Antonini in 2008
|Full name||Luca Antonini|
|Date of birth||4 August 1982|
|Place of birth||Milan, Italy|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|2001–2002||→ Prato (loan)||26||(3)|
|2002–2003||→ Ancona (loan)||17||(1)|
|2004–2005||→ Modena (loan)||15||(1)|
|2005||→ Pescara (loan)||22||(3)|
|2005–2006||→ Arezzo (loan)||39||(3)|
|2006–2007||→ Siena (loan)||32||(3)|
|2016||→ Livorno (loan)||16||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11:56, 18 June 2016 (UTC).
Antonini started his career at Milan, originally as a winger, playing for 11 years in their youth teams. At the start of the 2001–02 season, he was loaned out to Serie C2 side Prato, where he made his professional debut, totalling 26 appearances and scoring 3 goals. The following year, he made 17 appearances and scored one goal in his first Serie B season, during a loan spell at Ancona. The team got promoted to Serie A and Antonini's contribution was significant, as he became a regular in the second half of the season.
In June 2003 he moved to Sampdoria in a co-ownership deal with the Rossoneri, for €2 million. In exchange, Ikechukwu Kalu moved to Milan in co-ownership deal for €1 million. He did not get much playing time, as he served mainly as a backup winger for Gasbarroni. However, he made his Serie A debut on 14 December, in an away match against Perugia.
Various loan spells (2004–2007)
The following season he returned to play in Serie B, being first loaned out to Modena and then switching, during the January transfer window, to Pescara. Still seeking for more playing time, for the 2005–06 season he moved to Arezzo on another loan spell, where he finally managed to play regularly throughout the whole season, making 39 appearances and scoring 3 goals.
At the beginning of the 2006–07 season, the then 24-year-old midfielder was sent to Siena on a fourth consecutive loan spell, and faced his second Serie A season, which proved much more successful than the first one. He made 32 appearances and scored 3 goals. In particular, his very first goal in the top-tier came on 26 November, in a home game against Fiorentina.
Prior to the start of the 2007–08 season, Milan reclaimed Antonini for €1 million and sent him to Empoli also for €1 million, along with his future teammate Ignazio Abate (the 50% valued €0.9 million), in a new co-ownership deal. With Empoli, Antonini made his debut in European competitions on 20 September 2007, in a UEFA Cup first-round game against Zürich, also scoring a penalty. Despite the team being relegated, he had an extremely good season, also showing versatility when coach Alberto Malesani started to employ him as a full-back.
Return to Milan (2008–2013)
On 9 June 2008, Antonini was brought back by Milan and included in their squad for €2.75 million plus €150,000 other fee, in a pure player swap. (Antonini and Abate to Milan for a total fee of €4.75 million, Pozzi and Marzoratti to Empoli for a total fee of €4.75 million)
In his first season with the Rossoneri, he did not get much playing time though, making only 11 league appearances. For the 2009–10 campaign, Milan signed new head coach Leonardo, who initially did not seem to take Antonini into much consideration. However, as the season progressed, injuries to first-string players such as Zambrotta and Jankulovski prompted the Brazilian to put him in the line-up. Antonini seized his chance and earned Leonardo's trust by constantly performing well.
His valuable performances also persuaded the club to offer him a contract extension until 2014, which was signed on 11 February 2010. He finished his second year at Milan on a high, scoring his first goal for the Rossoneri in the last match of the season, a home game against Juventus, on 15 May 2010.
When new coach Massimiliano Allegri was appointed in the summer of 2010, he kept Antonini at the left back position and Luca was a regular in the starting XI for the whole of the 2010–11 season, helping Milan win their 18th Scudetto. He continued to be a regular for the 2011–12 season, where Milan disappointingly finished second to Juventus, but managed to win the Supercoppa Italiana in the summer of 2011.
At the start of the 2013–14 season, Antonini left Milan to join Genoa as part of a deal which saw midfielder Valter Birsa move the other way. He made 26 appearances in Serie A, scoring two goals, in his first season with the Grifone. The following season, he made just seven appearances and was then released by the club.
Ascoli and Livorno loan (2015–2016)
Return to Prato (2016–present)
On 23 November 2016, Prato has announced that Antonini's contract was mutually terminated following his willingness to end his playing career. As revealed in the press release, Antonini will be appointed as a member of staff in the youth sector of the club.
Nine years later, Antonini got his first call-up for the senior team; newly appointed coach Cesare Prandelli named him in the squad for a friendly against Côte d'Ivoire, to be played on 10 August 2010. However, he was left as an unused substitute.
Style of play
Antonini is a versatile footballer who has been employed either as a winger or as a full-back, playing both on the left or the right side. His speed and stamina also allows him to attack and fall back to his position with ease.
Antonini is married to Benedetta Balleggi, whom he first met at the time he was in Prato. The couple have two daughters, Sofia Vittoria and Viola Maria (b. 2010).
References and notes
- Luca Rosato (6 November 2008). "Milan, Luca Antonini: il ritorno a casa di un rossonero doc". calcioblog.it (in Italian). Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- "Luca Antonini". acmilan.com. Associazione Calcio Milan. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- A list of the league games played by Antonini that season can be found here.
- Luca Valdiserri (17 June 2003). "Chievo costretto a cedere Roma e Inter all' attacco". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- AC Milan Spa 2006 Annual Report (Italian)
- "New faces, friendly faces". acmilan.com. Associazione Calcio Milan. 13 July 2008. Archived from the original on 14 August 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- "Siena vs. Fiorentina – 26 November 2006". soccerway.com. 26 November 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- AC Milan Spa 2007 Annual Report (Italian)
- "Co-ownerships resolved". acmilan.com. Associazione Calcio Milan. 20 July 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- "Empoli raid Rossoneri for trio". uefa.com. Union of European Football Associations. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Empoli vs FC Zürich in UEFA Cup 2007/2008". football-lineups.com. 20 September 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Comunicato ufficiale A.C. Milan". acmilan.com (in Italian). Associazione Calcio Milan. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- Empoli FC SpA bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2008 (Italian), PDF purchased from Italian CCIAA
- "AC Milan Group 2008 Annual Report" (PDF). AC Milan (in Italian). ca. April 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2011. Check date values in:
- Olivero Giovanni Battista (8 December 2009). "Leonardo: "Antonini e Abate, una crescita che mi fa felice"". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- "A.C. Milan official note". acmilan.com. Associazione Calcio Milan. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- "Abate and Antonini commit to Milan". uefa.com. Union of European Football Associations. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- "Great satisfaction". acmilan.com. Associazione Calcio Milan. 16 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- "Antonini al Genoa, Birsa al Milan". genoacfc.it (in Italian). Genoa Cricket and Football Club. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- "Luca Antonini ha firmato un biennale" (in Italian). Ascoli Picchio F.C. 1898. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
- Paolo Nacarlo. "Nuovo acquisto del Livorno: arriva Antonini" (in Italian). LivornoCalcio.it. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- "Antonini è tornato a casa: firma col Prato in Lega Pro" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- "Ufficializzato il calciatore Luca Antonini" (in Italian). A.C. Prato. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
- "Luca Antonini announces retirement". Football Italia. 23 November 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "L'Italia di Prandelli: 8 novità, tra cui Balotelli e Amauri. Torna Cassano". figc.com (in Italian). Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio. 6 August 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
- "Italy v Ivory Coast". eurosport.yahoo.com. Eurosport. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- "The Right Spirit". acmilan.com. Associazione Calcio Milan. 18 September 2008. Archived from the original on 23 October 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- "L. Antonini". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "A.C. Prato stagione 2001–2002". TifosiPrato.TifoNet.it (in Italian). Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- "L'altra metà di... Luca Antonini". tuttomercatoweb.com (in Italian). 6 June 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- "Congratulations to the Luca Antonini family!". ACMilan.com. Associazione Calcio Milan. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
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