Ezequiel Iván Lavezzim born 3 May 1985, nicknamed "El Pocho", is an Argentine football striker who currently plays for Italian Serie A club Napoli and the Argentine national team.
1 Club career
1.1 Early career
1.3 San Lorenzo
2 International career
3 Club statistics
6 External links
The media, as they tend to do to many promising young Argentine players who appear in Italy, have been quick to dub Lavezzi the "New Maradona". Lavezzi himself, however, plays this down, instead comparing himself to another young Argentine player, Carlos Tévez. Despite this, his style very much follows the principles of Argentine Football Creole Style made famous by Maradona himself.
As a youngster, Lavezzi had a very keen interest in football and supported his local side Rosario Central; he would later get their badge tattooed on his chest.
From a very young age, the footballing talent of Lavezzi was recognised, as he played in the youth squads of Rosario Central. After being rejected in Boca Juniors. Lavezzi moved to the youth side of Estudiantes de Buenos Aires in 2003, where over one season, he played 39 games and scored 17 goals.
Known as el Pocho or the Chubby One, he was bought by Italian side Genoa in 2004 for €1 million, but was loaned out straight-away to Argentina side San Lorenzo. Here at the age of 19, he competed in the Apertura 2004 tournament scoring six goals in total over the course of the season; which saw him finish as 4th top scorer.
Lavezzi's most notable contributions included a spectacular effort against River Plate at the El Monumental. He scored in the 69th minute to give San Lorenzo a famous victory and seriously damage River's title challenge. This gained him the nickname la Bestia "the Beast" from the Argentine media.
Although it was planned for Lavezzi to return back to Genoa after a season on loan, there were problems: while Lavezzi was playing in Argentina, Genoa were involved in an alleged match-fixing scandal which saw them relegated down to Serie C1, the third level of Italian football. Due to financial constraints, the promising forward was sold to San Lorenzo for €1.2 million.
On his return to San Lorenzo for the Apertura 2005 season, he managed to help the club up into the top half of the table, and with eight goals, he finished as the overall fourth top scorer. His last act as a San Lorenzo player was to help them to the Clausura 2007 title, beating out Boca Juniors by six points.
Napoli had recently achieved promotion back to Serie A, after finishing as runners-up the previous season in Serie B. Looking to strengthen their squad for a return to the top level, Napoli signed Lavezzi on a five-year contract on 5 July 2007. The transfer deal was worth around €6 million and he was presented before the fans and given the #7 shirt for his first season.
Lavezzi soon made an impact for the club by scoring a hat-trick in a 3–1 victory over Pisa in the Coppa Italia at the Stadio San Paolo; this was the first hat-trick by a Napoli player in 14 years. The first league goal Lavezzi scored for Napoli came during a 5–0 victory against Udinese on 2 September 2007. After the match, he was described in reports as "inspirational," with the media proclaiming, "Napoli's star is born." Neapolitan club hadn't won a league match by such a large margin since 1988, when Diego Maradona was at the club.
He completed the 2007–08 season with eight goals in 35 games. He quickly became a focal point of the fans' affection with his skills. In the 2008–09 season, he scored seven goals in 30 games.In the 2009/2010 he scored 8 goals in 30 games but he had not played around 10 games because of injuries.
Lavezzi made his international debut for the Argentine national team team against Chile on 18 April 2007. He was chosen to represent Argentina at the 2008 Olympics. He scored two goals, one against Australia on 10 August 2008, and a penalty against Serbia on 13 August 2008. Lavezzi also appeared in the final minutes of extra time against Nigeria, in a game Argentina won 1–0.
Lavezzi's club form was not enough to see him included in Diego Maradona's 2010 FIFA World Cup squad.