Domenico Berardi, technique of a great forward
When the leagues resume, Domenico Berardi will not be on the pitch due to injury. Before the break, however, he managed to get to the national team break with a trend that included 7 goals in 6 season matches between Europa League (5 in 4 matches) and Serie A (2 out of 2). The best scorer in the top five European leagues (Bundesliga, Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A) and the youngest Italian to have reached 40 goals in Serie A in the last twenty years of the championship. Let’s try to understand better how he managed to do this and what the qualities of this forward, born in 1994 and part of the Sassuolo first team since 2012, are.
Except for a brief period with Alberto Malesani, Berardi has always been coached by Eusebio Di Francesco. Furthermore, with the “neroverde” coach, he has played only as a right forward in the Sassuolo 4-3-3 formation. This is a position on the pitch that allows him to exploit his left foot, coming back in toward the centre, but that also forces him to do a certain amount of work in the defensive phase. All this without ever forgetting that he is the undisputed star of Sassuolo, a fact that allows him to be at the centre of all the team’s offensive manoeuvres.
Berardi becomes a lethal player when he is free to move around between the midfield and attacking lines, gaining the chance to shoot. The three goals in question prove this. In the first, he uses a set pieces play and in the other two he reacts to balls cleared by the opposing defence. In each case, he takes a one-touch shot and scores with alarming ease.
Politano’s goal against Red Star Belgrade represents a typical Sassuolo play. The cut toward the centre by the left-footed outside forward, the dialogue with Berardi and the closing of the triangle with the shot by the player who began the play. This would not be possible without the start from Sassuolo’s quality and overall vision.
The most interesting aspects concern everything that Berardi can add to his game. The goal scored in the return match against Red Star Belgrade had him attacking the depth and shooting like a true modern striker. Who knows? Maybe situations like this will be able to convince the new Italian coach Giampiero Ventura, to put him in the Italian 3-5-2 formation as a deep-lying forward.
Mattia Fontana, Eurosport Italia editor.