Monday February 8 2021
Italians abroad: Jorginho and Florenzi shine

Sam Wilson takes a look at Italian players abroad with Jorginho and Alessandro Florenzi who shined with one goal and one assist respectively.

It is very easy to keep track of all the Italians playing in Serie A, as the league is full of them. However, there are a handful of Italian players who play for foreign clubs both inside and outside of Europe.

Most of Italy’s best talent abroad play in Ligue 1 or the Premier League but there are some to keep an eye on in Spain, Germany or even further afield in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Ligue 1

The most exciting game this weekend for Italians abroad was to be found in the French Ligue 1. Le Classique took place and is always a big game in the French football calendar, between Marseille and PSG. PSG took the spoils over their rivals on Sunday night, with a 2-0 victory for the Parisien outfit.

Both Alessandro Florenzi and Marco Verratti featured in PSG’s starting line-up and Florenzi added an assist to his tally when he set up former Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi’s goal to put the visitors 2-0 up with a beautifully placed cross in the 24th minute. Florenzi was substituted off after 88 minutes. On-loan Everton striker Moise Kean came on for the final minutes too but did not have enough time to make any sort of impact. Verratti once again won plaudits for a strong performance, with the midfielder one of the club’s best players this season.

Elsewhere in France, Juventus defender Mattia De Sciglio came on after minutes as a substitute in Lyon’s 3-0 win over Strasbourg.

Premier League

West London is where two of the Italians reside in England, with Emerson and Jorginho signed during Maurizio Sarri’s reign at the helm of the club. Whilst Emerson rarely features in the league, Jorginho is still a first team regular and played a full 90-minutes in the club’s 2-1 victory against Sheffield United. The Italian converted a penalty kick to give the club their second goal, four minutes after an Antonio Rudiger own goal gave the hosts a lifeline. WhoScored selected Jorginho as their MOTM, with a 7.7 rating thanks to his goal, 4 tackles and 87% pass accuracy.

Elsewhere in England, Angelo Ogbonna played 90 minutes and kept a clean sheet in an otherwise disappointing game in which West Ham drew 0-0 with relegation candidates Fulham. In the Championship, former Bologna defender Adam Masina also kept a clean sheet as his Watford side drew 0-0 away to Coventry.

All the Rest

In Germany, Vincenzo Grifo was involved in one of the shock results of the weekend, playing 77 minutes as Freiburg defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1, assisting Woo-Yeong Jeong’s opener in the 49th minute as the South Korean fired a long-range shot into the back of the net. Grifo played well throughout the game and will be extremely happy with his side’s victory.

In La Liga, former Milan forward Patrick Cutrone, on loan from Premier League side Wolves, made his debut for Valencia in a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao. Cutrone came on as a substitute and played the final 25 minutes of the match in which the east coast side picked up a valuable point on the road.

Finally, former Liverpool and Milan midfielder Fabio Borini continued his good form in the Turkish Super Lig as Faith Karagumruk secured a 1-0 win away to giants Istanbul Basaksehir. The Italian played 82 minutes as his side remain 8th in the league table in their first Super Lig appearance since 1984.


Have your say...
English football has always relied upon non-English players, although in the past they were Scots, Irish or Welsh. I'm old enough to remember Liverpool under Paisley; Dalglish, Souness, Rush, etc. I think the 1984 team that won the EC had only one English player but only one from outside the UK. The Spurs double team of 1961; White, Mackay, Blanchflower., Jones.
on the 19th February, 2021 at 10:07am
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on the 19th February, 2021 at 9:10am
The EPL is such a GREAT league and yet, England does squat - year in and year out.. Very time I think of Italy games vs England, I can only recall Italy mostly outplaying the English.. You figure if the EPL is such a great league, why is it that England hasn't won a single International trophy in 53 years????? Ma va.

And if there is a dearth of quality Italians abroad it's because Italians prefer to stay in Italy. I don't blame them. who'd want to play in cold, miserable rain & eat crap food?
on the 16th February, 2021 at 3:40am

Yeah I always use those examples to my pals when they're banging on about how good the Prem is, and also the more recent example of Eriksen who was for 3/4 years one of the best players in the Prem. I just would love to go to the pub (When we can) and my pals be like "Mate that Barella is soooo good! With him, Locatelli, Zaniolo Chiesa, Bastoni, Donna, the future looks good for Italy" Instead they don't even know who half those players are. Ah well, come the Euros they'll see
on the 11th February, 2021 at 10:19am
There is this great resentment towards Serie A from fans of other leagues, so I tend to boycott their Championships as well.
A weekly (bi-monthly/ monthly?) update on Italians playing abroad would be a cool feature & much appreciated.
on the 10th February, 2021 at 6:34pm
Great recap, LucaC.
People don't understand how much positive publicity Atalanta brings Serie A! We can be extremely proud of them.

Sadly, Juventus can do the opposite effect if they continue with the Catenaccio style they displayed against Roma/ Inter.
Winning "ugly"... is UGLY. It only brings dissatisfaction & resentment from other fans as winning in this manner appears "lucky" as well.

Anyway, you forgot that Salah & Alisson set the World on fire when they transferred to EPL. ;)
on the 10th February, 2021 at 6:14pm
@Kledi, it could be a lack of ambition, it could also be a combination of him loving Paris, his very high wages and PSG wanting a crazy fee. It is a great pity that there's a possibility that we'll never see him, in his prime, in Italy or at one of the Spanish/English giants. When he's fit, not suspended, he is one of the best central midfielders that I have seen, supremely composed, a terrific dribbler and an absolute joy to watch.
on the 10th February, 2021 at 9:58am

I agree completely that those who went to the prem weren't good enough which is why they failed. I also agree the Prem is overrated but you can't argue the spectacle of watching premier league games is the best in the world. Not in terms of the quality of the football but the quality of the pitches, stadiums etc. You very rarely see a poor quality pitch in England. If you watch a Prem game then flick over to a Serie A game it looks like watching League 1 sometimes.
on the 10th February, 2021 at 9:36am
Marco Verratti is a special talent he will play in any team as a first starter if not for injuries i rate Verratti in top 3 midfielders in the world...he should be more ambitious and play in Italy or Spain PSG are good but is the only team that anyone outside France watch.

Italian league has grown a lot in past few seasons and last year was voted the best league in the world...Italian league has out scored top 5 leagues in Europe....they just have to build more stadiums.
on the 9th February, 2021 at 6:52pm
@lucaC I agree with you on the stadiums....Italian teams need to build new stadiums...I don’t agree with you that Italians can’t do it in premier league the only reason that those players you mentioned it’s because they are not god enough...good Italian players play in Italy and they don’t want to come to the premier league....for me epl is so overrated because of the money....they have never dominated Europe except for 2018/2019 one year....spanish league has been the best for so many years.
on the 9th February, 2021 at 6:43pm
This article is a great update for us fans that don't watch these other leagues regularly. Really enjoyed the read.
on the 9th February, 2021 at 6:11pm
Good feature, keep these updates coming.
on the 9th February, 2021 at 4:44pm

Verratti is probably the closet to a Bruno type doing it abroad but the French league isn't the most viewed and in Europe he's often Injured. I'm all for Serie A being full of local talent and especially the big clubs having a core of Italian players. However if a few could go to the prem and perform well it would only improve the perception of Italian football across the world.
on the 9th February, 2021 at 9:47am
Lastly, The Italian exports in recent times have been mostly average. Darmian, Emerson and Kean were awful in the Prem, Jorginho has done well but has his critics. Italy desperately need a "cool" player to perform in other leagues to increase the overall reputation. When was the last time Italy had a Bruno Fernandes or Van Dijk who goes to a foreign league and everyone universally rates highly and thinks is "cool".
on the 9th February, 2021 at 9:44am

Secondly is the perception of the league being defensive and boring. Whilst most people have accepted this is no longer true and Serie A actually has a lot of goals, aside from Atalanta most teams play a slower, more tactical style which can be hard to watch at times, especially when you combine that with a bobbly pitch and half empty stadium. The likes of Atalanta performing on a European stage playing exciting football is exactly what Serie A needs to win more fans. We need more of this.
on the 9th February, 2021 at 9:39am

First is the overall product. The stadiums are mostly old and half full, the pitches are often poor giving a poor visual. Sure when San Siro or Olimpico is full for the derby there's nothing like it in terms of atmosphere and visuals but that is to infrequent of an occurrence. From an outsiders point of view if the locals aren't going to bother turning up to watch why should I bother watching. New Stadiums will solve a lot of these problems if they can ever get built that is.
on the 9th February, 2021 at 9:36am
1. For some reason Italians and Serie A don't seem to get the hype that other nations players and leagues get, at least in the UK. All my friends know a lot about La Liga, the Bundesliga, who the next youngster from France or more recently Portugal is but for some reason they care little about Serie A, most of them have never heard of the likes of Barella, Locatelli or Bastoni. I put it down to a number of factors, some of which are true, some of which are outdated and a massive generalisation.
on the 9th February, 2021 at 9:33am

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