Roberto De Zerbi Profile
|Name||Roberto De Zerbi|
|Born||Jun 06, 1979|
After an unspectacular playing career Roberto De Zerbi has worked his way up the managerial ladder from the amateur Italian leagues to the heights of the English Premier League with Brighton.
De Zerbi had a nomadic playing career that spanned 15 years and 13 different clubs.
After hanging up his boots in 2013 he went straight into management and quickly climbed the coaching ladder.
He started off at Serie D side Darfo Boario, then won the Serie C cup with Foggia in 2016 and reached the promotion play-off final. His big break came with Serie A side Palermo.
However, just three months in the role Palermo gave him the boot after seven consecutive defeats.
De Zerbi moved on to Benevento, but despite earning plaudits for his style of play, the side were relegated back to Serie B.
It was at his next club Sassuolo where De Zerbi truly displayed his managerial capabilities, leading them to to back-to-back eighth-placed finishes.
He left the Italian side in May 2021 and joined Shakhtar Donetsk where he won the Ukrainian Super Cup before being forced to leave as a result of the Russian invasion.
De Zerbi was appointed manager of Brighton and Hove Albion in September 2022 after Graham Potter left to join Chelsea.
De Zerbi's playing career
The attacking midfielder started off at AC Milan, but failed to make an appearance for the Italian giants and spent five years bouncing around the Serie B and C clubs.
He eventually found his feet at Foggia in 2002, playing two seasons before being moved on to Arezzo, then Catania before reaching the peak of his playing career at Napoli, where he scored three goals in 33 appearances.
But he didn't last long with the Blues, and was loaned out to Brescia and Avellino before joining Romanian side CFR Cluj in 2010.
He scored eight goals in 22 games in Liga 1, and won the Romanian league twice and the cup once. He ended his playing career back in Italy with Trento in 2013.
Success at Sassuolo
The style of play that De Zerbi brought with him to Sassuolo was that of high risk and high reward.
He regularly opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with the aims of dominating the ball, inviting the press, and beating the press by playing the ball vertically.
It was a style of play that resulted in two top-half finishes, missing out on European football only on goal difference to Roma.
His tactics and man-management skills allowed players to flourish. This in turn earnt international success, with Manuel Locatelli, Domenico Berardi and Giacomo Raspadori being selected for the 26-man Italy squad that won the 2021 European Championship.
Additionally, the impact he has had on players greatly increased Sassuolo's squad value. The club made several large sales such as selling Stefano Sensi to Inter Milan for £22.5million.
The sale of Manuel Locatelli in an initial loan deal to Juventus that should see a sale valued at £35million with add-ons included also illustrated De Zerbi's ability to raise the value of his squad.
De Zerbi called time on his Sassuolo career in May 2021, and joined Ukrainian Premier League side Shakhtar Donetsk in the same month.
Shakhtar Donetsk upheaval
De Zerbi thrived in the Ukraine, where his belief in high pressing and dominating the ball yielded great results.
He led his side to the Ukrainian Super Cup and lead the league after 18 games, scoring 49 goals with a win percentage of 83.33 per cent.
However, due to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine the league was concluded in February 2022. Despite Shakhtar being top no title was awarded.
The Ukrainian side struggled in the Champions League, finishing the group without a win.
This was a major disappointment for De Zerbi as despite facing formidable opponents in the shape of Inter Milan and Real Madrid, he will have been hoping for better returns.
De Zerbi left Shakhtar as the war in the Ukraine escalated.
Following the departure of Graham Potter in a lucrative deal to Chelsea, Brighton owner Tony Bloom took a punt on De Zerbi, who was all but unknown to the average British football fan.
The appointment was designed to be a continuation of styles at the club, as both managers aimed to bring a possession-based style of play that prioritises pressing and chance creation.
De Zerbi's new side got off to an impressive start with a 3-3 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
Although not everyone is impressed with the appointment...
De Zerbi is not married and does not have any children.
De Zerbi was reportedly on around £1.5million per year at Shakhtar, and it is expected that the figure increased to £2m when he joined Brighton.