Parma, 29 November 2019 – He played his famous violin in many stadiums, including the Tardini and San Siro: Alberto Gilardino is this week’s Old Flame ahead of Parma vs. AC Milan. The match is scheduled to take place at 15:00 CET Sunday 1 December at the home of the Crociati.

His youth career took shape at Piacenza, where he played for both the Allievi and Primavera teams. He made his debut with the first team against AC Milan on 6 January 2000. Coach Gigi Simoni put his trust in the youngster and Alberto repaid that faith by scoring three goals in 17 games. He moved to Hellas Verona the following year, with whom he spent two seasons. He scored five goals in 39 appearances for the Veronese club.

Gilardino joined Parma in 2002, and that’s when his career really took off. The new Crociati signing had been considered a real talent since his time at Piacenza, but ‘Gila’ took his game to the next level in the three seasons he spent at the Tardini. He played 116 times and scored 56 goals, including the equaliser in the second leg of a relegation play-off against Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

Gilardino also earned a place in the Italian National Team under Marcello Lippi during his time with Parma; that same team that would go on to win the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He made his debut for the Azzurri against Norway on 4 September 2004 in Palermo, and he scored his first goal for Italy in 4-3 win over Belarus which was played in the familiar setting of the Tardini.

Gilardino spent the next three seasons of his career with AC Milan, making 132 appearances and scoring 44 goals. He then spent three and a half seasons at Fiorentina, with whom he also played the latter half of the 2014/15 season. Altogether he made 157 appearances with the team from Florence, scoring 63 goals. He got a taste of Chinese football with Guangzhou Evergrande after playing for Genoa and Bologna. He returned to Italy and played for Palermo, Empoli, Pescara and finally Spezia.

Gilardino is now a coach: he is in charge of Serie C side Pro Vercelli.