Archive for November 13th, 2007

New Azzurri Kid on the Block: Raffaele Palladino

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Raffaele Palladino is the latest novelty in Roberto Donadoni’s national team, and needless to say, the Napoli native youngster is ecstatic at his first senior team call-up. “I was undergoing the anti-doping procedures after the match, when the Juventus press representative told me the news.” said Palladino. “I thought it was all a joke, but then when I found out it was all real I went nuts. Being here, for those like me who were part of the U21 team only a year ago, means a lot. It proves that all the sacrifices I made to stay in Turin and become part of the first team at Juventus were all worth it.”

Palladino is the symbol of a Juventus team which, since earning promotion back to the Italian top flight, went on to occupy  top spots in Serie A since the season began. “We have an an amazing manager that is teaching us many things. We have a young squad despite we are all coming from a Serie B champions title, and now we are asserting ourselves in the Serie A as well. We can only improve from now on, our ranking is already very high, and despite we have lost important points like at Parma, our biggest characteristic is humility and thinking about each match individually as it comes.”

The ex-striker now turned into a left winger due to roster necessities, also talked about his role and positioning on the field: “It’s a sacrifice that I’m more than willing to make, Ranieri asks that I move a lot on the pitch and I often go on one-on-one dribbling challenges if necessary. Playing out of position is something I need to do, otherwise I’d be sitting on the bench“.

Referees aren’t against Juventus” commented the Juve player, following the recent match at Ennio Tardini in which Juve conceded a doubtful penalty kick and had a valid goal being called off for mysterious reasons. “It’s true that referees are making a little too many mistakes against us lately, but I’d rather think it’s entirely casual. In the matches against Napoli and Parma there were refereeing decisions that were so blatantly wrong, that in the end doubt can rise in our minds, but I don’t think there’s a mentality willing to punish Juventus, we shouldn’t think that referees are in bad faith with us“.

Palladino also had a few words for Alessandro Del Piero, the Juventus captain he idolizes but who wasn’t called up by Donadoni for the Azzurri squad. “I haven’t spoken to him after my call-up, so he didn’t tell me anything in particular. He’s not in the group, but he can still give so much to this Italian team and I hope that he will very soon.” He concluded: “I thank Donadoni for calling me, I knew him as a manager since the team he was coaching Livorno (note: Palladino was loaned to the Amaranto in the 2005-06 season) and I have to say that he always liked me a lot. And by the way I don’t want to make anyone feel uneasy for a starter spot, being here is already a great feeling“.

A short Raffaele Palladino biography

The first team career of Palladino started in his native region of Campania where he played for Benevento in Serie C1. Including games played in Coppa Italia Serie C, his record at Benevento was 12 games played and 5 goals scored.

It was not long before he gained the attentions of Juventus and was signed by the club in 2002, during his earlier years with Juventus he played in reserve and youth levels in competitions such as Torneo di Viareggio (which the club won in 2003 and 2004). However, during the 2003-04 season, he did make one appearance in the Coppa Italia. He scored 41 goals in 61 games in the Campionato Nazionale Primavera.

Loan spells
To gain some first team experience, Palladino was loaned out to Salernitana back in Campania. At the time the club from Southern Italy was competing in Serie B, and Palladino scored 15 goals during his season with the Granata, becoming their topscorer that season; he finished as 7th topscorer in the entire league.

The first taste of Serie A football came in 2005-06 for the player, he was loaned out once more, this time to Livorno. Although he gained some valuable experience he did not score as many goals as he did during his spell with Salernitana the previous season.

Return to Juventus
Juventus had been relegated down to Serie B due to the result of the 2006 Serie A Calciopoli scandal. Despite the lower division, first team places were still hotly contested and the young Palladino was given a chance to prove himself in the first team by Didier Deschamps. On his league debut Palladino scored two goals, and in the same season he also scored a hat-trick against Triestina.

Juventus won promotion back into Serie A and the end of the season, which prompted the exit of coach Didier Deschamps and the arrival of Claudio Ranieri at the Bianconeri club. With Ranieri, Palladino earned his first top flight Juve appearance and scored his first Serie A goal with the Bianconeri in their 4-0 victory over Reggina on Matchday 5.

Senior clubs
Salernitana (loan)
Livorno (loan)
National team
Italy U-19


Italy U-20
Italy U-21

Note: credit to Raffaele Palladino’s English and Italian Wikipedia articles for biography info.

Top 10 English Soccer Entertainers

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Best-Zola-Gazza Top Trio

For as long as the wind is blowing, we might as well be surfing the wave…

After FourFourTwo’s Top 100 footballers list, the ‘Association of Football Statisticians’ Top 100 Greatest Ever Footballers, and recently once again FourFourTwo’s 2007 EPL ‘Rich List’, The Sun is jumping onto the Top 100 bandwagon and starting a Top 10 ranking of their own: every week the ‘most trustworthy publication in the UK’ (yeah, cheap shot) will bring you the latest list of the best (and worst) things from the world of sport.

This week, it’s a Top 10 of the Most Entertaining Footballers in English soccer history. Like any other ranking, the article is to be taken with a grain of salt, but the good news for us Italian soccer fans is that Gianfranco Zola is ranked at nº2 :mrgreen: : it’s nice to know that the little Sardinian genius has left some good memories on the other side of the English Channel. Also at nº3 we find another well-known English figure of Serie A: Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne (ex-Lazio from 1992 to 1995).

I’ve published only the Top 3 here, for the full Top 10 you can check my full article up on

EPL Years
EPL Clubs
1964-1974, 1976-1977
Man Utd, Fulham
George BestBest loved nothing better than scoring on and OFF the pitch. The Northern Irishman was untouchable with the ball at his feet and was adored away from the game. His lifestyle was often criticised but Manchester United would not be the club they are today without him. Quite simply, he set the standard for everyone to follow.
Gianfranco ZolaZola’s love of the game was clear to see from the moment he arrived at Stamford Bridge. The Italian was a free-kick expert but there was far more to his game than the ability to curl a ball. Zola scored breathtaking goals and was one of the main reasons Chelsea lifted trophies under both Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli.
1985-1992, 1998-2002
Newcastle, Tottenham, M’boro, Everton
Paul GascoigneWhile Gazza can best be described as daft as a brush, the midfielder could do it all with the ball at his feet. A troubled genius he may be, but the former Newcastle and Tottenham ace was one of the few Englishmen to conquer Serie A.