A FIFA World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, Alberto Gilardino is a calm, composed finisher with a happy knack of scoring vital late goals. A particularly outstanding header of the ball, he has long been the scourge of Serie A defences, finding the net consistently for Parma FC, AC Milan and ACF Fiorentina.
• Made his Serie A debut for Piacenza Calcio in January 2000; spent following two seasons at Hellas Verona FC, where he was called up by Italy Under-21s.
• Joined Parma in 2002 and made major breakthrough in second season, scoring 23 Serie A goals – second in league charts; starred in Italy's 2004 UEFA European Under-21 Championship triumph, scoring twice in semi-final and once in final, but not selected for UEFA EURO 2004.
• Another 23-goal Serie A haul for Parma in 2004/05 led to €24m move to Milan and place in Italy's 2006 World Cup squad; scored one goal – against the United States – and made five appearances but not used in final.
• Won UEFA Champions League with Milan in 2007 – late substitute for two-goal Filippo Inzaghi in final defeat of Liverpool FC.
• Joined Fiorentina in 2008 and excelled, scoring 19 Serie A goals plus six in Europe in first season and three more UEFA Champions League goals in 2009/10 group stage, including added-time winner at Liverpool. Also returned to the Italy setup for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying after missing UEFA EURO 2008 and scored last-minute equaliser in Dublin against the Republic of Ireland, securing the Azzurri's place in South Africa.
Did you know?
Gilardino scored a hat-trick in the last 12 minutes of Italy's final 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier, transforming a 2-0 deficit against Cyprus into a 3-2 victory.
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