Leeds Fans: Meet Giuseppe Bellusci, Your New Cult Favourite
Giuseppe Bellusci first surfaced at Ascoli in 2007, then a Serie A club. He made his debut at age 18 (still something of a rarity in Italy, never a country for young men).
His strong physique (“he’s a beast” said an approving Ascoli coach Nedo Sonetti) was matched with decent pace and awareness, earmarking him as one of the Italian game’s most promising central defenders, spoken of in the same terms as Fabio Cannavaro.
Bellusci’s from Calabria, the same region of Italy as Rino Gattuso, but doesn’t share the former Milan midfielder’s pantomime villain histrionics. Instead, there’s a quiet determination about him, one that quickly saw the player linked with a number of Serie A high-hitters (Napoli in particular).
Opting instead to sign for Catania (“I like the idea of playing at a smaller club, you’re allowed more space” – that’ll please the Leeds fans), Bellusci spent five seasons in Sicily. The team initially had the Europa League in their sights, but hit the buffers and dropped out of the top tier last season.
There’s a sense in Italy that Bellusci’s rather lost his way over the past couple of years, that he may have been a little too loyal to a struggling Catania side. Capped six times at Under-21 level, he’s yet to make any further progression with the national team.
However, the days of players dropping off the national team radar once they opt to move abroad have long gone, and a decent showing in West Yorkshire this season could yet see the 24 year old (25 next Thursday) back in the international frame.
Leeds presents a new opportunity for Bellusci. You can see him becoming quite the cult figure at Elland Road. Better get those “Beast” t-shirts on order now…