Salvatore Bocchetti is on course to break a whole raft of records. A central defender who started out as a full-back, the Naples native and former Ascoli youth player was called up by Marcello Lippi after contesting a mere 25 Serie A matches, including 23 with Genoa at the start of the 2008/09 season.
The defender first began enjoying competitive action on loan at Lanciano in Serie C, but after returning to Ascoli in 2006/07 he made just two top-flight appearances before being rapidly loaned out again, this time to Serie B outfit Frosinone.
His displays nonetheless caught the eye of club officials at Genoa, and the young left-footed player seemed the perfect match for the Rossoblu’s system of play, built upon a trio of central defenders at the back.
After joining Genoa in summer 2008, Bocchetti was quick to tie down a starting berth and began to progress at an astonishing rate. “It makes all those sacrifices worthwhile,” he said. “It’s difficult to express my emotion, but I still have everything to prove.” Impressive at the Toulon Tournament for Under-21 sides, he was awarded his senior Italy debut in the Azzurri's penultimate 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier against Republic of Ireland, when he replaced Fabio Grosso in the second half. Four days later, he was a starter against Cyprus and he has been a fixture in Lippi’s squads ever since.