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An XI of well-known players sold by Genoa

Despite the 2018/19 season being their 12th consecutive season in Serie A, Genoa are perhaps one of the lesser known sides in Italy’s top flight.

This is in part due to the recent dominance of sides like Juventus, and partly due to their success dating way back into the annals of history.

Having been formed in 1893, Genoa are the oldest side in Italian football. In terms of title wins they are actually the fourth-most successful side, having won the top flight on nine occasions. The problem here is that the last of them came in 1924.

In recent years, for the most part, they’ve been a moderately successful mid-table side, with a sixth-place finish in 2014/15 a high water mark for a side that have seen plenty of talented players come through the ranks.

The highly-competitive nature of the modern football environment – plus some scandals and financial crises for good measure – mean Genoa have found it hard to hold onto their star players.

Here is how they could have looked today if, by some miracle, they’d kept hold of their best players.

Goalkeeper: Marco Amelia

Genoa apps: 30

Current club: Retired 

Career value: £15.57m

He may have spent the 2015/16 season behind-the-scenes at Chelsea without making an appearance, but back in his heyday, Amelia won nine caps for Italy.

Amelia turned out for Genoa in the 2009/10 season, helping them finish in a respectable ninth place in Serie A. He joined Milan on loan the next season, before the Rossoneri took up the option to buy him permanently. After spells with Rocca Priora, Perugia, Chelsea and Vicenza, he retired in 2017.

Right-back: Rafinha

Genoa apps: 34

Current club: Bayern Munich

Career value: £16.65m

The Brazilian fullback joined Genoa for €8m from Schalke in 2010, but only stayed for one season in Italy, scoring twice to help the side finish 10th. Although Rafinha was a good purchase, Genoa were sued by Schalke for not paying the transfer fee on time.

Rafinha joined Bayern Munich for a bargain €5.75m a year later and has gone on to become a dependable squad player for the German champions. In seven years in Bavaria, he’s picked up six Bundesliga titles, three German cups and one Champions League winners’ medal. Not bad.

Centre-back: Sokratis 

Genoa apps: 51

Current club: Arsenal

Career value: £38.07m

Before making his name in Germany the Greek defender spent two seasons in Italy with Genoa from 2008 to 2010, and became a regular in the line-up and a fan-favourite.

After a complicated and temporary switch to Milan he joined Werder Bremen on a season-long loan for the 2011/12 campaign, although he soon impressed enough to earn a €5m transfer. The no-nonsense Greece international has since moved to Dortmund where he became a regular under Thomas Tuchel, before heading to Unai Emery’s Arsenal in the summer of 2018.

Centre-back: Leonardo Bonucci

Genoa apps: 0

Current club: Juventus

Career value: £96.34m

What could have been… Although he never played for the club, Bonucci was, for a short time, a Genoa-owned player. Having undergone a medical in June, he was officially announced as a Genoa player on July 1 2009. However, just a day later he was transferred to Bari in a co-ownership deal. Very odd.

How Genoa must regret their actions now. Bonucci became a regular at Bari in the 2009/10 season before Juventus swooped. The Italian international has developed into one of the best and most sought-after centre-backs in world football since, and after winning six Serie A titles with the Old Lady, made the switch to AC Milan in 2017. Bonucci’s stay at the San Siro lasted just a single season before returning to Juventus at the start of this season.

Left-back: Domenico Criscito

Genoa apps: 186

Current club: Genoa

Career value: £30.56m

The Italian international has spent three spells with Genoa. He came up through the club’s academy before spending some time with Juventus. He returned to enjoy three seasons between 2008 and 2011 before moving to Russia and Zenit.

Criscito won two Russian Premier League titles with Zenit, while earning 26 Italy caps, before returning to Genoa once again in the summer.

Holding midfield: Tomas Rincon

Genoa apps: 82

Current club: Torino

Career value: £16m

The tenacious midfielder joined a long list of talented players to have left Genoa in January 2017, moving to Juventus for £6.8m.

After making just 13 Serie A appearances in Turin, he moved to Torino on loan where he has since made the move permanent since January 2018.

Holding midfield: Thiago Motta

Genoa apps: 27

Current club: Retired

Career value: £20.15m

Another high-profile player who spent just one season at Genoa before moving up the ladder. Motta joined from Atletico Madrid in 2008 before moving to Inter a year later.

Although known primarily as a controlling presence at PSG before his recent retirement, Motta scored six goals in the 2008/09 season for Genoa, helping them qualify for the Europa League.

Right-wing: Ezequiel Lavezzi

Genoa apps: 0

Current club: Hebei China Fortune

Career value: £38.97m

Another case of what could have been: Lavezzi was picked up for €1m in 2004 from Estudiantes before being immediately loaned to fellow Argentine club, San Lorenzo. An alleged match-fixing scandal and following financial crisis meant Genoa couldn’t afford to hold onto Lavezzi, who was subsequently sold to San Lorenzo.

The Argentine forward joined Napoli in 2007 and impressed enough to earn a big-money move to PSG before he was lured by the riches of the Chinese Super League.

Attacking midfield: Iago Falque

Genoa apps: 32

Current club: Torino

Career value: £15.52m

Falque has been the next big thing for a long time. Now 29, he’s already turned out for nine clubs, with loan deal after loan deal meaning he’s not spent longer than a season at one club at a time.

The Spaniard spent the 2014/15 season at Genoa after they signed him from Tottenham, where it didn’t work out. Falque scored 13 goals in 32 Serie A appearances that season, while also creating 48 chances. That impressive return earned him a move to Roma in 2015, who loaned him to Torino and made the move permanent in 2017, scoring 29 goals in 94 appearances in all competitions so far.

Left-wing: Stephan El Shaarawy

Genoa apps: 3

Current club: Roma

Career value: £27.12m

The Italy international joined Genoa as a 14-year-old, but after coming through the club’s academy he made just three first-team appearances, including a Serie A debut as 16-year-old, before joining Milan in 2011.

During a five-year spell at Milan, he’s played for Monaco and Roma on loan before joining the club from Italy’s capital permanently in 2016. Now 26, he has scored 36 goals in 124 games so far for the club.

Striker: Giovanni Simeone

Genoa apps: 33

Current club: Fiorentina

Career value: £18m

The son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego has been making a name for himself in recent seasons. Having signed in August 2016 from River Plate, he went on to become a key player for Genoa, scoring 12 league goals in 35 Serie A appearances so far.

He has since left for Fiorentina where he has scored 20 times in 64 Serie A appearances so far.

The XI

Squad players: Sime Vrsaljko, Cristian Ansaldi, Nenad Tomovic, Andrea Ranocchia, Francesco Acerbi, Chico Flores, Facundo Roncaglia, Luca Antonelli, Valon Behrami, Miguel Veloso, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Juraj Kucka, Stefano Sturaro, Andrea Bertolacci, Diego Laxalt, Diego Perotti, Mattia Destro, Rodrigo Palacio, Ciro Immobile, Lucas Pratto.

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