With news emerging that the Biancocelesti are keen to tie him down to an extended deal, just how did Luis Alberto end up where he is? Overlooked and dismissed by Liverpool, polished and refined at Lazio, Luis Alberto is a prime example of the value that can still be obtained in today’s ludicrous transfer market.
The Spaniard, who made his International debut in November last year, has long slipped under the radar of Europe’s elite. Despite his eye-catching and obvious technical ability, he has until now eluded the gaze of the masses, and in turn afforded himself the time to grow and find his feet.
Luis Alberto’s rise at Lazio has been under fortuitous circumstances. After the loss of Keita Balde Diao to Monaco in the summer, Alberto has managed to fill the void, effectively combining with Lazio hitman Ciro Immobile. His ascension to one of the most admired players in Serie A has also been aided by Simone Inzaghi’s intuitive and pragmatic methods, and these factors combined with an untapped potential have allowed Alberto to flourish.
In a climate of quick judgement and ignorance, so often are opinions formed on a player in a split second, after one performance, which then burden the player for the rest of his career.
Consistently prefixed with ‘Liverpool Flop’, Alberto’s dismissal is symptomatic of an ignorance which exists in modern football coverage. Similarly, ex-Liverpool man Iago Aspas, despite being a fantastic player, is still remembered for one of the worst corners of all time. Quick judgement is passed and second chances are not afforded in the age of Social Media. Luis Alberto, quietly and brilliantly, is slowly shaking the labels off his back, and is one of, if not the most underrated player in Serie A.
At Liverpool he was often categorised as your typically Spanish technical player, who was no doubt lazily lambasted for lacking the necessarily physicality for the English game. The Spaniard has demonstrated fantastic adaptability in playing as a second striker alongside Immobile.
Demanding both tactical awareness and flexibility, Alberto’s role in Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 is one which has seen him foster a deep understanding between him and Immobile, and the duo have formed what is a perfectly complementary strike force.
Their 5-2 demolition of SPAL in the last round of Serie A games saw Alberto open the scoring and provide Immobile with an assist for his first goal, a combination so effective that Lazio are now one goal off matching Juventus’ table topping 49 goals this season – with a game in hand.
Alberto has so far contributed six goals and eight assists in his 19 Serie A appearances, and has cemented himself as an integral part of Inzaghi’s side. His form this season has been good enough to earn him a call-up to the Spain squad back in November, and links to the likes of Barcelona and Napoli haven’t looked out of place.
Entering his prime at the age of 25, Alberto has finally found his feet at a club willing to give him a chance. Similarly to Milan’s transfer of Suso from Liverpool in 2015, to swipe such a talent from under the nose of the super-rich demonstrates how sides like Lazio can continue to thrive in a restless culture which encourages mindless spending.
With less pressure and a chance to develop organically away from the spotlight, Luis Alberto has grown into the player his early promise suggested. Talks of a new contract are well underway, and Lazio would be crazy not to ensure their Number 18 is bedded into a squad who look destined for consistency at the top end of Serie A.