Giuseppe Rossi isn’t the only Italian player to see a stark increase in his form this season. New blood is also coming from a talented but often erratic player that previously has failed throughout his career to made the impact that his talent could have seen him make. Alessio Cerci, now at the top of the Serie A scoring charts, seems finally ready to exploit his whole potential.
No doubt a talented football, Cerci developed at Roma’s illustrious academy, with his career being plagued by a sense that he had not quite reached his potential prior to this season. Cerci never quite lived up to the hype at Roma, following getting his first team debut in 2004, under Fabio Capello.
His up and down form saw him eventually leave Roma in 2010 to join Fiorentina, where he also struggled to make a real impact.
There, under manager Sinisa Mihajlovic, he never showed his true ability. While he didn’t contribute considerably on the field, he left his mark off the field where his public image was damaged by undisciplined behaviour that made him an easy scapegoat for his team’s bad campaign.Just as when he parked his Ferrari and Maserati around Firenze or when he screamed to a police officer “you don’t know who I am”.
After he wasted his chance, he was sold to Torino in 2012. There he was united with Giampiero Ventura, the manager under whom he produced his best season at Pisa, in 2007-08 Serie B, when he scored 10 goals. Under Ventura’s tutelage, Cerci restored his career and ended to be called up to the senior national team by manager Cesare Prandelli, a man well equipped to deal with troubled characters.
Ventura deployed Cerci as a second forward in the first part of the season, when he lined up a 3-5-2 formation, only to then move him back to a wide right role in the 4-2-4 he fielded against Roma.
Although Cerci was effective working as a second forward – he scored seven goals – he gave his best performing as wide forward. Starting there he marked his eighth goal against Roma, breaking Roma’s recent excellent run of form under Rudi Garcia.
Playing as an inverted winger, the left-footed Cerci is able to exploit his stronger foot and his movement inside was remarkably impressive. His ability to move on the ball is also excellent with him averaging 2.4 dribbles per game.
Cerci is also a great source of creativity for a team fighting to stay away from the bottom of the table. In fact, despite his low pass accuracy of 68%, Cerci averaged 70% shot accuracy, that made him the most dangerous, offensive player in this Torino side.
It is now becoming clear why Torino paid over €6 million last summer to retain his services. At Torino, Cerci has started living up to some of the early hype surrounding him.
He became a key part of Ventura’s side which favours an attacking outlook that suits Cerci’s natural talent. Ventura allows Cerci to enjoy a lot of freedom and it has resulted in a more confident player able to dribble, penetrate or pick out team-mates with incisive through balls.Cerci has for example created an average of 1.2 chances per game for his team-.mates.
Torino took a gamble bringing in Cerci, one which fortunately for them has paid off as Cerci has developed into one of the most important players for Ventura’s side.
If Torino are to avoid the drop, the form of Cerci will be absolutely crucial in the form of goals and assists that he can provide. If he does help keep them up and maintain this brilliant form all season he may end booking a place in Italy’s World Cup squad, as well as potentially securing a move to a bigger club.