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  • Writer's pictureLazio Stories

Transfers 2001

The previous year Lazio had just missed out on the scudetto. A poor start had been overturned in the second half of the season and the Biancocelesti arrived third.

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Lazio was no more so it was obvious that some players would go. However nobody could have imagined that three pillars of the scudetto team would be leaving in one go.


Pavel Nedved after five years, 207 appearances and 51 goals left Lazio for Juventus. It was a controversial signing. Sergio Cragnotti had sold him, but the player refused to go. So Lazio had torn the deal with the Bianconeri and offered a new contract for the Czech. But Juventus still had the original piece of paper and convinced Pavel to move to Turin. A big loss.

Juan Sebastian Veron left Serie A to join Manchester United in the English Premier League. This sale was a forced one since the player was no longer at ease in Italy following the passport scandal. When Lazio signed him in 1999, Cragnotti asked if there was an agency who could find proof that some ancestor of Veron was Italian so he could have dual nationality. In Serie A at the time only three non EU players could be part of the squad in any one match so Eriksson had to send two players out of Marcelo Salas, Dejan Stankovic, Nedved or Alen Boksic to the stands. With Veron the non-EU players were now 6. An Argentinian agency responded to the Lazio plea and in a couple of months found an ancestor so Veron could then play as an Italian. However, in March 2000 the Italian Foreign Ministry received a complaint that there were some irregularities in the paperwork. Basically, the agency in Argentina created false documentation to get the agonised European passport for a number of players. Other teams and players were involved: Roma, Milan, Inter, Udinese. But Veron, who had nothing to do with all of this and neither did Lazio, was fed up with Italy and asked to leave. He had made 79 appearances and 14 goals.

Marcelo Salas was also sold to Juventus. Cragnotti had signed the Chilean in 1998 and for two seasons he had made a big impact at Lazio scoring lots of goals. But in the past year he had a few injuries so Lazio thought that he was already past his prime. He made 117 appearances with 48 goals.

Fabrizio Ravanelli did not renew his contract with Lazio. There was not much room for him on the team with all the forwards the Biancocelesti had, so it was time for him to move on too. He made 42 appearances and 10 goals.

Emanuele Pesaresi arrived the previous as a back up player and did not make an impact. He was loaned to Benfica after 9 appearances.

Roberto Baronio was on the road again. He arrived at the club in 1996. After a first year with Lazio with 16 appearances he was sent on loan to Vicenza in 1997-98 and returned the following season but again played just 11 times. A good full year at Reggina and then back to Rome last season but he again found it hard to be a regular. He was now loaned to Fiorentina. So far Baronio had made 52 appearances for Lazio.

Paolo Orlandoni came on loan from Reggina last year as third goalkeeper. He went back to Calabria after one appearance for the Biancocelesti.

Emanuele Berrettoni was a young Lazio promise and did very well in the Primavera team. He made four appearances last year and was sent to Perugia on a joint ownership deal.


Gaizka Mendieta was considered to be one of the best midfielders in Europe. Arriving from Valencia and after two Champions League Finals, he was the one who was supposed to lift the team to a higher level following the departures of Veron and Nedved.

Jaap Stam was probably one of the best defenders in the world. Manchester United let him go and he came to form the best defensive duo, at least on paper, with Alessandro Nesta.

Cesar, left back, was a virtually unknown player from Sao Caetano, but Cragnotti always had a soft spot when it came to Brazil. However he was captain of the team which reached the national final and was highly considered.

Stefano Fiore and Giuliano Giannichedda arrived from Udinese. The two midfielders had been signed the previous season but left at Udine on loan. They both had been protagonists of the good Udinese seasons and both played for Italy.

Fabio Liverani was one of Italy’s best playmakers. Arriving from Perugia, he de facto came to substitute Veron and due to the difficulties Mendieta was encountering.

Ivan de la Peña came back from his year-long loan to Barcelona. The Little Buddha had arrived with great hype in 1998 but was a big disappointment. Loaned firstly to Olympique Marseilles and then with the Blau Grana, he still showed difficulties. His return was brief as he was sold to Espanyol in the autumn transfer window.

Emanuele Concetti was a product of the Lazio youth sector. He had been sent to Arezzo to get more playing time last season and he returned to be third goalkeeper.

Darko Kovacevic came from Juventus in the Salas deal. Big centre forward, good aerial abilities, he was not a goal scorer but helped the team, opening gaps for other forwards and midfielders. His time at Lazio was however limited and after 11 appearances he was sold in December to Real Sociedad.


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