10.04.2015 19:46 - in: Serie A S

      Three key Gialloblu men to watch out for

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      This week’s edition profiles versatile right-back Mattia Cassani, tough-tackler Antonio Nocerino and frontman Raffaele Palladino

      Dogged by problems on and off the pitch, Parma have had a completely different season to last year when they finished sixth in the table.

      With only 13 points to their name so far, the Gialloblu are rock bottom of the Serie A standings and very much odds-on to be relegated in the near future.

      Regardless of their ongoing difficulties, however, the players continue to show remarkable professionalism to churn out performances on a weekly basis for their ardent fans.

      And the Crociati, who enjoyed a long rivalry with Juventus during the 1990s, do possess talent all over the pitch.   

      This week’s look at the key Parma men to watch out for on Saturday evening includes three ex-Bianconeri: versatile defender Mattia Cassani, tough-tackler Antonio Nocerino and frontman Raffaele Palladino.

      Name: Mattia Cassani

      Having enjoyed a stellar campaign on loan at Parma last year, right-back Mattia Cassani joined the club on a permanent contract back in the summer.

      A product of the Juventus academy, the 31-year-old made one appearance for the Old Lady in the Champions League before moving to Sampdoria in 2003.

      Cassani became a household name during his impressive three-year stint with Palermo, going on to feature 11 times for the Italian national side before playing for other Serie A clubs such as Fiorentina and Genoa.

      With captain Alessandro Lucarelli missing the next few games through suspension, Cassani’s versatility will prove an invaluable asset to the Gialloblu as he looks to steady their rearguard for the challenges that lie ahead. 

      Name: Antonio Nocerino
      Age: 30
      Position: Central midfielder

      Industrious midfielder Antonio Nocerino is also one of Parma’s newest acquisitions, having signed for the club on a temporary basis until the end of the season. 

      The ex-Azzurri international, who spent his youth career with Juventus and featured for West Ham in the Premier League during the 2013/14 campaign, is hoping to enjoy a new lease of life in Emilia-Romagna after seeing his career falter in the last few years.

      Likened to former Milan hero Gennaro Gattuso, Nocerino has been primarily deployed as the shield in front of the defence as well as featuring in a box-to-box role.

      One for trivia buffs, the 30-year-old scored in Italy’s 4-2 penalty shootout win over England at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2012.

      Name: Raffaele Palladino
      Position: Forward

      Another Bianconeri youth graduate, Raffaele Palladino, is now in his fifth season at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

      The 30-year-old forward, who can operate in a supporting striker role or out on the wing, is adept with his dribbling ability and possesses a knack for nutmegging opposition players.

      Although tall and ranging, Palladino is nimble and light on his feet, proving himself difficult for defenders to handle.

      Despite making just 11 appearances this term, Palladino has two strikes and an assist to his name. He also scored Parma’s 1000th goal in Serie A during a 2-2 draw away at Udinese back in November 2012.

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