Domenico Berardi is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a forward for the Italy national team. Berardi began his club career with Sassuolo in 2012, helping the team win the Serie B title and earn promotion to Serie A in his debut season, later also being named the best player of the competition. His prolific performances in Serie A saw him emerge as one of Italy’s most promising young footballers, and earned him the Bravo Award in 2015. He is currently Sassuolo’s all-time record goal-scorer with over 100 goals in all competitions. He made his senior international debut with Italy in 2018, and was later a member of the squad that won UEFA Euro 2020. Born in Cariati, Calabria, Berardi joined the youth academy of Cosenza at the age of 13, before moving to Sassuolo at the age of 16.
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A quick, tenacious, technically gifted and hardworking left-footed forward, with an eye for goal, Berardi is capable of being deployed in several offensive positions across the pitch. He has been utilised as a striker and as a supporting forward, although his preferred position is on the right wing, which allows him to cut into the centre and shoot on goal with his stronger left foot, or link up with teammates to create goalscoring opportunities for other players. Berardi has also been praised for his movement, positional sense, and work-rate off the ball, as well as his determination, maturity, tactical intelligence, decision making, and composure, despite his young age; however, he has also drawn criticism at times for his behaviour, lack of discipline, and a tendency to pick up unnecessary cards. An accurate finisher from both inside and outside the area, and in one on one situations, he is also an accurate set-piece and penalty taker. Berardi is regarded as one of the most talented and promising young footballers of his generation; in 2013, 2014, and 2015, Don Balón listed him as one of the top-100 young players in the world. In 2014, former AC Milan and Italy manager Arrigo Sacchi described Berardi as “a player of great talent, a modern footballer who constantly plays with and for the team all over the field. Liveliness, intuition, temperament, physical strength, stamina combined with a good technique are his main attributes.” In 2015, 1982 FIFA World Cup winner Giancarlo Antognoni described Berardi as “…the young [Roberto] Baggio of this generation” who “mixes creativity with strength. Just like when Platini called Baggio ‘a nine and a half.’ He must only learn to control his character. At times his temper betrays him but he will learn.” In a 2015 interview, Berardi stated that his main influences as a footballer were Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Arjen Robben. In 2017, he revealed that Inter Milan was his favorite childhood team, also describing Ronaldo and Diego Milito as his biggest footballing idols at the time.