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Gianluca Lapadula, born in Italy, shines for Peru in the Copa América 2021

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Gianluca Lapadula, born in Italy, shines for Peru in the Copa América 2021

He may be a day laborer throughout his career, participating in 14 clubs, but Gianluca Lapadula remains the hope for Peru at the current Copa América in Brazil. They have reached the semifinals after defeating Paraguay on penalties and continue their dream streak, which can be stopped at any time.

Although his performances in the early days of his career might have been the reason why he did not triumph in the high echelons of European football, Lapadula has taken his time to settle into the Italian first division finally and has become an inspiration in Peru. for those looking to succeed in their careers.

EARLY LIFE

Born in Turin, Piedmont, Lapadula began his career as a forward in the youth system of the Italian giants Juventus at the age of six and remained at the academy until his release in 2004 as he was not performing well in school.

Lapadula at the Juventus academy. (Image courtesy: Bruno Ortiz Jaime / Twitter)

He moved to Collegno Paradiso and stayed there for three years before making his first senior class appearance at the Pro Vercelli Serie C club.

ITALIAN TIMES

After his debut with Pro Vercelli in 2007, Lapadula played for regional club Ivrea for one season, but surprisingly he was signed by senior Parma in 2009 and went on to star in their youth team for one season.

Subsequently, he was loaned to three different clubs over the next three years and ended the 2011-12 season with club San Marino, scoring 24 goals in 35 appearances. This saw third-division Cesena co-owned with Parma for the services of Lapadula, but this co-ownership was maintained for only one season when Lapadula returned to Parma in 2013.

lapadula-san-marino

Lapadula for the San Marino club. (Image courtesy: Lega Pro / Website)

For the first time in his career, Lapadula moved abroad to join the Slovenian club ND Gorica, where he eventually began to recover by scoring 11 goals in 28 appearances, helping the club achieve a respectable position in the league.

He returned to Italy to go on loan, this time to the Serie C club Teramo, and helped them achieve promotion to Serie B after scoring 21 goals in 38 games. However, the club was denied promotion due to a match-fixing scandal, but that did not deter the Peruvian when he moved to Pescara in 2015.

ADVANCE AND PRESENT

After his impressive performances with Teramo, second-division club Pescara took Lapadula on the free transfer and gave him a four-year contract. He then went on to star in the 2015-16 season when he rocked the Italian soccer world by scoring 30 goals in 43 appearances with the Dolphins and earning a move to capital club Milan.

Lapadula playing for Milan. (Image courtesy: AC Milan / Website)

In June 2016, Lapadula joined AC Milan for a reported € 9 million and participated 29 times for the Rossoneri, scoring 8 goals in the process. A year later, however, he moved to Genoa on loan with the obligation to make the contract permanent for 13 million euros, becoming the most expensive signing in the history of Genoa.

After two seasons at Griffone, Lapadula was loaned out to newcomer Lecce for the 2019-20 season, where he scored 11 goals in 25 appearances and subsequently transferred to his current club Benevento on a three-year contract.

In 2020-21, Lapadula had only scored eight goals in 37 appearances and was unable to help the club out of relegation places and was ultimately relegated finishing 18th in the league.

PLAYING STYLE

Although he is only 178cm tall, Lapadula is a dynamic center forward who can play anywhere on the pitch. Such is his versatility that he can perform on either wing, as a second striker or even descend further and be an attacking midfielder, simply due to his strong technical qualities.

But Lapadula’s best quality is his ability to score with either foot, who has an eye for goal and can shoot with supreme precision. He is also a physical specimen as he keeps defenders who are taller than him at bay and this is due to his elite temperament.

LAPADULA AND PERU

Due to his family heritage, Lapadula was eligible to represent Italy or Peru internationally and had received a call from La Blanquirroja in 2016 for the Copa América Centenario that he did not accept because he was not yet sure which country to represent.

A few months later, he received a call from the Italian first team to replace an injured Manolo Gabbiadini for a match against Liechtenstein in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. However, he did not participate in the match and was subsequently left out of the squad. .

Finally, Lapadula got a second call from Peru and this time he did not hesitate to accept the invitation of coach Ricardo Gareca to appear in the Qualifying tournament for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

After his debut in November 2020, Lapadula has represented Peru another eight times, including five appearances in the current Copa América 2021. Starting as the only forward in Gareca’s 4-2-3-1, Lapadula has scored two goals. and He adds another assist in the five Cup games, including one in the quarterfinals against Paraguay, and has become one of the most important players in this squad.

Peru could well be the loser in the semifinals, but if they continue to do the impossible, Lapadula will surely be at the center of it all.

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