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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Francesco Acerbi

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Francesco Acerbi played for Lazio from 2018 to 2022.

Francesco Acerbi, defender, was born on February 10 1988 at Vittorio Predabissi near Milan. He started his football career with Voluntas Brescia, the club in charge of Brescia's very young prospects. In 2001-02 he signed for Brescia and in 2005 he moved to Pavia where he debuted professionally in a Serie C1 match against San Marino. In January 2006 he was loaned to Renate in Serie D but after a month he was back in Pavia. Again on loan to Spezia in 2007, he played in the Primavera team (Under 19's). Pavia then finally decided to stop sending him away and to keep him on. He played two years for the Longobards, in the Second Division of Lega Pro.


In 2010 he signed to Reggina in Serie B in a player sharing agreement and, despite the fact that he was bought by Genoa in January 2011, he stayed in Calabria the whole season. He started the 2011-12 season with Genoa but during the summer, again with the player sharing modality, he signed for Chievo Verona. An excellent year for Acerbi in Verona: debut in Serie A and his first goal.


In the summer of 2012 Genoa acquired the other half of the player from Chievo and then sold him on to Milan. The big break was there for the taking, but the dream lasted only six months. He did not do well and after a short six month spell Milan sold half of the player back to Genoa, who immediately loaned him to Chievo for another brief stint in Verona.


In 2013 he signed with Sassuolo on another player sharing deal. But during his medical, the doctors found he had testicular cancer. He was immediately taken to hospital and the cancer was removed surgically. However, during the course of the season, the tumour returned. Chemotherapy left him debilitated but in 2014 he was back, alive and kicking and played a great season. Sassuolo then also acquired the other 50% of player ownership and he became a fundamental part of the team, playing three seasons at a very high level.


Lazio in the summer of 2018 were looking to substitute Stefan De Vrij who had moved to Inter as a free agent. Acerbi was the man and he signed for Lazio. The fans immediately fell in love with this tall Northern Italian defender and considered him a considerable improvement compared to the Dutchman. He played extremely well and in his first year Lazio won the Coppa Italia and in the second came close to winning the scudetto. Acerbi had a great relationship with everybody and particularly with Ciro Immobile.


In 2021, despite a contract expiring in 2023, he suddenly asked for a pay rise. It was quite out of character especially as he did so via a TV interview. Lazio turned a blind eye despite not being particularly happy, and Acerbi’s contract was renewed to 2025. This was supposed to be a continuation of the honeymoon but instead was the beginning of the end.


The last year under Simone Inzaghi he was no longer the rock of a defender he had been and his year with Sarri was also rather poor. It looked as if he was not following the manager’s indications and the fact Lazio were conceding way too many goals certainly did not help. He also ran into a few problems with the fans. Some inappropriate statements and gestures earned him a lot of boos in the Olympic Stadium.He did apologise but was never forgiven. On the last day of the transfer market in the summer of 2022 Lazio and Inter reached an agreement and Acerbi started playing for Inter on loan, with a buyout option for the Nerazzurri. In 2023 the Neroazzurri signed him on a definite basis.


He played 173 games for Lazio (135 in Serie A, 9 in Coppa Italia, 8 in Champions League, 20 in Europa League and one in Super Coppa) and scored 10 times (9 in Serie A and one in Coppa Italia). He won two trophies: Coppa Italia and Super Coppa.


Acerbi has played 31 times for Italy and scored one goal. He was part of Italy’s victorious campaign at Euro 2020 where he appeared in three games.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Super Coppa

2018-19

50 (3)

37 (3)

5

-

8

-

2019-20

45 (2)

36 (2)

2

-

6

1

2020-21

42 (1)

32

2 (1)

8

-

-

2021-22

36 (4)

30 (4)

-

-

6

-

Totals

173 (10)

135 (9)

9 (1)

8

20

1

Sources


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