Marco Verratti is one of the most complete midfielders in world football but many are still waiting for him to leave his mark on a major tournament. The Italy midfielder’s agent Donato Di Campli told Nasser Al-Khelaifi: “I have the future star of world football” But the Paris Saint-Germain president replied: “What are you talking about?” It was revealed that Leonardo, the club’s sporting director, had already known all about the player.
Leonardo Di Campli made a bold statement when he told Pescara boss Zdenek Zeman that he would like to talk to Marco Verratti. The Brazilian had only arrived in Paris the year before, after spending two seasons at Inter Milan. He was aware of the emergence of the young midfielder who was being touted as ‘The new Andrea Pirlo’ At the time, it was widely expected to join Juventus.
Juventus were unable to match Paris StGermain’s offer for midfielder Andrea Verratti. The Bianconeri had not even made a single appearance in Serie A when he joined PSG. He has since gone on to play more games in the Champions League than any other player in the club’s history, while winning 27 trophies.
Italy midfielder Marco Verratti made his Euro 2020 debut in a 1-0 win over Wales last weekend. It was the first time he had played in a major international tournament since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Paris St-Germain man has been plagued by fitness problems during his time at PSG.
Marco Verratti has admitted that he struggled to control his temper when he was younger. Carlo Ancelotti and Laurent Blanc have publicly admitted that there were times when they were driven to distraction by his propensity for taking players on in his own third of the field. The Italy midfielder wants to come off the field having enjoyed himself, but admits defeat isn’t always the ultimate satisfaction.
“Football is entertainment,” he once told L’Equipe .
“A BEAUTIFUL TOUCH IS BETTER THAN A PHYSICAL ACTION. SPORT IS BECOMING MORE PHYSICAL, MORE TACTICAL, AND THEREFORE LESS SPECTACULAR, BECAUSE TEAMS ARE AFRAID OF LOSING.”
“THEN, WE SLEPT IN THE CAR FOR TWO WEEKS. DURING THE PERIOD AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE, I EVEN STOPPED PLAYING FOOTBALL. BUT YOU NEED TO BE STRONG AND LOOK FORWARD; IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO GET OVER DIFFICULT MOMENTS.”
He’s had some tough times on the pitch, too. And his fair share of criticism.
In 2017, former France international Christophe Dugarry infamously questioned both Verratti’s quality and character.
“Verratti is anything but a great player,” the retired forward told RMC Sport. “He’s a good player, but what has he achieved? Every six months he appears in the media asking for a raise, but he is often injured because his way of life is not the right one.
“After Ibrahimovic’s departure [from PSG in 2016], Verratti should have become a leader: instead, it just went to his head thinking he could do whatever he wanted, including going to Barcelona under any circumstances.”
That move never materialised, of course, although not for the want of trying according to Di Campli.
He had told Verratti that if he wanted to be regarded as a true “champion” he would have to leave the “weak” Ligue 1 and prove himself a star in Spain. Barca wanted him too, but instead of signing Verratti from PSG in the summer of 2017, they ended up losing Neymar to the Ligue 1 giants.
In addition, Di Campli claims that his attempts to secure his client a transfer to Catalunya ultimately led to Verratti being pressured into firing him.
Whatever the truth behind that professional break-up, Verratti is probably thankful that he never joined Barcelona, who are still dealing with the devastating financial effects in the wake of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s ill-fated tenure as president.
Italy midfielder Marco Verratti scored twice as Italy beat Turkey – to reach the last 16 of Euro. The -year-old had been out for six weeks with a knee injury, but has now returned to full fitness. Roberto Mancini has a major call to make ahead of Saturday’s last-16 clash with Austria at Wembley.