From the beginning of the season, the family of strong football players has grown with one more member. Alongside names that have gained popularity with their huge physiques, such as Adebayo Akinfenwa and Adama Traore, we can now add a new star – Lecce defender Federico Bassirotto.
Born in 1996, the footballer made his Serie A debut only in the autumn part of the season, but has already managed to attract the attention of fans and journalists with his performances. So far, only in 2023, Bassirotto has scored 3 goals in Serie A and is causing a real sensation in Calcio.
On the stands of the “Via del Mare” stadium, banners with the inscription “Bassirotto-mania” and cardboard figures of an action hero with his face can be seen. There, he has already taken his place as an idol.
Of course, his most impressive quality at first glance is his physique, which has no equal in Italian football and can only be compared to that of two or three other players in the world.
“I dedicate a lot of time to physical preparation of my body. I think that is the engine that allows us to work harder during the game. I have become stronger, tougher, faster. Without a doubt, football today offers a lot more physical confrontations and my physique helps me to cope better. It has helped me over the years and continues to do so,” says Bassirotto.
Baskirato has also undergone a serious metamorphosis. At the beginning of the season, he played as a right-back, but now coach Marco Baroni uses him in the center of defense, and he has been quite successful in this role. While the player’s physique is the first thing that stands out, his statistics are also impressive. His good performances even attracted the attention of national team selector Roberto Mancini, who named him among Italy’s prospective players in his winter list a few weeks ago.
Baskirato is the second best player in Europe when it comes to playing with his head (after Danilo Doeki of Union Berlin) and has comparable stats to established defenders like Eder Militao and Chris Smalling. He has scored three headed goals this season. In addition, he is the player who has made the most ball recoveries in Serie A – 102.
He also manages to keep the ball 5.1 times on average per game compared to 3.5 times on average for central defenders in Serie A. He wins 76% of his duels compared to 64% on average for the league and only dribbles past an opponent 0.1 times every 90 minutes, compared to an average of 0.5 times for the league.
“Nothing has changed for me. I am still the same, trying harder and working with more dedication. The level has gone up and to meet the expectations, I need to keep doing what I’m doing,” the footballer says. “Determination is my most important quality. The secret is to keep believing in yourself even when you feel like saying ‘enough’.”
The career of Federico Baschirotto is yet another example of the unwavering determination of human will. Not everyone can persevere when everything seems to indicate that they will never make it to professional football. The first time he went to practice as a boy, he had a motorcycle accident. Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured. After his first match for the youth team of Lenago, he was called up to the senior team, even though the team was competing in Serie “D”. Baschirotto impressed everyone at the club.
He went through school and went to Cremonese. He lived in a seminary and graduated in accounting. Around that time, fitness became a mandatory part of his daily routine. In July 2021, the Serie B team Ascoli paid €200,000 to his former club Viterbese, which was competing in Serie “C”. Barely a year later, he was bought by the new entry to the Italian elite, Lecce, for €350,000.
If he hadn’t made it in football, Baschirotto would most likely have worked on his father’s farm, which wouldn’t have been surprising. A very small percentage of young people become professionals and play in the elite leagues. To this day, he continues to help out on the farm with his three brothers whenever he has free time.
“When he wasn’t playing football (during the pandemic), he always helped us out, loading and unloading pigs from the trucks. It’s not an easy job, but he’s tough. At the same time, he enrolled in the University of Parma, majoring in Zootechnical Sciences and Techniques for Animal Rearing,” says his father.