Wednesday August 2 2017
Happy birthday, Giampaolo Pazzini

Today is the 33rd birthday of Verona striker and Italian international Giampaolo Pazzini.

Born in Pescia in Tuscany, the forward started his career with Atalanta and made his competitive debut in Serie B in 2003.

After the Orobici won promotion, the youngster scored three Serie A goals and earned a move to Fiorentina.

Pazzini spent four-and-a-half seasons with the Viola, and despite limited playing time he managed 33 goals in his 134 appearances, many of which came as a substitute.

The 2006-07 season saw him become the first player to score in a competitive game at the new Wembley Stadium, the striker eventually scoring a hat-trick in Italy Under-21s 3-3 draw with England Under-21s.

Frustrated with his limited opportunities, Pazzini moved to Sampdoria in January 2008 for a fee of €9m.

It was in Genoa that he enjoyed the best period of his career, forming a formidable partnership with Antonio Cassano.

The pair were both sold in January 2011 - almost certainly leading to the Blucerchiati’s relegation - with Pazzini having scored 48 goals in 87 games.

That return earned the forward a move to Inter, and he continued his good form at San Siro with 11 goals in 17 Serie A games.

However, the following season brought just eight goals in all competitions and the striker was sold across San Siro to Milan.

It was a similar pattern with the Rossoneri, as Pazzini hit 15 Serie A goals in his debut season before managing just six in the next two.

When his contract expired, Pazzini moved to Verona but the Butei were relegated after a miserable campaign.

However, the striker remained for the Serie B fight and was the division’s top-scorer with 23 goals in 35 games.

He’s now back in Serie A, looking to add to his tally of 107 top flight goals.

Pazzini has also won 25 caps for Italy, scoring against Montenegro, Estonia, Slovenia and Poland.

While the 33-year-old has never retired from international football, his last cap came in a World Cup qualifier against Malta in September 2012.