Nicola Valente: from the clay courts to Palermo and at 30 the first goal in Serie B

Passion, sweat, sacrifice. Voice of the verb Nicola Valente. Believing in dreams to make them come true: few like him have performed this logical process so simple, apparently, but ultimately so difficult.

Palermo its place in the world, Barbera its home. First, a lot of apprenticeship. Never the longest step of the leg: his career was gradual and the satisfactions came slowly. Nobody gave him anything. From Serie D, to his first goal in Serie B, with the rosanero shirt, last night against Bari at San Nicola.

In a beautiful stadium, inside a painting whose frame played 35,000 spectators. And he, with his right, places it in the corner to beat Caprile. The scream strangled in the throat for the offside signal, then the intervention of the Var to underline the day on the calendar with a marker. But for someone like Valente, even at the age of 30, this can only be a starting point. Ambition, the basis of success. Quality, combined with humility.

In 2014 he plays for Legnago in Serie D: he collects 31 appearances and scores 6 assists. A total of 2,295 minutes on the pitch.

The right band is its territory, its hunting place

Racing and quality at the service of the fourth series. Too little for someone like him. But life gives nothing: he sends, if anything, satisfactions to those who really deserve them. And the big boy born in Zevio (Veneto) is present in this special list. Lega Pro is his next stop, destination Palmese: 23 appearances in all competitions, 1 goal and 1 assist. Something goes wrong, in the head the fear of not being up to it, of not being able to really make that leap in quality.

From 2016 to 2018 two other adventures: the first in Sicily with the Syracuse shirt, then at the Sambonifacese. In 24 months, 72 tokens, 9 goals and 15 assists. Not bad: an engine that is starting to be of a good level.

The meeting with Baldini and Palermo

The Carrarese card and find a friend: Silvio Baldini. It pampers him, enhances him and makes him feel important. In two years 69 appearances, 12 goals and 11 assists for his teammates. Performance and networks that are worth it the call of Palermoalso in Serie C. Same category, but different, glorious, historical place.

In the first year under the orders of Boscaglia, he played 31 times in the league and swelled the net on 5 occasions. Even 4 appearances in the playoffs in that year under the orders of Giacomo Filippi, who had taken the place of his teacher. The elimination at the hands of Avellino in the second round had extinguished his dreams of glory and those of an entire people. He still stays, until the contract expires. And he does well. Also because last season will also be the best season of his career: 38 appearances between the league and promotion play-offs, 7 goals and 7 assists. But above all a fantastic promotion to Serie B.

From January he finds him, Silvio Baldini, who considers him fundamental in his game. Always owner, a fixed point, an arrow in the arch of the Massa Carrara coach. The B is too great an opportunity not to renew the contract and so the extension comes for another year, until 2023.

The first time in Serie B

First time in the cadet series and finally the chance to prove one’s worth. To be able to stay in a category that is worth more, much more. Said, done: first away goal, in Bari, on the second day. It is a dream that comes true.

Yesterday at the microphones of Sky, he hid the emotion a bit, putting the team first: “For me the overall result of my teammates is worth, but I am very excited”. And how to blame him. From the suburban clay courts, from Serie D, to the first impregnable parable in football that counts.

At 30, the desire not to stop and age well, like wine. And who knows, to write history again with that shirt that has now become a second skin: that of Palermo. Yesterday the first scoring in Serie B, with a suitcase full of dreams and with the desire to continue to amaze.

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