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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Antonio Candreva

Antonio Candreva is a really exciting player. After an initial part of career where none of his managers really knew what to do with him, Edy Reja put him on the right wing and both Lazio and the Nazionale benefited immensely. Unfortunately he made a number of bad decisions in his career and has never really expressed his full potential.


Antonio Candreva was born in Rome on February 28 1987. After playing for the local Roman team Tor de’ Cenci, he joined Rome’s third team Lodigiani and later Monterotondo. He got his first professional contract with Ternana in 2004. He stayed in Umbria for three years until he signed for Udinese in 2007. He did not play much, so for the next season he was loaned to Livorno and gave a massive contribution to their promotion up to Serie A. In January 2010 Udinese loaned him to Juventus but he did not make an impact. For the 2010-11 season he played for Parma and for the first part of the 2011-2012 season for Cesena.


In February, Igli Tare brought him to Lazio on loan. Having said nice things about Roma in the past, he was initially ostracised by the Lazio fans, but made peace with everyone when he scored his first goal against Napoli. He became a fundamental asset for Lazio and in 2013 won the famous Coppa Italia against Roma. His was the crucial cross that led to the legendary goal by Senad Lulic.


He was one of the few players who played a decent season in Vladimir Petkovic’s second dismal year as manager and thrived enormously under Stefano Pioli, at least in the first year. Lazio came third and almost got a Champions League direct qualification. That Lazio team was spectacular, fans had not seen such a high level of football since Roberto Mancini’s Lazio.


Pioli’s second year was very disappointing and the good vibes between Candreva and the club disintegrated. The issue was the captaincy. The previous year the Lazio captain was Stefano Mauri and Christian Ledesma the vice. But in 2015 Pioli decided to change. Candreva expected to be captain, but the manager decided to reward Lucas Biglia. Candreva refused the vice -captaincy, which went to Miroslav Klose. The winger never played well again. One could see a mile off that he was not in it anymore, he did not have the right mental attitude. Thousands of useless crosses in the penalty box for no-one, much to the fans dismay, and this is something he will also be criticised for at his next club.


The time was right for a change and Lazio sold him to Inter in the summer of 2016 getting quite good money for him. However, despite being reasonably appreciated, he would never again reach the heights of his Lazio stint. He played regularly in his four years on the Nerazzurro side of Milan, with the exception of the 2018-19 season. In 2020 he moved to Sampdoria and stayed there for two years. In 2022-23 he signed for Salernitana.


He played 192 games for Lazio (151 in Serie A, 10 in Coppa Italia, 2 in Champions League, 30 in Europa League and 2 in the Super Coppa Final) and scored 45 times (41 in Serie A, once in Coppa Italia and three in Europa League).


He has 54 caps with Italy and 7 goals. He participated in the World Cup of 2014 and Euro 2016.


Lazio career

Season

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Super Coppa

Jan-Jun 2012

17 (3)

15 (3)

-

-

2

-

2012-13

49 (7)

35 (6)

3

-

11 (1)

-

2013-14

44 (12)

37 (12)

1

-

5

1

2014-15

38 (11)

34 (10)

4 (1)

-

-

-

2015-16

44 (12)

30 (10)

2

2

9 (2)

1

Total

192 (45)

151 (41)

10 (1)

2

27 (3)

2

Sources


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