Date of Birth: 03/05/1985
Previous Clubs: Estudiantes, Genoa, San Lorenzo
Since moving to Naples in July 2007 Ezequiel Iván Lavezzi, has become a fans favourite at the San Paolo. Also known as El Pocho, the chubby one has scored thirty-five goals in a hundred and twenty two appearances. The Argentinean also became the focus of a number of Spanish and English sides after some eye-catching performances in the Europa League, most notably against Liverpool at Anfield.
Lavezzi first caught the eye at the age of ten when he first appeared for the Boca Juniors youth team. His style of play meant those who saw him were quick to compare him to Boca’s most famous senior, Diego Maradona. Since maturing however his strength whilst in possession has drawn comparisons to Carlos Tevez. Lavezzi was released by Boca and went on to sign for their Buenos Aires rivals Estudiantes. An impressive debut season saw him finish with seventeen goals from his thirty-nine appearances.
That eye catching debut season soon attracted interest from across the Atlantic. Genoa managed to secure a deal for the youngster. In 2004 the Griffins paid just a million euros to Estudiantes and Lavezzi was there’s. However he was sent back to Argentina on loan and made twenty-nine appearances for San Lorenzo and scored eight goals. El Pocho made himself a cult hero in Argentina when he almost ended the title challenge of River Plate with a memorable 69th minute goal. This performance saw him gain a new and more impressive nickname, la Bestia. The beast.
Genoa had originally planned to bring Lavezzi back to Italy following his season with San Lorenzo. However these hopes were dashed when the Griffins were relegated to the third tier of Italy after being embroiled in a match fixing scandal. Desperate for cash Lavezzi was sold to San Lorenzo for just over a million euros and he would spend another two years in his homeland before an eventual belated arrival in Europe. He gained his first major club medal when he helped San Lorenzo win the Clausura title in 2007. He made a further fifty-five appearances and scored sixteen goals.
Newly promoted Napoli were on the look out for some new signings and in the summer of 2007 Lavezzi was signed on a five year deal, for a transfer fee of around six million euros. The Argentinean has had to adapt since moving to Italy due to another South American who signed the same year as Lavezzi. The Uruguayan Striker Edinson Cavani was given the role of primary striker, with Lavezzi becoming the provider playing just behind the front man. The front two at Napoli, along with the young midfielder Marek Hamsik have become one of the most exiting attacking forces in Italian football. With Champions League football waiting around the corner the future is definitely bright for Lavezzi and Napoli.
Lavezzi has had a somewhat tougher time with the Argentinean National side. In the ten appearances he has made he is yet to score a goal. Competition is tough with high profile stars like Tevez, Higuain, Diego Milito and Lionel Messi all ahead of him. Maradona chose not to select him for the Squad that played in South Africa, so it would seem he has an uphill climb ahead of him.
La Bestia has made a hundred and twenty two appearances for the Partenopei, and has scored thirty-five goals. Manchester City have recently been touted as a possible destination for Lavezzi. Although his skill and strength would make him more than suitable for the Premier League. The promise of Europe’s premier competition may be enough to keep the striker with Napoli for at least one more season.
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