Ten claims to fame: Sassuolo

The Neroverdi will make their European debut in 2016/17 after denying AC Milan sixth place in Serie A; UEFA.com's Paolo Menicucci tracks Sassuolo's extraordinary rise.

Sassuolo have gone from the fourth tier to Europe in barely a decade
Sassuolo have gone from the fourth tier to Europe in barely a decade ©Getty Images

Formed: 1922
Nicknames: Neroverdi (Green and Black)

UEFA club competition honours
• none

Domestic honours
none

• Founded in 1922, Sassuolo reached Serie C1 – Italy's third tier – for the first time in 2006. They made their Serie B debut in 2008/09, and reached the top flight for the first time in 2013/14, avoiding relegation despite losing their first four games – including 4-1 and 7-0 home defeats by Livorno and Internazionale respectively.

• Italy striker Simone Zaza scored Sassuolo's first Serie A goal in that 4-1 home loss to Livorno on 1 September 2013; his goal also earned the club their first Serie A point – a 1-1 draw at Napoli. Their eighth game brought the club their first top-tier win – 2-1 against Bologna on 20 October.

Massimiliano Allegri: 'One of us'
Massimiliano Allegri: 'One of us'©Getty Images

• Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has a special place in Sassuolo's hearts. Having led them to promotion to Serie B in 2007/08, Allegri did his old side a huge service when his Juventus side beat AC Milan in extra time in the 2016 Coppa Italia final – Milan's defeat handed Sassuolo a UEFA Europa League berth as sixth-placed finishers.

• Sassuolo are Milan's bogey team. They leapfrogged them to finish sixth this season and have defeated the Rossoneri four times in six Serie A games. Ironically, Sassuolo president Giorgio Squinzi is a huge Milan fan. "I could never have imagined supporting Juventus against Milan," he said before the Coppa Italia final. "At least I can support Allegri, who is one of us."

The Stadio Città del Tricolore ready for the final
The Stadio Città del Tricolore ready for the final©UEFA.com

• Sassulo's stadium is hosting a UEFA final this season, with the UEFA Women's Champions League decider between Wolfsburg and Lyon played out at the Stadio Città del Tricolore. The club played at the modest Stadio Enzo Ricci in their home town (population: 40,000) from 1929 until they moved up to Serie B. It is now their training base, with the new stadium – in nearby Reggio Emilia – shared with Reggiana.

• Captain Francesco Magnanelli and reserve goalkeeper Alberto Pomini are the only survivors of the team which won promotion from the fourth to the third tier in 2005/06. Magnanelli, 31, has made a record 369 appearances for the club, who have focused on Italian talent: Šime Vrsaljko, Alfred Duncan and Grégoire Defrel were the only foreigners in their 2015/16 squad.

Sassuolo boss Eusebio Di Francesco
Sassuolo boss Eusebio Di Francesco©Getty Images

• They like attacking football. Sassuolo coach Eusebio Di Francesco said his former boss at Roma, Zdeněk Zeman, was one of his coaching role models. Named 'Eusebio' after the former Portugal star of the 1960s, the 46-year-old Di Francesco (capped 12 times by Italy) has a promising son, 21-year-old winger Federico, who scored six goals in 28 Serie B games for Virtus Lanciano in 2015/16.

• Singer-songwriter Nek (aka Filippo Neviani) – a big name in Italy and the Spanish-speaking world – wrote the club's official anthem 'Neroverdi' (Green and Black). "Everyone knows how close I am to my hometown," he said. "I hope my song will inspire the team."

Domenico Berardi (left) celebrates a Serie A goal
Domenico Berardi (left) celebrates a Serie A goal©Getty Images

• Their all time top scorer is only 21. Domenico Berardi scored his 45th goal for the club against Inter on 10 January to take the honour, and has now moved on to 49 goals (including 38 in Serie A). Eight of those have come in six meetings with Milan, including all four of his side's efforts in a 4-3 win on 12 January 2014, as well as a hat-trick in a 3-2 victory on 17 May 2015.

• They have not always been green-and-blacks. Sassuolo wore a red-and-yellow kit until 1972/73 before making the switch. Their badge – with its two flowers – is a stylised depiction of the three hills on which the town of Sassuolo was founded.

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