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Friday, 27 February 2009

Whatever Happened To? - Enzo Maresca

A couple of weeks ago Colin Illingworth put a piece on Square Football looking back over West Bromwich Albion's best players of recent years- and he invited Baggies fans to send in their opinions.

Among the usual names one unexpected one came up regularly- unexpected in that his impact in English football in general was a minor one but he's obviously deeply regarded at the The Hawthorns- that was Enzo Maresca.

Square football's Serie A expert Paul Grech quickly pointed out that Maresca has had a more than decent career since he left the West Midlands, taking in clubs like Juventus and Sevilla under Juande Ramos.

It is over 9 years since the Italian made his last appearance for West Brom. He moved to Juventus for £4 million in January 2009- great business for the Baggies after they acquired him as a teenager from Cagliari.

It was some step up because during his two seasons with Albion they were operating in the Championship. And the midfielder did find openings hard to come by in Turin. He had loan spells with Piacenza and Fiorentina but played just handful of games for Juve.

On the positive side Maresca was capped for the Italian under-21 team and his big break came with a move to Seville in 2005. The Andalucians were a club on the rise under Ramos and in his first season they won the UEFA Cup.

Maresca was in the side that beat Middlesbrough in the 2006 Final and also appeared in their repeat triumph a year later. He's won a Spanish Cup medal and taken part in the Champions League with Seville.

The Italian has been involved in most of Seville's league games so far this season, though not always as a starter due to competition for the central midfield berths. His club are handily placed third in La Liga, so have every chance of being in the Champions League again next year.

Despite winning 15 under-21 caps, Maresca seems destined not to get the call for a full international appearance. He was recenlty quoted as wanting to return to Italy but his agent poured cold water on the suggestion. Genoa and Napoli were the clubs mentioned.

In Turin Maresca is famous for a goal he scored against bitter city rivals Torino, when he mimicked a bull in his celebration- the traditional Torino emblem. Last season he found himself on the You Tube circuit with footage of a blatant headbutt on Athletico Madrid's Sergio Aguero, committed only 6 minutes after coming on as sub.

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