer Olympics in Beijing. He sustained an injury while playing in it he missed the first round of 2008–09 Serie A against Juventus. He scored a crucial brace as Fiorentina defeated Udinese Calcio 4–2 after being 0–1 down in the first half. Montolivo scored 2 more goals against Sampdoria and SSC Napoli as he ended the season with 4 goals—two more than his previous season. In 17 January 2009, he first time captained Fiorentina to a 1–0 defeat to AC Milan.
In 2009–10 season he was made club-captain following the departures of the then captain Dario Dainelli. He also expressed that the departure of Dainelli and Martin Jorgensen has weakened the team but with Sebastian Frey and Marco Donadel he formed a strong midfield. Despite gaining attention from big clubs he said that Fiorentina was his house and he would not change his club.
Again, the next season started with injury for Montolivo—he had a small problem in the ankle. However, he was operated and it was remedied. His form saw him included in Italian squad for 2010 FIFA World Cup. He scored goals against Palermo and Cesena as he ended his account scoring 2 goals in 29 matches.
He said in the beginning of his last season i.e. 2011–12 that he would leave Fiorentina after his contract expires. He wanted to play in a team of higher caliber. As a result, he was stripped from captainship and the armband was given to Alessandro Gamberini with Stevan Jovetic as the vice-captain. He made his 200th appearance for the club in a 2–0 lose against Palermo in 27 November 2011.
In May 2012, AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri announced that Montolivo would join the club on a free transfer when his contract with Fiorentina expired on 30 June. He penned a four-year contract with the club. "Next season, Montolivo will arrive and he is a very talented player with great technique," said Allegri to Milan Channel. He chose to wear the number 18 jersey which he has worn before and was last worn by Alberto Aquilani in Milan.
In the Milan derby though he was highly praised for his performance, the referee discarded a stunning 30-yard volley by Montolivo due to a challenge committed by Urby Emanuelson. On 30 October, Montolivo scored his first goal with Milan, coming in the 69th minute after Milan were down 2–0 to Palermo. Milan eventually drew the match 2–2, salvaging a point.
On 25 November, against Juventus, a match won 1–0 by Milan, as Daniele Bonera and Massimo Ambrosini were suspended and Christian Abbiati was injured, he played his first match as Milan's captain. He ended the first season at the club by becoming one of the two (other being Stephan El Shaarawy) most used players of the season. On 11 June 2013, Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani stated that Riccardo Montolivo would be the next captain for Milan, after previously announcing that current club captain Massimo Ambrosini would not be extending his contract with the Rossoneri.
After getting captainship, he opened his account by scoring against Calcio Catania. He then scored in a 4-3 defeat to Sassulo. On 13 April 2014, Montolivo scored an astonishing long-range strike in the 23rd minute against Catania, which extended Milan's winning streak to four matches. After breaking his leg in a pre-World Cup friendly against Ireland on 31 May, Montolivo was ruled out for six months and made his return in a 2-0 win over Udinese on 30 November.
Montolivo scored the winning goal when Italy's under-21 team defeated Spain 2–1 and qualified for the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship on 10 October 2006. 1 year and 7 days later, he made his debut for the senior team in a 2–0 friendly win against South Africa. Despite ineligible to 2007–09 season of the under-21 team, Montolivo capped once for the de facto Olympic team against Dutch Olympic team in February 2008, which he eligible to Beijing as underage player.
Montolivo was included in Italy's provisional squad for UEFA Euro 2008 by head coach Roberto Donadoni. He was, however, omitted from the final squad of 23 players. In the same summer, Pierluigi Casiraghi called-up Montolivo to participate in the Olympic Games in Beijing. He scored one goal in four appearances as Italy were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Belgium.
In October 2007, Montolivo was called by Roberto Donadoni to face Georgia in the UEFA Euro qualifiers. He did not play in that match but made his debut in a 2–1 win in a friendly against South Africa. In May 2008, Montolivo was included in Italy's preliminary squad for UEFA Euro 2008 but he was omitted from the 23-man final squad. However, Donadoni said that Montolivo would be a key part of Italy's midfield in future. His second appearance came over a year after the first, against Bulgaria in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification.
In June 2009, he was selected to play in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Italy were eliminated at the group stage. Montolivo started the match against Brazil but played the other two matches as a substitute. In 2010, Montolivo was named in Marcello Lippi's squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Due to the injury sustained by Andrea Pirlo, he started Italy's first two group matches against Paraguay and New Zealand. In the third match, Montolivo was again in the starting line-up but was replaced by Pirlo in the 56th minute, as the Azzurri lost 3–2 to Slovakia and were eliminated.
Montolivo scored his first senior international goal in a 2–1 friendly win against Spain in Bari. Montolivo made four appearances at UEFA Euro 2012 as Italy progressed to the final, where they lost 4–0 to Spain.
Montolivo was named in Italy's 30-man preliminary squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but was ruled out of the tournament after suffering a broken leg in a friendly match against Ireland at Craven Cottage on 31 May.
In addition to holding an Italian passport; Montolivo also holds a German passport—his mother is from Ascheberg, and his grandparents are from Heidkate in Kieler Förde on the Baltic Sea coast, where he spent all of his summers as a youth. He looks upon Francesco Totti, Zinedine Zidane and Frank Lampard as his idols.