24.09.2014 14:44 - in: Serie A S

      Cesena in the spotlight

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      Founded in 1940 and based in Emilia-Romagna, the newly-promoted Cavallucci Marini are enjoying their 13th campaign in Italy’s top flight


      Cesena are based in the region of Emilia-Romagna, in Northern Italy. They share the same black and white colours as Juventus and have predominately flitted between Serie B and the Lega Pro ever since the club’s inception, spending a total of 13 seasons in the top flight.

      Nicknamed the Cavallucci Marini (Seahorses), Cesena were founded in 1940 and achieved their first historic promotion to Serie A back in 1973.

      Key players such as Pierluigi Cera and Gianluigi Savoldi helped the club to an 11th placed finish in their debut season but after unexpectedly qualifying for the UEFA Cup in 1976, they were relegated back to Serie B the following year.

      Further promotions would follow in 1981 and 1987, with the latter giving rise to the club’s longest stint in the top flight (four years).

      It would take just under two decades before top flight football returned to the Dino Manuzzi in 2010, when a final day win over Piacenza secured back-to-back promotions for Pierpaolo Bisoli.

      After escaping relegation the year before, Cesena’s most recent season in Serie A saw them relegated after finishing rock bottom with only 22 points in 2012.

      Bisoli’s return to the club in September 2012 saw him sow the seeds for yet another promotion push, which came to fruition when Lazio-based outfit Latina were dispatched 4-2 on aggregate in last season’s playoffs.


      Cesena play their home games at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi, formerly known as the Stadio La Fiorita for 25 years, which was given its current name after former president Dino Manuzzi’s death in 1982.

      Inaugurated in 1957, the 23,860-seater arena’s pitch was converted into an artificial playing surface at the start of the 2011/12 Serie A campaign.

      One for obscure pub quiz answers: during the Bianconeri’s victorious 1999 Intertoto Cup run, the stadium was used as Juventus’ “official” home ground for the tournament.

      The Italian national football team have also contested three friendly triumphs at the Dino Manuzzi against Bulgaria, San Marino and Sweden.

      Current team

      Much-travelled Massimo Volta is currently in his third loan stint with Cesena and incidentally made his Serie A debut against the Bianconeri with Sampdoria in September 2010.

      Having played under Cesena manager Bisoli at Foligno, the right-back followed up his unfruitful spell with Levante in Spain with another move to the Emilia-Romagna club in 2013. An ever-present in a defence who only conceded 35 times last season, Volta is a key member of the squad. 

      Versatile midfielder Emmanuel Cascione played an important part in Cesena’s successful promotion push by scoring the winning goal in the Cavallucci Marini’s play-off final second leg victory over Latina.

      The 31-year-old began his professional career in England with West Ham but having failed to make a senior appearance for the Hammers, returned to Italy with Pistoiese. He also went on to have further spells at Rimini, Reggina and Pescara with whom he won the Serie B title in 2011/12.  

      Spanish forward Alejandro Rodriguez, who came through the youth systems at both Elche and Espanyol, joined Cesena back in 2010.

      After spending the 2011/12 season on loan at Pavia, he returned to the club to hit eight goals in Cesena’s successful promotion last year before nabbing his side’s first of this year’s campaign in the opening day 1-0 win over Parma. 

      Transfer activity

      Having signed for the Bianconeri back in June 2012, goalkeeper Nicola Leali has spent the previous couple of seasons out on loan with Lanciano and Spezia, and will do the same during the current campaign with Cesena.

      The 21-year-old has played each of the Cavallucci Marini’s first three games of the 2014/15 season, keeping a clean sheet against Emilia-Romagna rivals Parma on his official Serie A debut in August. He was also part of the Azzurrini’s 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad that finished runners-up to Spain in Israel.

      Another Bianconeri youngster sporting the Cesena colours this season is Icelandic Under-21 defender Hordur Magnusson.

      Having transferred to Juventus in 2011, he spent two seasons with the Primavera before joining Spezia on a co-ownership agreement in 2013. After making 22 Serie B appearances for the Liguria-based outfit, the Old Lady bought back the remaining 50 per cent share of the 21-year-old’s contract and he was immediately loaned out to the Cavallucci Marini in July 2014.

      Centre back Stefano Lucchini joins from Atalanta on a permanent deal with over a decade worth of experience in Italy’s top flight.

      The 33-year-old spent the last three seasons in Bergamo, making over 70 appearances in all competitions and his know-how of Serie A will be invaluable for a Cesena side who will be looking to cement their place in Italy’s premier division over the course of this season.

      Veteran Franco Brienza has joined the Serie A newcomers on a one-year deal after three separate stints with Palermo and an 18-month spell with Atalanta.

      The 35-year-old is adept in either the attacking midfielder position or as a winger and made two appearances for the Azzurri when Marcello Lippi’s side partook in North-American Tour in 2005.

      Powerful striker Guido Marilungo has re-signed for the Cavallucci Marini on a season-long loan after spending six months with Cesena from January 2014.

      The 25-year-old scored five goals in 25 Serie B appearances and got off the mark for this campaign with the winner in Cesena’s 1-0 Coppa Italia victory over Casertana as well as the opener in his side’s 2-2 home draw against Empoli on Saturday. 


      Pierpaolo Bisoli, who steered Cesena to promotion through the play-offs last season, is in his second spell at the helm of the club.

      The 47-year-old replaced Nicola Campedelli after a disappointing start to the 2012/13 Serie B season and managed to lead Cesena to a 14th placed finish during his inaugural campaign. 

      Prior to his managerial career, Bisoli was somewhat of a journeyman having played for no less than ten clubs in almost 20 years at professional level.

      A midfielder, he began his career in 1984 with Pistoiese for three seasons before moving on to Alessandria and Arezzo. A short two-year spell at Viareggio followed before joining Cagliari in 1991.

      During his six campaigns with the Rossoblu, he scored five goals in 167 appearances and was a mainstay in the club’s 1993/94 UEFA Cup semi-final run where they succumbed to eventual winners Inter.

      Further stints at Empoli, Perugia, Brescia, Pistoiese and amateur hometown club Porretta brought the curtain down on his career.

      Two years after confirming his retirement in 2003, Bisoli served as an assistant coach at Fiorentina before being appointed head coach of Serie C2 side Prato only a few months later.

      After two seasons with the Tuscan-based outfit, he moved on to Serie C1 side Foligno but he was unable to guide the Umbrian club up through the divisions.

      Cesena came calling in 2008 and after overseeing a promotion to Serie B in his first season, Bisoli was at it again the following year, guiding his charges to second and, in the process, ending the club's 19-year absence from the top flight.

      He left Cesena at the end of the 2009/10 season but after two unsuccessful spells at Cagliari and Bologna, returned to the Cavallucci Marini hotseat in September 2012.

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