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Santon with Inter Milan in August 2009
|Full name||Davide Santon|
|Date of birth||2 January 1991|
|Place of birth||Portomaggiore, Italy|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position(s)||Right back|
|2011||→ Cesena (loan)||11||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:30, 1 March 2020 (UTC)|
A former Inter Milan youth product, Santon began his professional club career with Inter in 2008, and remained with the club until 2011, aside from a spell on loan with Cesena. He later had a spell with English club Newcastle United, before returning to Inter in 2015.
At international level, Santon made his senior debut with Italy in 2009, and also represented his nation at the FIFA Confederations Cup later that year.
At the age of 14, Santon joined Inter Milan's youth system from Ravenna. He started out as a winger before moving into a defensive role. After helping the Inter Milan under-20 side win the 2006–07 Campionato Nazionale Primavera and reaching the final play-off for a second consecutive season, he was called up to join the first team for the 2008–09 pre-season training in South Tyrol and training sessions during the first half of the season.
José Mourinho first named Santon in the line up for a September UEFA Champions League match against Panathinaikos and the next three games, but did not use him. On 21 January 2009, Santon made his debut in the Coppa Italia quarter-final win against Roma, playing the entire match. Four days later, he made his Serie A debut in a 1–0 victory against Sampdoria. He made his European debut in the home draw against Manchester United, tasked with marking Cristiano Ronaldo. Santon garnered praise for his performance prompting Ronaldo to comment, "I was impressed by Santon, he is a really interesting lad and a great footballer." Mourinho praised Santon for his personality and tactical versatility and Santon was handed the starting role for the next game. He started 13 league games and made two substitute appearances, thus winning his first senior honour, the 2008–09 Serie A title.
Santon made his first appearance for Inter in the 2009–10 season against Parma on the third game of the season, and subsequently started the game against Cagliari the following week. He was out until the New Year after sustaining a right knee lateral meniscus injury while on international duty. He made his return in January as a substitute against Bari and was called back into the starting eleven to replace the injured Cristian Chivu. However, his return was short-lived as he injured the same knee again after returning too soon from the previous injury and required surgery, thus sidelining him for another three to five weeks.
During the 2010–11 season, Santon first served as an understudy of Cristian Chivu, but after Maicon's injury (and a later injury to Chivu), Santon returned to the starting line-up in November (save for the Derby della Madonnina against Milan and matchday 5 of the Champions League). He then played twice as a right wing-forward due to the injury crisis at Inter, the first one in a 5–2 win against Parma. In that match, manager Rafael Benítez preferred Iván Córdoba and Javier Zanetti in both full back positions, as well as for the Champions League against Twente.
Santon returned to Inter in the summer. Under new coach Gian Piero Gasperini, Santon often played as a wing-back in their 3–4–3 formation in the friendlies. Near the end of the summer transfer window, however, the club kept Davide Faraoni as backup wing-back and sold Santon.
On 30 August 2011, Santon signed for English club Newcastle United on a five-year contract, for an undisclosed fee; according to Inter, Santon was sold for €4 million. He made his Newcastle debut on 16 October 2011 as a second-half substitute against Tottenham Hotspur. He went on to make his first Premier League start for the club in December away against Norwich City, before making his full home debut the next week against Swansea City. He set up Papiss Cissé's first goal in the Magpies' shock win at Chelsea in the 19th minute. Halfway through the 2012–13 season, Santon was the only Newcastle player to have started every Premier League match. In the 3–2 win over Chelsea on 2 February 2013, he assisted the first goal with a cross for Jonás Gutiérrez, and the winning goal scored by Moussa Sissoko. He scored his first goal for Newcastle on 17 March, an equaliser against Wigan Athletic.
Return to InterEdit
After losing his first-team place to Paul Dummett, Santon returned to Inter in the 2015 January transfer window on loan, with an option to buy in the summer. Santon was also eligible to one of the four quota for club-trained players in UEFA competitions, otherwise Inter's squad would be forced to be reduced by vacating the quota. (Inter filled the quota with reserve players Giacomo Sciacca and Isaac Donkor, first team player Rene Krhin (first half), Joel Obi and Marco Andreolli in the 2014–15 season) The loan was made permanent in summer 2015. According to Inter, the transfer (including agent fee and other costs) had cost the club €4.893 million.
Santon was once available in the 2016 transfer market, which Sunderland were in negotiations with Inter, as well as an alleged failed medical at West Ham United. However, Santon remained in Inter's squad, as they only had three available players eligible for the aforementioned quota in 2016–17 UEFA Europa League (himself, Marco Andreolli and Jonathan Biabiany), with Serie A also imposing a similar homegrown rule. The club was also forced to reduce the European squad to a maximum of 22 as a penalty for breaching UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations. Eventually Inter had a 21-men squad, with one quota for an Inter youth product not used.
Santon was an unused substitute for Inter in the opening match of 2016–17 UEFA Europa League; he was the starting full-back in their 2–1 win over defending Serie A champions Juventus in the Derby d'Italia.
After Frank de Boer was sacked in 2016, Santon was rarely used by new coach Stefano Pioli. In 2017–18 season, he was included in Luciano Spalletti's pre-season camp in July 2017. However, Santon was left out from the squad to Asia due to injury.
In June 2018, it was reported that Santon and Nicolò Zaniolo would joined Roma as part of the deal of Radja Nainggolan to Inter. Santon and Zaniolo arrived in Rome for medicals on 25 June. The transfers were completed on 26 June, which Santon had a price tag of €9.5 million, signing a 4-year contract.
Santon has played for Italy from under-16 level and made his goal-scoring debut in April 2007 in a 3–1 win over Slovenia. On 31 March 2009, he made his debut for the under-21 squad in a friendly against the Netherlands, played at Parkstad Limburg Stadion, Kerkrade, which ended in a 1–1 draw.
Santon made his debut with the senior Italian team at age 18, on 6 June 2009 in a friendly match against Northern Ireland, played in Pisa. On the same night future Newcastle teammate Shane Ferguson made his debut as a substitute for the visitors. He played the whole match and his solid performances in Italy's 3–0 win earned him praise from his peers as well as coach Marcello Lippi. Lippi was impressed enough to name him in the roster for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, but Santon did not manage to make an appearance in the tournament as Italy went out in the first round. After some strong performances since signing with Newcastle United, Santon was recalled to the national team under manager Cesare Prandelli for the friendly against France in November 2012, however Santon did not come off the bench in the 2–1 home defeat. He started his next game for Italy, earning his eighth international cap, in a 1–1 friendly draw against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on 6 February 2013.
Style of playEdit
Although Santon is usually deployed as a left-back, he is naturally right-footed and started his youth career as a right-sided attacker or winger, later reverting to an attacking full-back or wing-back who can play on both sides of the pitch; he is known in particular for his pacy, energetic runs up and down the flank. Santon also possesses significant physical strength, as well as good dribbling technique and defensive awareness. Regarded as a promising player in his youth, his precocious displays for Inter and Italy in 2009 led his coaches at the time, José Mourinho and Marcello Lippi respectively, to describe him as a "predestined player", also comparing him to legendary Italian left-backs such as Paolo Maldini and Giacinto Facchetti. In 2010, he was included in the Don Balón list of the best young footballers in the world, born after 1989.
Santon is in a relationship with Chloe Sanderson. She gave birth to their daughter on 21 May 2013.
- As of match played 1 March 2020
|Club||Season||League||Cup [nb 1]||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Inter Milan||2008–09||Serie A||16||0||1||0||—||2[a]||0||0||0||20||0|
|Cesena (loan)||2010–11||Serie A||11||0||0||0||—||—||—||11||0|
|Newcastle United||2011–12||Premier League||24||0||2||0||1||0||—||—||27||0|
|Inter Milan||2014–15||Serie A||9||0||1||0||—||4[c]||0||—||14||0|
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- Unofficial fans website
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