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Player Profile: Antonio Di Natale

Posted by Aymen Gheddai Thursday, April 15, 2021

Antonio "Toto" Di Natale is a diminutive striker from Naples and the current Udinese captain. Anyone who follows the Serie A is well aware of the massive talent the 32 year old has been blessed with. With football leaning towards the more physical approach in current times, a player like Di Natale, who stands at five feet seven inches, is not the typical person you expect to see leading the line of attack. The skill Toto possesses, however, more than compensates for his stature. During a game against Reggina in the 2007/2008 season Di Natale scored a brace, however one of his goals was arguably the best of the season.

After a long ball was sent his way, the number 10 took one touch to control and a second to immediately volley into the back of the net before the ball even touched the ground. The Udinese captain is a truly gifted footballer, he is adept with both feet, possesses a lot of pace, has great vision, and as the described goal indicates, is technically brilliant. Di Natale's form has remained consistent and he currently leads the scoring charts with a career best 23 goals so far this season.

His club form has also been noticed by the national team managers. In 2008, then Azzurri coach, Roberto Donadoni called up Di Natale for the European Championships. Unfortunately for the attacker, and his country, the tournament was a massive disappointment, with Di Natale actually missing a crucial penalty in the semifinal shootout against eventual winners Spain. Despite the negative experience, as well as a change in coaching personnel (Donadoni was replaced by Lippi), Di Natale is still receiving call ups to the national team. In Italy's recent friendly against Cameroon Lippi even experimented with a new three man attacking formation, and all signals indicate that Di Natale will likely occupy one of the wide positions. As a result, barring any unforeseen circumstances, this year's World Cup should provide a platform for Antonio Di Natale to exhibit his abundant skill to more than just Serie A fans.

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