Simone Perrotta, a name that may not be familiar amongst fans of the Premier League, as he did not score 50 goals a season or beat players with jaw dropping skills, or have his own brand of aftershave, but he worked hard and slowly became one of Italy’s best midfielders, and also arguably, one of the best in Europe.
Perrotta was born in Ashton to Italian parents, though he didn’t stay in England for long, he was still eligible to play for them at international level.
In 1995, Perrotta started his professional career with Reggina, making waves as a youngster, he was soon snapped up by Juventus in 1998, but with the likes of Antonio Conte, Zinedine Zidane and Edgar Davids ruling the midfield, he struggled to get game time, and only made five appearances for the Old Lady.
This led to moves to Bari and Chievo, but it was at AS Roma where Perrotta would re-find the form that had seemingly deserted him from his days at Reggina. In merit of his fine performances for the capital club, he was recalled to the Italy team for EURO 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.
With Roma he won the Coppa Italia three times and also the Supercoppa Italiana twice. His individual highlights at Roma were the man of the match performance in the 6-2 mauling of Inter in the 2006-07 season and his wonderful goal against Siena to keep Roma in the title race in 2008.
Although he won five trophies with Roma, his biggest achievement was playing a starring role in Italy’s World Cup triumph in 2006. After starting and impressing in all seven games, he turned down offers from Chelsea, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Juventus to stay at Roma, because they were the club that gave him his big chance.
Perrotta had good passing ability, was fast and also quite skilful, but he built his reputation on grit, hard work and determination, three areas that seem to be lacking in the modern game, as diving, cheating and fooling the referee seem easier options to the majority of players.
We are unlikely to see a player like Simone Perrotta again, and for that, we thank you Simone, for showing us that working hard can get you what you want.
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