Position: Left Back
Date of Birth: 6/12/1981
Previous Clubs: Varese, Siena, Torino, Juventus, Fiorentina
After a quiet start to his career Federico Balzaretti, known as ‘Balzac’, hit the big time when winning promotion to Serie A with Torino and moving to Juventus before dropping out of the limelight at Fiorentina. However, a move to Palermo reignited his career and he is now being linked with top Italian clubs.
From the age of 6 Balzaretti was a member of Torino’s youth team and impressed enough to be kept on into adulthood. His development was helped by being loaned out to Varese and Siena when in his late teens. In his time at Varese between 1999 and 2001 Balzaretti made 44 league appearances, but only 16 at Siena the following year.
His senior career with Torino kicked off in 2002 and in the 04/05 season he was heavily involved in Torino’s promotion to Serie A. His time at Torino ended in 2005 when the he was released on a free transfer and snapped up by fierce rivals Juventus.
Balzaretti made 57 league appearances in his two years with Juventus scoring two goals. He was a regular under Fabio Capello and went on to win the Serie A title. Sold on to Fiorentina in July 2007 this was undoubtedly the low point in Balzaretti’s career – he made only 6 appearances for the club before moved on to Palermo in the January transfer window, not even seeing out a full season at Fiorentina.
Balzaretti has gone on to make over 100 appearances for the Rosanero after quickly establishing himself at left back. He is well suited in a Palermo side that like to attack and entertain, with both wide defenders being deployed as wing-backs to aide the attack. Palermo’s tactics enable Balzaretti to push forward and deliver crosses to the front men as when the wing backs push forward they always have a defensive midfielder drop back and provide cover.
His outstanding performances for Palermo last year have alerted other clubs and Roma have recently been linked with a move for the 29 year old. However, Balzaretti is tied into a contract with Palermo until 2013 so it will take a good deal of money to ply him away.
Balzaretti has been capped numerous times for the U21 and U20 Italian national sides, and received his first senior call up in November 2010, incidentally from his former boss at Fiorentina, Cesare Prandelli.
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