Italy’s Shining Light: Domenico Berardi

Harry Burford

Our seemingly never-ending desire for frenzied, transfer-fuelled excitement was by most accounts – largely fulfilled and satisfied throughout the recently closed summer window. With a whole host of promising talents opting to leave their current employers and try their hand at something new this year, the upcoming 2017/18 campaign is bound to prove one of great adventure and unpredictability.

The Italian Serie A, in particular, was privy to a wide array of big money movement and ambitious dealing all across the board. AC Milan have sought to bolster their once withering title hopes with a selection of well-sourced acquisitions, Juventus also find themselves strengthening with the ambitious capture of Bayern Munich’s Douglas Costa – whilst Borja Valero’s recent switch to Internazionale is bound to ruffle a feather or two within the lower rungs of the Italian top-flight.

Having said that, one player who failed to engineer a move away this summer must nonetheless arrive in the form of Sassuolo’s 23-year-old winger – Domenico Berardi. A hotly anticipated switch was seemingly expected of the emerging Italian attacker after impressing the Neroverdi faithful on a number of consecutive occasions, but despite the reported interest from elsewhere, such an outcome simply wasn’t to be.

Now, Berardi is embarking upon his sixth senior season in front of the MAPEI Stadium supporters in what could well prove to be the most profitable domestic campaign of his entire career. Should he serve to vindicate all the early promise surrounding his emerging status within the Italian top-flight, talk of that impending switch away from the Neroverdi will once again rise to the forefront.

Although the wide-man still remains well within the early stages of his emerging top-flight career, Berardi has actually been operating at Sassuolo for a string of fruitful seasons now. He first burst onto the scene as an inexperienced young rookie looking to make his mark upon the 2012/13 campaign, a season in which the up and coming Modena-based club sought to propel themselves right to the very top of Serie B and achieve hard-fought promotion to the Italian top-flight.

Sassuolo’s cause was a successful one, thanks partially to the efforts of their rapidly blossoming teenage sensation. Domenico Berardi would go on to record 11 goals and six impressive assists that season, among a resoundingly solid debut campaign that would soon ignite his upcoming rise to prominence within the upper echelons of the Italian game.

His form continued to shine among Serie A, with mounting interest from none other than the grand Old Lady herself ascending on the horizon. Juventus eventually saw fit to strike a mysterious co-ownership deal with Sassuolo over the young winger’s services in the summer of 2013 – yet after a further flurry of subsequent toing and froing between the two bolshie Italian clubs – the proud Neroverdi once again retained their man on a permanent basis, securing Berardi’s signature for a reported fee in the region of £7million.

But whilst the strange parameters surrounding Berardi’s previous dual-club ownership remains somewhat puzzling on the surface – as is sometimes the case within the often murky world of top-flight Italian football – the winger’s flourishing ability out on the pitch for Sassuolo proved far from ambiguous or inconclusive.

Due to his remarkably potent acceleration and increasing dribbling prowess inside the final third, the Italian national team are clearly expected to find room for Berardi in time for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Alongside the likes of Torino’s Andrea Belotti and former Fiorentina favourite Federico Bernardeschi – the quick-footed winger is fast developing into one of the brightest young stars across the entire spectrum of Italian football.

If the up and coming Sassuolo favourite is to eventually take Serie A by storm and announce his undeniable promise in the most efficient fashion possible, however, Berardi must see to his outstanding discipline issues rather quickly.

The winger is widely admired for his passionate displays and fiery charisma – but as was noticed among an unfortunate 2-1 defeat at the hands of Genoa back in November of 2015 – such an attitude may serve to hold the Italian back should he prove unable to apply himself with more tact and discretion in the near future.

The 23-year-old admittedly endured something of a forgettable season last term due to several ongoing injury concerns that kept him secluded from the first-team spot-light – and it’s true, Berardi must work on his overall discipline and consistency levels to be considered worthy of fulfilling his undoubted potential.

But with a whole host of elite European clubs seeking to land his services over the coming season, and the 2018 World Cup in Russia also perched patiently on the horizon, maybe it’s only a matter of time before Domenico Berardi soon finds himself moving on to bigger and better things…

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