Cigarini aiming to restart stalling career after sorry Spanish experience

Torino President Urbano Cairo admitted defeat in his pursuit of Napoli midfielder Luca Cigarini on Wednesday saying that although there was interest in the player, he did not believe he wanted to drop down to Serie B to play for the Granata. The fact that Torino, a Serie B side, were at one stage hopeful of signing Cigarini says much about how far the former Parma starlet has faded in the last two years.
The Granata were the umpteenth club to be linked with Cigarini this summer. According to Italian press reports, these included Fiorentina, Genoa and former club Atalanta as well as the possibility of staying with Napoli – not quite the illustrious clubs like Milan and Juventus who Riccardo Montolivo and Alberto Aquilani have been linked with respectively, which is where some touted Cigarini to potentially be by the age of 25.
The Emilia-Romagna born midfielder was one of the shining lights to emerge from Parma’s much-admired youth set up around the same time as Daniele Dessena, Giuseppe Rossi and Arturo Lupoli. He was given his first chance under Mario Beretta in the 2005-06 season when he started four games and appeared as a substitute in a further 17 playing a part in the Ennio Tardini outfit’s 10th place finish, which changed to seventh after the Calciopoli scandal.
The following season he contributed more, starting 15 games for Stefano Pioli in Serie A and helping Parma to top their Uefa Cup group before bowing out to Portuguese side Braga in the round of 32 and eventually just avoiding relegation when Claudio Ranieri became Coach of the Ducali in February 2007.
Relegation with the Gialloblu came next for Cigarini in 2008 despite a personal best campaign playing for Coach Domenico Di Carlo where he scored three goals and contributed with five assists. This form earned him Azzurini caps and a call-up from Pierluigi Casiraghi to represent Italy at the Beijing Olympics that summer.
He left Parma and headed north to Bergamo to join Atalanta, spending one season under the stewardship of Luigi Delneri, becoming a key-cog in the Nerazzurri midfield which saw them finish in an impressive eleventh position.
Napoli saw fit to spend €10.5m on Cigarini in 2009 only for the Coach who signed him, Roberto Donadoni, to be sacked after just seven games into the season. Cigarini never really seemed to fit into the plans of the incoming Walter Mazzarri and although making 28 appearances, 17 of those were from the substitute’s bench. His subsequent loan to Sevilla last summer didn’t go well either with Cigarini making just five appearances in La Liga all season.
The Italian returns to Naples from his disappointing spell in Andalucia to a different situation however. With Michele Pazienza having joined Juventus and Hassan Yebda’s loan from Benfica finished, a freshening up of the midfield ahead of a massive season for Napoli maybe exactly the opportunity Cigarini has been looking for, particularly with the lure of Champions League football.
Yet he still appears to be desperate for a move from the Partenopei to give him the platform to re-ignite a promising career which has faded. But with no concrete bids for him and the Vesuviani appearing keener to keep the Emilia-Romagnan at the Stadio San Paolo than previously thought, it remains to be seen whether Luca can light the blue touch paper in the Azzurri of Napoli or elsewhere.

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