Roma’s teen sensation
Full Name: Nicolo Zaniolo
Birthdate: July 2, 1999
Place of Birth: Italy
Football Club (Currently): AS Roma
Position(s): Forward/Attacking Midfield
Playing Years: 2016 to present
Formative Years & Football Career:
Nicolo Zaniolo was born into the game—his father was a professional footballer who played for the likes of Cosenza, Ternana, Messina, and Salernitana in the Serie B. Zaniolo started his youth career at Genoa before transferring to Fiorentina in 2010. In August 2016, he made a move to Virtus Entella, making his debut as a professional player in March 2017 during a match against Benevento in the Serie B. His performances in the league attracted several European elite football clubs, and by summer of the same year, he was bought by Inter Milan.
He played in the Primavera side in the 2017-18 season when he finished as the team’s top goalscorer with 14 goals and 11 assists in his name as well as winning the Campionato Nazionale Primavera. Apart from this, Zaniolo was able to represent Italy in the Under-18 and Under-19 levels when he featured in the 2018 European Championship for the U-19s.
In June 2018, Zaniolo moved to Serie A side Roma on a five-year contract along with Davide Santon as part of a deal negotiation involving Radja Nainggolan’s transfer to Inter Milan. He made his first appearance for Roma and his UEFA Champions League debut on September 19 during a 3-0 loss against Real Madrid. Zaniolo made his Serie A debut just a week later in a 4-0 victory at home against Frosinone.
He further developed his skills under Roma, becoming one of the team’s most crucial players, taking the Serie A by as well as other European competitions by storm. Just recently, he scored two goals in AS Roma’s 2-1 victory against Porto in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 knockout rounds. With this, the 19-year-old just became the youngest Italian player to be able to botch up two goals in a Champions League tie. Roma’s win ended the five match-winning streaks in Europe for Porto.
Nicolo Zaniolo’s terrific form has even been compared to Italian football legend Francisco Totti. His greatness hasn’t gone overlooked though, several football clubs, including Premier League side Chelsea, are reported to be interested in taking him on.
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