On Sunday evening defender Leonardo Spinazzola became Roma’s first signing of the summer. Here are a few facts to know about the new Giallorossi player…
1. Leonardo Spinazzola was born in Foligno, Umbria, on 25 March 1983. Football was always his passion. “I wanted to join the team at Virtus Foligno when I was four, but I had to wait until I was six before I was allowed,” he recently told Corriere della Sera.
2. When he was just 14 years old Spinazzola signed for Siena and joined the club’s academy. After an ankle injury sidelined him for a while Spinazzola wanted to go home, but “my mother asked me to really think about it, because I probably would not get another chance to become a footballer. Luckily, I listened to her.”
In 2010 Spinazzola was signed by Juventus, and two years later he helped the Bianconeri youth team win the Torneo di Viareggio – and was named player of the tournament.
3. In the summer of 2012 Spinazzola made the step up to senior football, with loan spells in Serie B at Empoli, Lanciano and back at his first club, Siena. In the summer of 2014 he was sent out on loan once again, this time to Atalanta – where he made his Serie A debut in August 2014 (against Verona).
After another couple of loan spells at Vicenza and Perugia in Serie B, Atalanta came calling again with a two-year loan arrangement.
4. In Bergamo Spinazzola firmly established himself in Serie A, making 57 appearances for the club – six of them in the Europa League – and proving one of the key players in the Orobici’s fourth-place finish during the 2016-17 campaign.
5. The performances during that spell with Atalanta, despite an injury sustained during the spring of 2018, convinced Juventus to bring him back to the club before the 2018-19 season. He made his debut for the club in January 2019, going on to put in a decisive performance in the club’s 3-0 Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid two months later. By the end of the campaign he had made 10 appearances, winning Serie A and the Supercoppa.
6. Having played regularly for Italy at youth level, in March 2017 Spinazzola received his first call-up to the senior national side, by then-coach Gian Piero Ventura. He made his debut for the Azzurri in a friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
He has gone on to pick up seven appearances for Italy, the last of them coming in March during the 6-0 win over Liechtenstein.
7. Predominantly a left-sided full-back, Spinazzola has also played further forward in midfield – and on the right on occasions too. His versatility is an asset. “I can play anywhere, apart from perhaps in goal, from centre-forward to central defence,” he has joked before.
It was during his time at Perugia that he really settled on the full-back role, crediting his coach there for both that positional choice and his improvement as a player. “It’s perhaps my best position because I have a lot of the pitch ahead of me to run into and to use,” Spinazzola said.
8. Spinazzola’s style of play is characterised by his speed, and a first touch that allows him to move away from opponents and open up the pitch for opportunities in attack. He has been compared to Gianluca Zambrotta, a player he admits has always been an inspiration. “I consider him one of the best full-backs in history. He was a winger that converted to full-back, a bit like me.”
9. Spinazzola has been with his partner, Miriam, for a long time. Together they have a son, Mattia, who was born in May 2018.
10. Spinazzola is active on social media, on Instagram (@spina_leo) and Facebook (@spinazzola.leo).