Monday, 21 November 2011

Player profile: Salvatore Sirigu

Name: Salvatore Sirigu
DOB: January 12 1987
Former clubs: Palermo, Cremonese (loan), Ancona (loan)
Signed: July 2011, €3.5million
International honours: Full Italian international

This is the first PSGT player profile, so perhaps it’s fitting that it concerns the club’s number one.

Technically Salvatore Sirigu wears the number 30 shirt, but since his summer arrival the Italian has firmly established himself as PSG’s first choice stopper.

Sirigu was born in Sardinia, but moved to a slightly less classy island (sorry Mafioso, but it’s true) to further his footballing career, joining Sicilian side Palermo as a youngster.

Though he made his debut in November 2006 against Sampdoria in the Coppa Italia, Sirigu’s first prolonged taste of first team action came on loan at Cremonese in Serie C1. Landing there for the whole of 2007/08 there, he made 21 appearances and conceded 19 goals.

The next season was also spent as a loan ranger, this time at Serie B outfit Ancona. Sirigu struggled to dislodge Brazilian stopper Da Costa, and turned out just 15 times for the Biancorossi.

Back at Palermo for 2009/10, Sirigu must have been sick of the site of Brazilian keepers, as he started the season second choice behind another samba star, Rubinho. I use the term “star” loosely there, as Rubinho was a bit pants, and Sirigu was drafted in by manager Walter Zenga (who ought to know a good keeper when he sees one) for the match against Lazio.

Although Palermo only managed a 1-1 draw, 22-year-old Sirigu was named man of the match: “I was very happy to have put in a good performance, because it was my first match in Serie A,” he said afterwards. “I am a young and my job is to work hard without expecting too much.”

Level-headed and good looking (see above for photographic evidence), what a man. He kept his place for the next match, against Juventus, keeping a clean sheet as Palermo won 2-0 against the Old Lady, and never looked back.

By then Sirigu was already an established member of the Italy under-21 side, and got his first call up to the full Azzuri squad for the first time in February 2010 for the match against Cameroon.

He was named in the 28-man provisional squad for that year’s World Cup, but didn’t make the final cut, and eventually made his debut in August 2010 against Cote D’Ivoire. Since then he’s only been able to add one more cap, with the likes of Gigi Buffon ahead of him in the pecking order. Buffon, though, thinks Sirigu has what it takes to succeed him in the Italy goal.

“I must say that Sirigu has shown he is a serene keeper with some excellent qualities,” he said, before adding modestly: “In effect he is like me from a physical point of view.”

After two years between the sticks for Palermo, this summer came the move to the Parc des Princes for a bargain price of €3.5million. With good height and presence in the box, Sirigu's main strength is his superb refleces, and he has already had ample opportunity to demonstrate these behind an ever-changing and rarely-solid PSG back four. Long may his impressive form continue.


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