Scouting Network: Lorenzo Crisetig
Goalden Times brings you the stars of tomorrow – 20 years or under, promising players from across the world
Date of Birth: January 20, 1993
Club: Internazionale Milan
Market Value: €1mn
Lorenzo Crisetig has been long identified as a prodigy. He has created a couple of youngest player records in various levels of the Italian age group teams. A midfielder who plays in front of the defence, protecting it and creating opportunities, he has been marked out for great things from quite a young age.
Crisetig was born in the province of Udine of Slovenian parentage and by the age of 14 had signed for Internazionale, even though hometown club Udinese and Inter’s crosstown rivals Milan had their eyes on him. Inter, at that time were in the middle of a wonderful run in the league (four Serie A titles on the trot). They had upgraded their academy and were in the process of promoting a fresh crop of talented young players. Talents like Mario Balotelli and Davide Santon formed a part of this bunch. Crisetig had this to say about the other two prodigal talents of that team: “I know Mario very little. But Davide was in boarding school with me. He’s right now just like himself (in the past) even now that he is playing for the National team.”
As a 14-year-old, Crisetig though did not merit much attention but while Balotelli exploded in and out of the field and Santon sparkled and then fizzled off, Crisetig grew on to be the pillar of the Inter Primavera team that has always been in the forefront of Primavera competitions.
That growth was noticed when Jose Mourinho became the manager of Inter. Mourinho had ushered in the careers of aforementioned Santon and Balotelli at the senior level, and in 2009 he gave Crisetig his first break in the senior team in a friendly match. But with a star-studded Inter team that was winning both in Italy and Europe, regular chances were hard to come by. Mourinho gave him exposure by including him in the Champions League team. And even though he would not make his debut for the senior team, these stints would help him grow his game.
Crisetig grew through the ranks in the Italian team appearing in the U-16, U-17, U-18, U-19 and U-21 youth teams, all within a stretch of two years. So fast was this progress that he became the youngest ever player to be picked for the Italian U-21 team. On August 11, 2010, Crisetig broke the record of Federico Macheda (18 years 10 days) when he made his debut at the Azzurrini‘s 2-2 European Championship qualifying draw against Denmark at the age of 17. The Azzurini boss Pierluigi Casiraghi praised his composure saying, “Crisetig is a player with important attributes” and in a match in which Italy U-21 team came back from 0-2 to level things, Crisetig had covered himself with glory. Casiraghi would subsequently be replaced as the Azzurini boss by Ciro Ferrara, but praises for Crisetig would be a common thread. After a particularly important 3-1 win over Sweden, Ferrara gushed, “Lorenzo has great personality and responded to the task at hand.”
Crisetig finally made his senior Inter debut in the 2011-12 Champions League away to CSKA, but would require some more time to be a regular as he is only 19. But even at this age, his physical presence, enthusiasm on the ball and a deft left foot, bodes well for the future. With Inter at crossroads, and in need of a new cycle at the club, it would be players like Crisetig who could shine the light.