Welcome to a series of articles we are calling: ‘In Depth’.
Here, we will take a detailed look at some of the world’s best footballers, and what the rest of the football community thinks of them as well as how they came to stardom. Today we look at Argentine international and new Paris Saint Germain signing Ezequiel Lavezzi and what makes him tick.
Age: 27 (born 3rd May 1985)
Current Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Previous Clubs: Estudiantes, Genoa, San Lorenzo and Napoli
Date moved to Current Club: 2nd July 2012
Transfer fee: €30m
International Appearances: 20
Lavezzi started his career at Boca Juniors. Even though he was there for 8 years, they decided to turn down the opportunity of offering him a professional contract, a decision no doubt that they regret.
He therefore moved to another Argentinian side, Estudiantes in 2003. During his time at the Argentinian outfit he was nicknamed ‘El Pocho’ which literally translates as ‘the chubby one‘. Lavezzi had a brilliant year there scoring 19 goals which prompted a surge of European interest in him. Although he had several options none were from the ‘massive clubs’ one might say. He signed for Genoa in 2004 for a fee of £1m. However, when Lavezzi arrived in Italy it was apparent that he had made too large a step. He failed to impress the management there and was quickly shipped off on loan to San Lorenzo where he eventually sealed a permanent move there.
This was where he made his name in Europe. He spent 3 extremely successful seasons with San Lorenzo and certainly caught the eye of Edoardo Reja who was Napoli’s manager at the time. Lavezzi was promptly snapped up by the Italian giants in 2007 who then proceeded to storm into the Serie A where they have been challenging at the top for 2 seasons now.
During his time in Naples, the Argentine made 188 appearances, assisting 49 goals and scoring 48 of his own. A truly impressive record. This was when Lavezzi became a household name throughout Europe. He also loved the club, this quotation from one of his press conferences confirming it: ‘Sometimes I have to leave the training session locked in the boot of my car. I am certain no other place on earth provides love like this’.
Many pundits expected him to sign for Chelsea this summer, but he became another victim of the enriched Qatari revolution in Paris. Lavezzi signed for PSG for €30m. The Italian media heavily criticised him claiming his move was motivated purely by money and not quality of football. In order to rout the doubters he said these words upon joining his new club:
‘What convinced me to come here was the club’s project and the space it has to grow … When you talk about clubs like PSG, there’s always talk about money, but I’m interested above all in progressing on the sports side of things. I think that’s the most important thing for the future. It’s a new challenge and I like challenges. I will try to do like what I did at Napoli, in my relationship with the fans too.’
This was only part of the bad reaction Lavezzi received for his move however. World class defender Fabio Cannavaro said that Napoli ‘will be a better side this season without Lavezzi’ and that he is glad the Argentine has left Naples.
Lavezzi’s journey to the top of the footballing world is presumably over having signed a 4 year contract with PSG it is unlikely he will move again in his career. Although the Paris giants have signed quality in bulk this summer Lavezzi will almost certainly play week in, week out. His dazzling pace and skill on the ball has made him one of the most feared players to go up against in the world, let alone Ligue 1. If PSG can make sure their new signings gel and put their rather mediocre start behind them, then I have no doubt that Lavezzi and PSG will have excellent seasons.
Fact: Lavezzi nearly quit football to become an electrician when Boca Juniors decided not to offer him professional terms. It is just as well he did not.