Ezequiel Lavezzi

{Date of Birth: - 3rd May 1985

Height: - 5ft 8inches

Position: - Forward

Nationality: - Argentinian.

Club History: - Estudiantes

- Genoa (although Lavezzi made 0 appearances for them).

- San Lorenzo

- Napoli.

Linked with: - Pretty much every top European club you can think of.

Club Career:

From a very young age, the footballing sensation of Lavezzi was recognised, as he played in the youth squads of Rosario Central. After being rejected in Boca Juniors. Lavezzi moved to the youth side of Estudiantes (BA) in 2003, where in his debut season, he played 39 games and scored 17 goals.

2004 - Lavezzi was bought by the Italian side Genoa for around 1 million euro's but was loaned out straight-away to Argentinian side San Lorenzo. At the age of 19, he competed in the Apertura 2004 tournament scoring six goals in total over the course of the season; which saw him finish as 4th top scorer.

Lavezzi's most notable contributions included a superb performance against the very strong (at the time) River Plate at the El Monumental. Lavezzi scored in the 69th minute to give San Lorenzo a famous victory and seriously damage River's title challenge. This gained him the nickname la Bestia ("the Beast") from the Argentine media.

Although it was planned for Lavezzi to return back to Genoa after a season on loan, there was a severe problem; while Lavezzi was playing in Argentina, Genoa were involved in an alleged match-fixing scandal which saw them relegated down to Serie C1 - the third level of Italian football. Due to financial constraints, the promising young forward was sold to San Lorenzo for around 1.2 million euro's.

On his return to San Lorenzo for the Apertura 2005 season, Lavezzi managed to help the club up into the top half of the table, and with eight goals, he finished as the overall fourth top scorer. Lavezzi's last act as a San Lorenzo player was to help them to the Clausura 2007 title.

5 July 2007 - Napoli signed Lavezzi on a five-year contract. The transfer deal was worth around 6 million Euro's and he was presented before the fans and given the #7 shirt for his first season.

Lavezzi soon made an impact for the club by scoring a hat-trick in a 3-1 victory over Pisa in the Coppa Italia at the Stadio San Paolo; this was the first hat-trick by a Napoli player in 14 years.

2 September 2007 - Lavezzi scored his first league goal for Napoli during a 5-0 victory against Udinese. After the match, he received excellent reviews and the media went as far to call him 'inspirational' with the clubs win, and then proceeded to say with: "Napoli's star is born." Napoli hadn't won a league match by such a large margin since 1988, when Diego Maradona was at the club.

Lavezzi completed the 2007/2008 season with 8 goals in 35 games, and he quickly became a focal point of the fans' affection with his quick feet and sharpness around the box.

In the 2008/2009 season, he scored 7 goals in 30 games.

In the season 2009/2010 Lazezzi scored 8 goals in 30 games but he had not played around 10 games because of injuries. Lavezzi stayed at Napoli for the 2010/2011 season but was handed the number 22 jersey after he gifted his number seven to recently signed Edison Cavani as a welcome gesture.

In the same season he scored two goals in the Europa League, against IF Elfsborg and Liverpool respectively, scored six and assisted a further 12 in the Serie A (the best of which was a great scoop over Christian Abbiati in the home game against AC Milan) and also scored a goal in the Coppa Italia against Bologna.

International career:

18th April 2007 - Lavezzi made his international debut for the Argentine national team against Chile.

2008 - Lavezzi was selected to the Argentina Olympic football team to represent Argentina at the 2008 Olympics. During the Olympic games, Lavezzi finished the tournament scoring two goals.

2010 - Lavezzi's club form was not enough to see him included in Diego Maradona's 2010 FIFA World Cup squad.

2011 - Lavezzi has become a regular member under Sergio Batista. He scored the goal in the friendly match against Albania played on 21 June 2011. The match ended 4-0 in favor of Argentina. Lavezzi was then named in Argentina's Copa America Squad by Sergio Batista .

Club Statistics:

Estudiantes - 39 appearances, 17 goals, 6 assists.

San Lorenzo - 97 appearances, 26 goals, 13 assists.

Napoli - 174 appearances, 46 goals, 44 assists. (on the 23rd of February 2012)

Career Total: 310 appearances, 89 goals, 63 assists.

General Comments:

I feel that with a player such as Lavezzi, I really do not need to say much. He's a fantastic player. However, my concern would be if he would be able to perform in the Premier League? In the 'FOR' category - Lavezzi has performed superbly every game against an English Club (Chelsea most recently) and always given the defenders a torrid time. In the 'AGAINST' category, I'm unsure if he has the physical presence, grit determination and mentality to do so on a cold English night. It's also very difficult (as covered in other profiles) to judge players in Serie 'A' due to the slow pace of the Italian game, as it was not once it once was. However, in my opinion Lavezzi would definitely be worth a shot as in the Champions League, he gives every single top defence such a torrid time and usually ends up scoring. My concern would be his price tag, as I'm sure Napoli wouldn't want to sell him up for any less than 30 million euro's AT LEAST. Nevertheless, he is a joy to watch and I would love for him to make the move to the Premier League and to shine out from the crowd like he has done so well in Italy.

Thanks all,