Attacker | Fiorentina | Italy
The 1998/99 Parma team is the stuff of legend. A club who rose from the lower reaches of Italian football to become a European powerhouse with a list of beloved cult 90s players were a real fan favourite during the Football Italia years.
A young Gianluigi Buffon, Dino Baggio, Juan Sebastian Veron, Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Hernan Crespo, Faustino Asprilla and Enrico Chiesa…. Together they won the UEFA Cup and the Coppa Italia along with the hearts of many neutrals who followed Serie A.
No, you didn’t read the name at the top of this page incorrectly. This isn’t a profile of the great Enrico, but rather his son Federico - one of the brightest young hopes Italian football has produced in quite some time.
The Fiorentina attacker is a quick, technical player who enjoys cutting in from the wing to create for opportunities for his team inside. So effective has he been at this task that, even as a 21-year-old playing for a mid-table Serie A team, he has still managed to play 11 times for Italy.
2018 Has Been…
… One of recognition.
Each of those 11 national team caps have come in this calendar year, however, and while that tells us that this has been a breakthrough 12 months on the international stage, it might also belie a truth about the state of the Italy national team.
2018 was a World Cup year, but there was no tournament for the Azzurri, and under Roberto Mancini they also failed to make the final four of the Nations league - though they weren’t relegated to League B.
Progress can be a hard thing to measure in football. Chiesa is just two games short of 100 professional appearances for club and country in all competitions. By now, he is a treasured member of his club team, playing in 36 of the club’s 38 Serie A games last season.
In 2018/19 it’s been no different - he is almost a nailed-on starter on the right side of the Viola’s front three.
But from here, it’s a question of progress, whatever that might be. Adding more goals to his game, contributing more assists and getting a move to a club playing European football in the coming seasons should be the aim, but just like his teammate Alban Lafont, playing regular football at Fiorentina is not a bad place for a young footballer to find himself in.