Former Perth Glory youth defender Alessandro Circati is out to follow in the footsteps of Socceroos greats Mark Bresciano and Vince Grella after signing for Italian club Parma.
Teenager Circati has joined the academy of the Serie A side after a successful trial period.
The 17-year-old, who was born in Italy but raised in Australia, is the son of former Glory and Parma midfielder Gianfranco Circati.
Circati senior played for a number of Italian clubs, including Siracusa, Modena, Salernitana, Cagliari and Padova, as well as for Perth in the NSL in the 1998-1999 season. Now his son has linked with his former club.
“Originally I was in England, I went to Leicester City,” Circati told The World Game.
“It all went well there but due to Brexit I couldn’t pursue things with Leicester. So then I have family here in Italy, so I came here with them and then the opportunity popped up that I could go to Parma and I’ve been there for four weeks now.
“It’s going well so far. It’s a good experience and a club with lots of history. The quality is high here.
“The difference [compared with Australia] is that it’s less transitional, it’s more tactical. And Australia’s NPL is more like playing like England than other places in Europe.”
Circati spent his youth career with NPL outfit Perth Soccer club before spending four years in the Glory’s academy. In November the centre back received the club’s Most Glorious Youth Player award for the 2019-2020 season.
“I was born in Fidenza, at the age of one I moved to Perth with my mum and my dad and older brother,” he explained.
“We grew up there, we would go to Italy for holidays. I played for Perth Soccer Club and Perth Glory. I think I grew as a player a lot there at the Glory.
“I changed a lot and that put me where I am today. It was always a dream to play in Italy but I never thought the opportunity would come as I had no plan to come to play here.
“It was either England or something like that. But with Brexit, it kind of opened the opportunity here and with my family here it was almost perfect.”
Circati grew up idolising Italian legend and AC Milan stalwart Paolo Maldini.
“I really like Maldini as a defender,” he said.
“He was originally my idol growing up. I still watch a few clips of him now, he’s a player I like to model my game off.”
In the mid-2000s Parma’s midfield was ruled by Grella and Bresciano. Grella made 92 appearances for I Crociati, between 2004 and 2007, and Breciano racked up 123 games for the club from 2002 to 2006, after both joined from Empoli.
Circati admits until recently he was unaware of the Aussie duo’s past exploits for the yellow and blues, but was impressed to learn of their history.
“I actually didn’t know that, I only found out a few days ago about that,” the defender said.
“It’s quite interesting. Originally I wouldn’t have known that, but I heard there were two Aussies who’d played for Parma. It was a good thing to hear. Let’s hope [I can follow in their footsteps].
“I’ve started off with the Under-18s. We beat Genoa 6-1 last week so it was a good score for my debut. I hope to make it up and up to the first-team.”