The 22-year old midfielder, was absent against Barcelona,(redcarted) and his inspired playmaking, was missed by his teammates and the Parisian’s club faithful. Will he be on the pitch of Camp Nou, for the return leg , looking for a improbable victory / qualification, versus the Catalans ?(First leg in Parc des Princes 1-3).
He certainly hopes so; the little man (1.65m/5 ft 5 in) is now one of the club’s icons and if his young age is sometimes a handicap, his vision, dribbles and passing skills delight game after game, Paris’ fans.
The Italian International has already a long career behind him; his talent was noticed at an early age, and had many offers to join several Youth Academies, as Atalanta’s and Internazionale’s, but joined his local club Pescara, for 5,000k Euros.(He spent one night at Milan, when the Rossoneri offered him a trial but as he waited a medical, homesickness got the better of him; “He cried and said that he wanted to go back to Pescara”, recalls Antonio Di Batistta, the Head of Pescara’s Academy.)
After an impressive performance for Pescara’s Under -16 team against A.C Milan, the Lombardy club offered 300,000k Euros to sign the youngster. Verratti won the 2012 Bravo Award for the best player under the age of 21 in Europe and was also elected the best player of the 2011-12 Serie B season, along with former Pescara team-mates, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne.
On 18 July 2012, the “Gufetto” * the owls collector, (his hobby) signed a five-year contract with Paris st Germain in the French Ligue 1 and started a new career under the club’s Italian Head Coach Carlo Ancelotti and later with Laurent Blanc. His feats with the Parisians, gained him the award of Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year and was included in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year. He also signed a one-year extension to his contract with PSG keeping him at the club until 2018.
After spending two seasons in the French capital, Verratti became the core of the team’s playmaking; a defensive midfielder cum deep-lying playmaker using his excellent passing as an added + to the game, especially in attacking. His excellent reading of the game, helps him to find the best position, thus bringing impressive results; an average of 2,8 tackles and 1,7 interceptions per game !
Ah, if only he was that good in defense ! Well, he’s not bad but he must continue working; he’s not the kind who tries to hurt physically his opponent, most of his fouls are tactical, but during the current season, after playing 41 games, he got 16 yellows ! Too many for his French coach, even if the player hadn’t got any direct red nor a second yellow in the same game. ” Verratti had taken too many risks, said Blanc in the club’s site, I would prefer to take them in the opponent’s penalty area, than our own.”
“It’s true that he said it to me every time and every time I did it again ! Verratti told So Foot .”After a while, he understood and said to me:” Do what you want, but if you make a mess of it, I’ll kill you”. “I know it’ll happen one day; sooner or later I’ll lose the ball and it’ll cost us a goal. That day, Blanc will kill me and he’ll be right to do it”.Football, is such a risky business !
After missing the first leg, the young Italian is set to face Barcelona and his Worldstar, Leo Messi: “He’s the toughest and the most beautiful to watch” he told L’Equipe, when asked if Messi was his sternest adversary.”I have played against greats like Ronaldo and Hazard, but I love watching Messi’s touch of the ball and his unique style.”
The Parisian midfielder has been regularly earmarked as Italy’s long term successor to Juventus star Andrea Pirlo and the 22-year-old says that he would love to, even if their style of play is a bit different.
“Pirlo has won everything : the World Cup, the Champions League … It’s a great honour to be compared to him said the 22 year old. ” I hope to have his career”. His teammate, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, knows already the end of the story:
“Italy can relax for the next World Cup as they already have an alternative to Pirlo and his name is Marco Verratti” #Zlatan#Predictions