Football Features

From Verratti to Insigne: 10 players who cut their teeth at Pescara

By Squawka News

Published: 20:20, 5 February 2022

When one thinks of Italian football, the name Delfino Pescara 1936 may not immediately spring to mind when compared to the behemoths of Juventus, AC Milan and Internazionale.

Indeed, their history has largely been an unremarkable one since their formation 85 years ago, the club predominantly oscillating between the second and third tiers of the Italian football pyramid. In recent years, however, Pescara has become an increasingly noteworthy club.

Although their 2012/13 and 2016/17 seasons ended in relegation back to Serie B, Pescara have overachieved impressively in recent times, having had to make do with losing a number of their star players.

Plenty of current players have gone on to bigger and better things after showcasing their talents in the striking light blue and white striped shirts, whether they were developed in the club’s academy, were signed from elsewhere or joined on loan.

Here are 10 such players who cut their teeth at Pescara in recent times.

Marco Verratti

Position: Central midfielder

Joined from: Academy graduate

Pescara appearances: 78 (2 goals)

Career path: Pescara, PSG

Despite coming onto the radar of clubs such as Inter and AC Milan during his teenage years, Marco Verratti signed a professional contract with his hometown club Pescara as a 16-year-old and he established himself in the first team soon after.

Initially deployed as an attacking midfielder, Verratti was re-positioned at the base of midfield by Zdenek Zeman in the 2011/12 season, and he flourished in his new role, helping the club win promotion to Serie A as champions.

Verratti’s exceptional performances resulted in him winning the Serie B best player award and led to a move to PSG where he has since evolved into one of the best midfielders in world football, recently adding a seventh Ligue 1 title.

Ciro Immobile

Ciro Immobile, best striker in Europe?

Joined from: Juventus (loan)

Pescara appearances: 37 (28 goals)

Career path: Juventus, Siena (loan), Grosseto (loan), Pescara (loan), Genoa, Torino, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Torino (loan), Lazio

Ciro Immobile progressed through the youth academy at Juventus but taking the next step into the first-team proved a bridge too far, with the prolific striker being farmed out on loan instead.

Temporary stints at Siena and Grosseto yielded only two goals in 20 matches, but Immobile exploded into life at Pescara, scoring 20 in 37 matches to fire them to Serie A promotion in 2011/12.

His form since has been mixed, but he seems to have rediscovered his mojo at Lazio, scoring an incredible 171 goals in 245 games so far.

Lorenzo Insigne

Joined from: Napoli (loan)

Pescara appearances: 38 (20 goals)

Career path: Napoli, Cavese (loan), Foggia (loan), Pescara (loan)

It isn’t too difficult to see how Pescara won the Serie B title in 2011/12 given they possessed Verratti, Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne all in the same team.

Insigne had excelled during a loan spell with Foggia prior to linking up with Pescara and formed a brilliant attacking understanding with Immobile, finding the back of the net 18 times in the league.

The diminutive attacker’s performances for Pescara helped him to finally force his way into the first-team reckoning at Napoli where he has since become one of the most dynamic and creative wingers in the world.

Gianluca Lapadula

Joined from: Parma

Pescara appearances: 46 (30 goals)

Career path: Pro Vercelli, Ivrea, Parma, Atletico Roma (loan), Ravenna (loan), San Marino (loan), Cesena, Frosinone (loan), Parma, Gorica (loan), Teramo (loan), Pescara, Milan, Genoa (loan), Genoa, Lecce (loan), Benevento

A real footballing journeyman, Gianluca Lapadula is 31 and has worn the colours of 15 clubs including Slovenian side Gorica. Unquestionably his most successful spell at any of the 14 clubs he has represented was at Pescara during the 2015/16 season.

Like Immobile and Insigne before him, Lapadula’s goals were pivotal in helping Pescara earn promotion and his sensational form led to a move to AC Milan in 2016, from which an Italy call-up has swiftly followed. He bombed at Milan and is now playing for Benevento.

Mattia Perin

Joined from: Genoa (loan)

Pescara appearances: 30

Career path: Genoa, Padova (loan), Pescara (loan), Juventus, Genoa (loan)

Another ex-Pescara player to have been involved with the Italian national team set-up, Mattia Perin was snapped up on a season-long loan deal for the 2012/13 season in Serie A.

It was a tough campaign for the youngster as he kept goal for a side that ended up in 20th position and he himself conceded 66 goals in his 30 appearances, keeping only five clean sheets.

Perin has gone from strength to strength since that chastening campaign, though, emerging as one of the finest shot-stoppers in Serie A, which earned him a move to champions Juventus, where he won the first two trophies on his career. However, he returned to Genoa in January 2020 on loan for the remainder of the campaign, extending that loan through the 2020/21 season.

Vladimir Weiss

Joined from: Manchester City

Pescara appearances: 23 (5)

Career path: Manchester City, Bolton (loan), Rangers (loan), Espanyol (loan), Pescara, Olympiacos, Lekhwiya SC, Al-Gharafa, Slovan Bratislava

Regarded as an elite prospect at Manchester City prior to the influx of millions from the Abu Dhabi takeover, Vladimir Weiss was sent out on loan three times before opting to leave the North West of England permanently for Southern Italy.

Weiss joined the club on a one-year deal and performed well despite their relegation, scoring four goals and registering five assists across his 22 appearances.

The Slovakian went from Pescara to Olympiacos where he won the Greek Superleague title before moving to Qatar, first playing for Lekhwiya and then for Al-Gharafa. He returned to Europe in February 2020, joining Slovan Bratislava in his native Slovakia.

Juan Quintero

Joined from: Atletico Nacional

Pescara appearances: 17 (1 goal)

Career path: Envigado, Atletico Nacional, Pescara, Porto, Rennes (loan), Independiente Medellin (loan), River Plate (loan), River Plate, Shenzhen F.C

Another arrival during the 2012/13 Serie A season, Juan Quintero didn’t stick around at Pescara for too long, making only 17 appearances but it was during that short stint that he emerged as one of the most highly-rated youngsters in Europe.

The Colombian joined Porto for around four times the amount of money Pescara had initially paid for him but failed to fully establish himself in Portugal, spending the past five seasons out on loan. Quintero is now back with River Plate — where he previously helped them win the 2018 Copa Libertadores — following a spell in China with Shenzhen F.C.

Birkir Bjarnason

Joined from: Standard Liege

Pescara appearances: 70 (14 goals)

Career path: Viking Stavanger, Bodo Glimt (loan), Standard Liege, Pescara, Sampdoria, Pescara, FC Basel, Aston Villa, Al Arabi, Brescia, Adana Demirspor

Joined on a season-long loan with an option to buy from Standard Liege in 2012, Birkir Bjarnason was unable to keep Pescara in the top division and stated his intention to leave soon after, joining Sampdoria.

After just one season in Genoa, though, the Icelandic international returned to Pescara and although he excelled scoring ten goals in 35 matches, the club failed to achieve promotion, leading to his sale to FC Basel and then Aston Villa. Bjarnason spent two years at Villa before joining Qatari club Al Arabi, eventually ending up at current side Adana Demirspor following a period at Brescia.

Gianluca Caprari

Joined from: Roma

Pescara appearances: 136 (24 goals)

Career path: Roma, Pescara, Inter, Pescara (loan), Sampdoria, Parma (loan), Benevento (loan), Hellas Verona (loan)

Gianluca Caprari is a versatile forward who impressed during three seasons with Pescara, leading to a transfer to Inter in 2016. He was then sent back on loan to the Delfini before transferring to Sampdoria in 2017, briefly being loaned to Parma midway through 2019/20. This season, Caprari has been on loan at Hellas Verona.

Lucas Torreira

Joined from: Montevideo Wanderers (youth)

Pescara appearances: 42 (6 goals)

Career path: Pescara, Pescara (loan), Sampdoria, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid (loan), Fiorentina (loan)

This fiercely combative Uruguayan was first signed for Pescara as a youth team player, joining them in 2013 from his native Uruguay. He played just one season for the side before being snapped by Sampdoria; he was promptly sent back down to Pescara on loan where he had his first full season as a starter, scoring an impressive six goals in the process.

He then played two seasons for Sampdoria where he became an essential part of their midfield with his rugged tackling, dangerous set-pieces and smart passing. This skill led to him entering the Uruguayan national side, where he starred at the World Cup. In that same summer, he signed for Arsenal and in his first season promised the Gunners the kind of quality they’ve lacked in the middle of the pitch for over a decade. Misuse in more attacking positions halted his progress and Torreira was used as a makeweight in Arsenal’s move to bring Thomas Partey to the Emirates from Atletico Madrid. Torreira is now back in Italy, the 25-year-old is on loan with Fiorentina.