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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Cristian Ledesma

Cristian Daniel Ledesma was born in Buenos Aires on September 24, 1982.


Official SS Lazio photo

He started playing football in the youth teams of Boca Juniors. During an International match played by the team in Switzerland he was noticed by Lecce Sports Director Pantaleo Corvino who immediately signed him in the summer of 2001.


At Lecce he started playing for the Primavera but soon debuted in Serie A. On March 10, 2002, he made his first professional appearance in a game lost to Atalanta. That year the Giallorossi were relegated. During the next season in Serie B he gradually became a regular first team player under Delio Rossi and Lecce were promoted. What followed were two positive seasons where the Salentini managed to avoid relegation without too many problems. However in 2005-06 they could not. Many players were as a consequence sold, including Ledesma.


Lazio for quite a number of years had Fabio Liverani as playmaker. He was not a speedy player but he could open up defences with perfect passes. In 2005-06 Lazio reached a UEFA Cup qualification but Liverani had decided not to renew his contract and moved on to Fiorentina. The Biancocelesti were therefore looking for a replacement and seeing that Ledesma had played under Delio Rossi at Lecce, he was the obvious choice.


His impact with the big city was difficult and for the first games he did not play well. He was not Liverani, being slightly more defensive, so the team and fans also had to get used to the new kid in town. All Ledesma’s difficulties disappeared on Sunday December 10, 2006 in the 44th minute of the derby. Massimo Mutarelli on the right passed to Tommaso Rocchi, one-two and ball on the wing to Massimo Oddo. The Lazio right back almost lost it but at the last second managed to pass to Ledesma. A surface to air ball left the Argentinian's left foot and went into the top left hand corner. A magnificent goal, like the famous goal scored by Franco Nanni back in 1972. Lazio won the game 3-0, and Ledesma became a hero. That year the Biancocelesti qualified for the Champions League preliminary round.


Ledesma became a fundamental piece of the Rossi team culminating in the Coppa Italia win against Sampdoria in 2009. He was even captain and together with Rocchi lifted the cup. He was not however part of the squad that won the Super Coppa in August in Beijing.

Source Wikipedia

In the summer of 2009, Ledesma, Goran Pandev and Lorenzo De Silvestri sat down with President Claudio Lotito to talk about contract renewals. All three had arguments with the President. Pandev wanted to be sold to Inter, Lotito refused so the Macedonian took the club to court. Ledesma also had an offer from Inter so he too tried to get out of his contract. De Silvestri was sold to Fiorentina.


Ledesma did not play for six months. Pandev won his case, the Argentinian did not. When manager Davide Ballardini was sacked following dismal results, new head coach Edy Reja demanded to have carte blanche in choosing players. Ledesma was back in and Lazio, not without difficulty, avoided relegation. He then signed a contract extension and all was resolved.


Ledesma was part of the historic team that won the Coppa Italia against Roma in 2013. In the final he suffered an injury and had to be substituted. During the celebrations he hobbled towards Curva Nord to celebrate, helped by historic team manager Maurizio Manzini. In September 2014 he became the all time tenth player for appearances with Lazio. That year he played less but made a good contribution to the cause helping the Biancocelesti to reach 3rd place and the Champions League playoff. In the end he made 318 appearances for Lazio with 14 goals.


During the next four years he played with Santos (4 appearances), Panathinaikos (15), Ternana (19), Lugano (26) and Pro Piacenza (14). At the end of the 2018-19 season he retired.


Ledesma has one cap for Italy. He played 45 minutes in a friendly against Romania.


After retirement he tried management in lower Lazio regional teams but without a lot of success. In 2022 he coached the Frosinone under 17s and in 2022 the Ascoli under 17s. He even played eight-a-side football for the Biancocelesti in 2021


Cristian Ledesma is a piece of Lazio and well loved by fans. He will always be remembered for the big whack in the derby of 2006 and the two Coppa Italias won, especially the derby final.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Super Coppa

2006-07

36 (2)

33 (2)

3

-

-

-

2007-08

43 (3)

32 (3)

4

7

-

-

2008-09

41 (3)

34 (2)

7 (1)

-

-

-

2009-10

13

13

-

-

-

-

2010-11

36 (1)

34 (1)

2

-

-

-

2011-12

47 (3)

37 (3)

2

-

8

-

2012-13

52 (1)

36 (1)

5

-

11

-

2013-14

34

27

1

-

5

1

2014-15

16 (1)

13

3 (1)

-

-

-

Total

318 (14)

259 (12)

27 (2)

7

24

1

Sources


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