Nicola Legrottaglie (Italian pronunciation: [niˈkɔːla leɡrotˈtaʎʎe]; born 20 October 1976) is an Italian retired footballer who played as a central defender, and the current technical area director of Sampdoria.

Nicola Legrottaglie
Legrottaglie in 2010
Personal information
Date of birth (1976-10-20) 20 October 1976 (age 47)[1]
Place of birth Gioia del Colle, Italy[1]
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Position(s) Centre back
Team information
Current team
Sampdoria (technical area director)
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1998 Bari 17 (0)
1996–1997Pistoiese (loan) 31 (3)
1997–1998Prato (loan) 26 (0)
1998–2003 Chievo 66 (6)
2000Reggiana (loan) 4 (1)
2000–2001Modena (co-ownership) 32 (1)
2003–2011 Juventus 114 (8)
2005Bologna (loan) 9 (0)
2005–2006Siena (loan) 28 (0)
2011 Milan 1 (0)
2011–2014 Catania 76 (8)
Total 404 (27)
International career
2002–2009 Italy 16 (1)
Managerial career
2014–2015 Bari (youth)
2015–2016 Akragas
2017 Cagliari (assistant)
2019–2020 Pescara (youth)
2020 Pescara
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

In a senior career that lasted two full decades, he amassed Serie A totals of 259 matches and 22 goals over 12 seasons, representing in the competition Chievo, Juventus, Bologna, Siena, Milan and Catania. He won the 2011 national championship with the fifth club.

Legrottaglie earned 16 caps for Italy, appearing for the nation at the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Club career edit

Early years and Chievo edit

Born in Gioia del Colle, Province of Bari, Legrottaglie began his career with A.S. Bari, having loan spells at A.C. Pistoiese and A.C. Prato. Following his return in June 1998 he was sold to A.C. ChievoVerona of the Serie B,[2] appearing rarely in his second season with the team and, in January 2000, moved on loan to A.C. Reggiana 1919 in the third division; with his new club he also found playing opportunities hard to come by and, after his return to Verona, moved to the same level and also on loan, now with Modena FC.

Legrottaglie was ever-present in the starting XI during his spell at Modena, subsequently returning to Chievo for their first-ever season in Serie A. He only appeared in 15 games as the team qualified for the UEFA Cup; in his second season, the defender established himself as a top division player, scoring four goals in 32 league appearances to help to another comfortable mid-table finish (seventh).

Juventus edit

In the 2003 off-season, Legrottaglie was rewarded with a move to Juventus FC.[3] The club paid 7.55million for his services to Chievo, €0.45 million being used in selling 50% of the rights to Giuseppe Sculli, Matteo Paro and Daniele Gastaldello.[4]

Legrottaglie was a full member of the first-team squad in the 2003–04 season, taking part in 21 games and netting twice under coach Marcello Lippi. However, his poor performances during his debut season saw him win the 2004 Bidone d'Oro Award, which is given to the worst Serie A player in a particular season.[5] Following the appointment of new manager Fabio Capello he fell down the defensive pecking order, making just two appearances in five months; he thus moved on loan to Bologna F.C. 1909 in the 2005 January transfer window, playing 11 matches – including twice in the promotion playoffs – for the Emilia-Romagna side.[6]

Legrotagglie playing for Juventus in 2008

Legrottaglie returned to Juventus in the summer of 2005, but was instantly loaned out to A.C. Siena for the 2005–06 campaign,[6] alongside teammate Igor Tudor and some youth players. While at the latter he was again a regular, as his team finally avoided relegation.

Back at Juve, and as an experienced player, Legrottaglie was expected to play a role in the club's attempt to return to the top level following the 2006 Calciopoli scandal. However, he would only take the field in ten fixtures out of 42 – also being shown a red card – in a promotion as champions.

Subsequently, Legrottaglie came very close to complete a transfer to Beşiktaş J.K. on a three-year contract, worth £1.1 million per season. The Turkish were set to pay £1.6 million to acquire his services, but negotiations broke down at the last minute and hence, the player remained in Torino; under Claudio Ranieri he started the new season right where he left off, on the substitutes' bench, being fourth-choice behind Jorge Andrade, Jean-Alain Boumsong and Domenico Criscito.[7]

Just four matches into the season, however, a serious knee injury sidelined Andrade for several months,[7] and Legrottaglie was promoted to the starting eleven for the game against Reggina Calcio on 26 September, scoring the opener in a 4–0 rout.[8] Criscito was loaned out to Genoa C.F.C. in January 2008 and, from then onwards, he paired with Giorgio Chiellini in central defence as the side allowed just nine goals in the first 14 matches following Andrade's injury (37 overall), finishing in third place; his contract ran originally until 30 June 2008, but in October 2007, due to his excellent form, he was awarded a two-year extension.[9]

In 2008–09, Legrottaglie continued to be first-choice despite the arrival of Olof Mellberg from Aston Villa (Andrade also was expected to return to first-team action, but he suffered a second serious knee injury).[10] In September 2008, one month shy of his 32nd birthday, he signed another deal until June 2011, and played 27 league matches in a runner-up finish, thus qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the second consecutive year; veteran Fabio Cannavaro returned to the club following his spell with Real Madrid, and this relegated him to the bench for parts of the 2009–10 campaign – he ended with 19 league appearances, netting once.[11]

Legrottaglie was injured during training in late May 2010, and thus missed out on the United States tour.[12]

Milan edit

On 31 January 2011, after Juventus signed central defender Andrea Barzagli, the 34-year-old Legrottaglie – who made just eight appearances in all competitions comprised during the first half of the season, under new manager Luigi Delneri – left on a free transfer for fellow league side A.C. Milan, signing a six-month deal.[13] However, he was only able to make one league appearance for the eventual champions due to a serious head injury suffered during a 0–0 draw with S.S. Lazio.[14][15]

Legrottaglie was released on 30 June, following the expiration of his contract.

Catania edit

On 24 August 2011, Legrottaglie joined Calcio Catania on a two-year contract. He scored on his official debut, a 3–3 away draw against Novara Calcio.[16]

Legrottaglie revived his career overall under Vincenzo Montella. He finished 2011–12 with 35 official games and six goals, helping the Sicilians to a fourth successive season in which they broke their record points total in Serie A, finishing 11th.[17][18][19][20]

International career edit

Legrottaglie made his debut for Italy on 20 November 2002, in a friendly match with Turkey in Pescara,[21] and went on to appear in a further six matches in a one-year span, mostly friendlies. He scored his only goal in April 2003, in a 2–1 victory over Switzerland.[22]

Following solid performances at Juventus, Legrottaglie received his first cap in four years, appearing in a friendly against Austria while filling in for injured teammate Chiellini in an 18 August 2008 contest held in Nice. His former Juventus coach Lippi was in charge of the national team.

On 2 May 2010, 33-year-old Legrottaglie was included in a 29-man provisional list for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, attending the training camp in Rome,[23] but was subsequently dropped from the 30-player list submitted to FIFA on the 11th, with Villarreal CF's Giuseppe Rossi and A.S. Roma's Daniele De Rossi taking his place.[24] His only major international tournament was the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa,[25] with Italy exiting in the group stage.[26]

Coaching and managerial career edit

Legrottaglie retired at the end of the 2013–14 campaign as Catania suffered top-flight relegation, aged nearly 38. He then returned to Bari after 18 years, being appointed under-17 team manager.[27]

Legrottaglie took his first role as a head coach in July 2015, accepting an offer from Sicilian Lega Pro club S.S. Akragas Città dei Templi.[28] He resigned the following January due to poor results[29] and, on 9 January 2017, was named new assistant to Massimo Rastelli at Cagliari Calcio in the Italian top division;[30] in October, as the latter was dismissed, he too left.[31]

On 24 June 2019, Legrottaglie was announced as the new under-19 manager of Delfino Pescara 1936, replacing Luciano Zauri after the latter's promotion as first-team manager.[32] On 21 January 2020, he was promoted to head coach after Zauri's resignation from his post.[33]

On 28 June 2023, Legrottaglie was officially unveiled as the new "head of performance" (technical area director) of Sampdoria after the club's takeover by a consortium led by Andrea Radrizzani, working alongside first team head coach and former Juventus teammate Andrea Pirlo.[34]

Style of play edit

Legrottaglie was praised by pundits for his physical attributes and his ability in the air, making him a goal threat from set pieces.[35] A strong yet elegant player, he excelled in sliding challenges and at organising high defensive lines, also being gifted with good technical ability, passing range and vision, which allowed him to advance into the midfield. He was also tactically versatile, excelling at reading the game and possessing a powerful shot from distance.

Despite his reputation, Legrottaglie was also criticised at times for inconsistency and lapses in man-marking.[35]

Personal life edit

Legrottaglie attracted controversy when he condemned homosexuality in his 2009 autobiography, calling it a "sin" according to his Christian beliefs.[36] He is a member of the Italian Evangelical Alliance (an offspring of the World Evangelical Alliance), a Protestant charismatic denomination, and of the Athletes of Christ.[37] Also for reasons of faith, he did not have sexual intercourses with his wife Erika for the five years before their marriage.[38]

Career statistics edit

Score and result list Italy's goal tally first, score column indicates score after Legrottaglie goal.
International goal scored by Nicola Legrottaglie
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 30 April 2003 Geneva, Switzerland    Switzerland 2–1 Friendly[22]

Managerial statistics edit

As of 6 July 2020

Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Akragas   23 July 2015 17 January 2016 23 9 4 10 039.13
Pescara (youth)   24 June 2019 20 January 2020 16 4 2 10 025.00
Pescara   21 January 2020 6 July 2020 12 4 1 7 033.33
Total 51 17 7 27 033.33

Honours edit



References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Nicola Legrottaglie". Eurosport. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  2. ^ Laudisa, Carlo (5 June 1998). "Bologna: passi avanti per Esposito e Morfeo" [Bologna: moves for Esposito and Morfeo]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 9 April 2010.
  3. ^ "Legrottaglie relishing Juve move". UEFA. 19 June 2003. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Juventus Football Club: Accordo con la società A.C. Chievo Verona per l'acquisizione del calciatore Nicola Legrottaglie" [Juventus Football Club: Deal with A.C. Chievo Verona for acquisition of footballer Nicola Legrottaglie] (PDF) (in Italian). Juventus F.C. 19 June 2003. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
  5. ^ Specchia, Francesco (13 December 2010). "Adriano vince il Bidone d'Oro 2010" [Adriano wins the 2010 Golden Bin] (in Italian). Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Gli eroi in bianconero: Nicola LEGROTTAGLIE" [The heroes in black and white: Nicola LEGROTTAGLIE] (in Italian). Tutto Juve. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b Mauro, Alberto (28 September 2007). "Legrottaglie, la rivincita – "Dimostrerò chi sono"" [Legrottaglie, the claim – "I will show my worth"]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Juventus 4–0 Reggina". ESPN Soccernet. 26 September 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  9. ^ Calfapietra, Alessio (29 October 2007). "UFFICIALE: Legrottaglie rinnova con la Juventus" [OFFICIAL: Legrottaglie renews with Juventus] (in Italian). Tutto Mercato Web. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  10. ^ Mauro, Alberto (8 January 2009). "Legrottaglie: "Un altro gol? Al Siena sarebbe magico"" [Legrottaglie: "Another goal? It would be magical against Siena"]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Il fotoracconto di Livorno-Juventus" [The Livorno-Juventus photo gallery] (in Italian). Sky Sport. 6 February 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Juventus land in New York". Juventus F.C. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  13. ^ "Legrottaglie joins Milan". Juventus F.C. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  14. ^ "Leaders held to stalemate". ESPN Soccernet. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  15. ^ "Milan: Bonera e Legrottaglie in ospedale" [Milan: Bonera and Legrottaglie in hospital]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 1 February 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Novara 3–3 Catania". ESPN Soccernet. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Legrottaglie-gol, Catania "europeo"" [Legrottaglie-goal, "European" Catania] (in Italian). Sport Media Set. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  18. ^ Finocchiaro, Giovanni (29 March 2012). "Catania, profumo d'Europa – Montella guida il Piccolo Barcellona" [Catania, scent of Europe – Montella at the helm of Little Barcelona]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Catania, Legrottaglie: "Montella un predestinato"" [Catania, Legrottaglie: “Montella is a natural”] (in Italian). Calcio News 24. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  20. ^ Gamberini, Daniele (7 May 2012). "Legrottaglie-Catania, amore che durerà a lungo: "Mi sono trovato benissimo, da qui non mi muovo"" [Legrottaglie-Catania, love to last forever: "I felt terrific, I'm staying put"] (in Italian). Goal. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  21. ^ "Italia-Turchia (1–1)" [Italy-Turkey (1–1)] (in Italian). Italia 1910. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Italia-Svizzera (2–1)" [Italy-Switzerland (2–1)] (in Italian). Italia 1910. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  23. ^ "Verso il Mondiale. Ventinove Azzurri convocati per lo stage di Roma" [Towards the World Cup. Twenty-nine Blues called to training camp in Rome] (in Italian). Italian Football Federation. 2 May 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  24. ^ "Ufficializzata la lista dei 30: C'è Giuseppe Rossi al posto di Legrottaglie" [List of 30 players official: Giuseppe Rossi for Legrottaglie] (in Italian). Italian Football Federation. 11 May 2010. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  25. ^ "Santon in Sud Africa – Pazzini resta fuori" [Santon in South Africa – Pazzini remains excluded]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 4 June 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  26. ^ White, Duncan (21 June 2009). "Confederations Cup: Brazil and Kaka humiliate Italy". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  27. ^ Lattanzi, Davide (18 July 2014). "Largo ai giovani, il Bari punta sul vivaio Legrottaglie allenerà gli allievi" [Make way for the young, Bari focus on academy Legrottaglie will coach the students]. Corriere del Mezzogiorno (in Italian). Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  28. ^ "Legrottaglie riparte dalla Sicilia: sarà l'allenatore dell'Akragas" [Legrottaglie leaves for Sicily: he will be Akragas' coach]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 9 January 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  29. ^ "Calciomercato Akragas, Legrottaglie lascia la panchina" [Calciomercato Akragas, Legrottaglie leaves the bench]. Tuttosport (in Italian). 9 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  30. ^ "Legrottaglie nello staff tecnico rossoblù" [Legrottaglie in red-and-blue staff] (in Italian). Cagliari Calcio. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  31. ^ Cadeddu, Sergio (17 October 2017). "Legrottaglie saluta Cagliari: "Rischi del mestiere, grazie a tutti"" [Legrottaglie salutes Cagliari: «Goes with the territory, thanks everybody»] (in Italian). Cagliari News 24. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  32. ^ "Nicola Legrottaglie nuovo allenatore della Primavera del Pescara" [Nicola Legrottaglie new Pescara Primavera manager]. Il Pescara (in Italian). 24 June 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  33. ^ "Pescara, panchina a Legrottaglie: è ufficiale" [Pescara, Legrottaglie to the bench: it's official]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 21 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  34. ^ "Pirlo alla Samp con Legrottaglie, conferenza: "Come la Serie A"". Tuttosport (in Italian). 28 June 2023. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  35. ^ a b "Nicola Legrottaglie – Scheda tecnica" [Nicola Legrottaglie – Technical report] (in Italian). Juventinologo. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  36. ^ Landolina, Salvatore (18 March 2009). "Nicola Legrottaglie insists 'homosexuality is a sin'". Goal. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
  37. ^ "Legrottaglie: "Mi emoziona più Gesù di Juve-Inter"" [Legrottaglie: "Jesus thrills me more than Juventus vs. Inter]. Sky Sport Italia (in Italian). 2 December 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  38. ^ Vernengo, Gabriele Giovanni (28 December 2019). "L'ex calciatore Legrottaglie: "La castità prematrimoniale rende la vita di coppia più felice"" [Ex-footballer Legrottaglie: "Premarital chastity makes life as a couple happier"] (in Italian). Voce Controcorrente. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  39. ^ a b "N. Legrottaglie – Trophies". Soccerway. Retrieved 21 December 2015.

External links edit