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Profile: Gennaro Gattuso
16.7 || Seamus

In a team where looks and fame sometimes seem to take first priority over football, Gennaro ‘Rino’ Gattuso is a shining light.
Gattuso, who plays for Serie A champions AC Milan, is a no-nonsense, combative style defensive midfielder who always seems to bring the best out of the sometimes lacklustre Azzurri.

Whilst he may not posses such skill and creativity that the likes of Francesco Totti, Andrea Pirlo and Alessandro Del Piero have in abundance, Gattuso’s spirit and attitude is something that these players should really look to apply to themselves in order to salvage something from Italy’s slow start to EURO 2004.

"The hallmarks of my game are grit, tenacity, courage. I never stop fighting for the team.”

Gattuso, born in Calabria, deep-down in the south of Italy, is typically unfazed with the fact that he isn’t gifted with such talent as some of his team-mates. In fact, the midfielder, who grew to prominence with Rangers FC in Scotland, was once asked to comment on team-mate Andrea Pirlo and his words typify his no-nonsense attitude to the game.

“When I see what Andrea can do with a ball, I have to ask myself whether I am a footballer.”

This attitude is one that Gattuso carries into every game, which sees him receive more than his fair share of bookings. But whilst the tough-tackler sometimes gets carried away with his challenges, his presence around some more creative players gives Italy some much needed midfield stability, as well as a great fighting spirit.

Rino in Italian means ‘growl’ or ‘grunt’ – a perfect example of how Gattuso is singled out as a fiercely-aggressive player amongst the likes of Pirlo, Totti and Del Piero.

When asked to comment on some comments made by Totti about his socks and shoes after the game against Denmark, Gattuso came out with a typical response.

"Don’t make me laugh about this story with the socks. Kenyans run hundreds of kilometres with bare feet”.

A typical Gattuso comment – no-nonsense, straight to the point and fiercely aggressive, precisely the way he loves to play the game.

Love him or hate him, Gattuso is a shining light in an Italian team that has yet to hit their stride at EURO 2004. Such a player should be an automatic choice when Giovanni Trapattoni sits down to fill out his team sheet ahead of every game.

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