Saturday April 5 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Berardi

Domenico Berardi has the potential and tactical use to make Cesare Prandelli’s World Cup squad, argues Livio Caferoglu.

Domenico Berardi will have Giuseppe Bergomi firmly in his sights if he is selected to form part of Italy’s World Cup squad this summer.

The 19-year-old may not have any personal or professional ties with the former Inter defender, but if he is serious about his Azzurri aspirations, then he would have studied the man affectionately known as Lo Zio closely, to take inspiration from his performances in 1982.

Despite just one full season of Serie A football behind him, Bergomi showed enough maturity to warrant starting places in the Azzurri’s last two matches of the tournament and not to mention looking fearlessly at home alongside legendary liberi Franco Baresi and Gaetano Scirea.

Fast forward to 2014, and Berardi could be set to emulate the World Cup-winning hero. Starring en route to Sassuolo’s unlikely promotion last term, a further 12 goals in 23 appearances in his debut top-flight campaign have shown that he is not afraid to mix it with the big boys.

Berardi wasn’t afraid to break a few records on the way either. Only two months after his hat-trick against Sampdoria, he became the first player in history to score four goals against Milan and the second player since the legendary Silvio Piola to net a quadruple of strikes in a Serie A match.

Thanks to his impending transfer to Juventus, which was wrapped up shortly after the new season had kicked off, his head wasn’t turned by the rumour mill, like so many others previous to him, even if he has so far failed to revisit those heights in the games that have passed.

Much like his contemporaries, the lightning-quick Berardi normally operates on the right-hand side of an attacking trident, although he has been deployed as a centre forward by Eusebio Di Francesco. His signature move is to cut inside with his left foot and pepper the opposing goal with snapshots.

As shown by his six assists, he is also able to call upon a decisive footballing brain and supply a teammate with a devilish cross or sumptuous through-ball, whichever is more suitable in the context of the phase of play.

His exciting style of play has already earned comparisons with the likes of Arjen Robben, but he isn’t without his faults. At 6’1, the Calabrese native has been accused of not fully utilising the considerable frame he is blessed with.

Having just turned 19, Berardi has already been sent off twice in his career, including notably in Sassuolo’s crunch final match of last season against Livorno. Although he is aggressive by nature, that particular trait could easily be mistaken for a dirty streak or lack of big-game mentality.

Nevertheless, not since Mauro Camoranesi have Italy found an attacking winger of such potential star quality, neither must they wait another 20 years like they did in unearthing the Argentine-born ace to succeed Bruno Conti.

In Brazil, Cesare Prandelli is likely to compete with the 4-3-1-2 system, which eliminates the need for wingers, but the 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 cannot be ignored in the event that tactical changes are required, and for that reason alone, Berardi has a definite case to be included.

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Have your say...
I would take him, a 19yr old phenomenon at the World Cup could be what they need and I think he can make some headlines as well. My opinion, he is going to be a star also the best striker in Italy. He will be the next greatest striker to come along since Totti,Baggio,Del Piero. High standards but I really feel like Berardi is something unique and special.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 12:17pm
Okay, so this guy just completed another hat-trick -- against the likes of Fiorentina. Break down his 16 goals this season, that's 3 against Fiorentina, 4 against Milan, 3 against Sampdoria, and various other goals.

Pretty damn impressive for a 19 year old in his first Serie A season. I think we have a World class striker in the making.
on the 7th May, 2014 at 1:28am
I would take him in addition to Cerci. He is left footed too, and can be of help. Left footed players can be confusing to defense.
But knowing the mentality of Prandelli, I do not think he will risk having 3 or 4 hotheaded players together in one team and who can risk getting yellow or even red cards. He is already enough with Balotelli, Verratti, and De Rossi sometimes. So with Berardi things can get really serious.
on the 17th April, 2014 at 11:55pm
I would love to see Prandelli take a risk on him - but truthfully I don't think he is ready. A lot of his goals this season have been penalties and he needs to play for the u21s before making this step up.
Would love to see him and Gabbiadini return to Juve next season though!
on the 10th April, 2014 at 1:26pm
Instinctually I say yes but when there is only room for 23 and so many forwards scoring goals, he has to wait. Too disrespectful to bring him over a Cerci or even Immobile imo.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 10:56pm
No doubt, he will be called up. Probably not for Brazil but I can see him in the squad for the Euros. Personally, I would call him but CP has quite a few in his mind who have already been called up. This boy with the right mentor will be well know world wide. I hope he doesn't lose his head.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 12:47pm
Point of correction Franco Baresi did not play a single minute in 1982 to the best of my knowledge. I have not seen much of Beradi but I think Prandelli would have to have a heart, brain and every other bypass to take him. Not because he is not good enough but mainly because Prandelli has his favourites and form pays little part in his choices it seems. Does anyone here think that Giaccherini would not be on the plane to Brazil if fit?
on the 7th April, 2014 at 1:06am
It’s a shame Conte doesn’t take him back from Sassuolo, and plays him instead of Osvaldo. To me, if he was a regular in Juventus, then I think Prandelli would take chance for the world cup. Seen him a couple of times, and been impressed, especially against AC Milan. I think he might just miss out on the world cup, but perhaps be a star for the future. Prandelli is very much into developing the youth, and likes to add new blood. As mentioned earlier on here, perhaps a few games with the Under 21s before he makes the jump.
on the 6th April, 2014 at 11:11am
Definitely a hot prospect but one for the Euros I think.
on the 6th April, 2014 at 9:26am
berardi is a star potential, but lets be honest, most of his goals and assists come from the same games, leaving big gaps of nothing. He's not consistant enough, while Cerci who has a fraction of the talent is. Therefore, Cerci should go.
on the 5th April, 2014 at 10:26pm
I'd rather see Cerci go to be honest.
on the 5th April, 2014 at 6:44pm
How about you start writing about "World Cup Squad Omitter: Osvaldo, Abate, Gilardino, etc " ?
on the 5th April, 2014 at 6:39pm
I don't think he will bring Berardi this summer but he is the striker for the future.
on the 5th April, 2014 at 12:20pm
i think he needs more time with u21 squad and move to middle table team i think then will know if the hype about him was right.
on the 5th April, 2014 at 12:19pm
Why must he be included so badly? And why is he called the only real winger after Mauro Camoranesi? Cerci plays on the same position and has done even better this season. So the obvious choice would be Cerci.
on the 5th April, 2014 at 12:07pm

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