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Ryan Ross On March - 16 - 2012

Player Focus: Fabio Borini

Fabio Borini was born in Bentivoglio, Italy, on 29th March 1991. His father had brought him up to be an avid Bologna supporter. He joined his boyhood side, aged 9 years old, in 2001 and played for their youth sides.

Premier League side Chelsea came hunting for the young Borini’s signature in the summer of 2007; managing to convince the Italian to enhance his development in London.

2008-2009 saw Borini promoted to a starting role in the reserves, leading the forward line. Finishing as top scorer with 10 goals from 11 appearances. Perhaps the highlight was scoring against Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup.

Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival in 2009 signaled a boost in Borini’s profile at Chelsea. In September that year he was involved in the squad to face Porto in a Champion’s League group match. His first appearance came on 20th September in a victory over Tottenham Hotspur after coming off the bench. He didn’t have to wait long until a League Cup fixture against Queens Park Rangers to make the starting eleven. The Italian went on to make intermittent appearances for the first team that season, however, a hernia injury ended his participation prematurely.

Swansea signed Borini on loan on 17th March 2011, to aid their push for promotion to the Barclay’s Premier League. Swansea’s manager, Brendan Rodgers, had previously worked with Borini, during the former’s time as a youth team coach at Chelsea; a role which was key to sealing the deal.

Borini took the Championship by storm, netting a brace on his debut against Nottingham Forrest. His prowess in dead-ball situations was demonstrated against Norwich City, when he curled a spectacular shot into the top-left corner in a 3-0 win. He ended with 6 goals in 9 appearances.

His form had not gone unnoticed and speculation soon surrounded the young forward’s future. Borini announced in May 2011 that he would not be returning to Chelsea. Discussions over a new contract had collapsed due to problems over wages. Initially Borini suggested he would stay in the UK: “I want to carry on playing and I would like to stay in England because it is the best football in Europe.” Italian side, Parma, were linked with a move, but Swansea remained quietly hopeful of enticing Borini to stay permanently.

Borini featured for Swansea in the Championship play-off final, winning a crucial penalty to help the Welsh team gain a 4-2 win over rivals Reading. The victory sealed promotion to the Barclay’s Premier League and hope that Borini may stay.

Swansea’s hopes were dashed however, when just a matter of days after the Final, that Borini had signed for Parma. Surprisingly, the contract had been agreed months before, but Borini’s camp had kept it under wraps.

The summer of 2011 proved to be a hectic one for Borini. Having joined Parma on loan, he underwent pre-season training with the Italian side. But on 31st August, giants of the Eternal City, Roma, signed Borini on loan for a reported fee of €1.7m, with an agreed price of €7m to make the move permanent.

Borini has proved to be a success at the Giallorossi, featuring regularly in Luis Enrique’s attack. Operating in tandem with Francesco Totti, Bojan Krcic or Pablo Osvaldo, Borini interchanges positions, troubling opposition defences. He has netted 9 goals in 17 appearances, and the Romans are keen to make the move permanent.

His star has shone on the International stage too. Cesare Prandelli selected the forward for the recent friendly against U.S.A.; Borini featured in the game and received praise for a solid performance. It is now likely that Borini will be selected for the Euro 2012 squad, especially given the current striking crisis. If chosen, he can be expected to display a maturity in front of goal and demonstrate the discipline to lead the line.

Expect this young man to wow the supporters of Roma and Italy for many years to come.

Ryan Ross

I became enthralled with Calcio back in the 90’s, when James Richardson presented Football Italia. My early mornings were spent following the trials and tribulations of Internazionale, during a period where they always flattered to deceive. It took a Frenchman to get me hooked though; Youri Djorkaeff, my favourite player of all time. This guy was key to Inter’s midfield, never mind his role in France’s World Cup win in 1998! I have a keen interest in Calcio’s rich history.

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