Palermo-Spezia: Trio of Former Players in Palermo, Elia Returns in the Other Side

The best pages of their careers were built with other clubs. However, just like any player who faces their former team, Soleri, Lucioni, and Ceccaroni will have conflicting feelings about the challenge against Spezia. They will certainly be focused on the goal of further boosting Palermo’s ranking, but with an opponent like Spezia, their motivations will be special. All three players played for the Ligurian team when their football adventure was taking its first steps: now they are established players and key points for Palermo’s pursuit of Serie A.

For Elia, it will be an equally fascinating challenge at Spezia: eleven appearances and three goals with Palermo before a cruciate ligament injury ended his season on October 23, 2022, against Cittadella. The winger, who will ironically return to Barbera Stadium exactly one year after the terrible injury, had proven to be very reliable. However, being on loan, the club made different choices instead of redeeming him from Atalanta. The price of 3 million for his redemption was too high, especially considering the many questions about his return, so Palermo quickly moved on to Insigne at the end of June. Elia’s sacrifice was one of the most difficult, both because the Rosanero team tried to wait for him until the last moment and because there was an intense bond between the player and the club, albeit short-lived. The Rosanero shirt was a heartfelt choice for him: his father Firmino had played for Palermo for 18 months between January 2000 and June 2001, scoring 16 goals and moving to Avellino after promotion to Serie B. For this reason, Salvatore expressed his intention not to celebrate if he scores a goal: his affection for the Rosanero club is still strong, and he probably regrets not being able to play consistently.

For Soleri, the match on Monday, October 23, will have a dual meaning: in addition to seeking revenge against a team that did not believe in him, the number 27 wants to return to the center of Corini’s chessboard after sitting on the bench without playing a single minute in three of the last four games. His centrality in Palermo’s project is not in question, while at Spezia in the 2017/18 season, his adventure ended after six months and only five appearances, with the early termination of his loan from Roma. From there, the striker began a long journey between foreign clubs (Almeria, Almere City, and Braga B) and Italian clubs (Padova and Monopoli) before joining Palermo and becoming the king of substitutes. He will likely start the next match on the bench, but it is clear that this time his desire to make a difference will be greater than usual.

The perception of the challenge is different for Lucioni, who found his first promotion in his career with Spezia in the 2011/12 season before establishing himself as a specialist with Benevento, Lecce, and Frosinone. For the Ligurian team, it was the return to Serie B after four years, but it was also the end of a nightmare after the club’s bankruptcy in 2008 and three promotions (back then, there were still Serie C1 and C2 divisions and no distinction between North, Central, and South). Spezia’s feat, which completed the “treble” by winning the Coppa Italia Lega Pro and Supercoppa di Prima Divisione, had even greater resonance with the astonishing recovery of 10 points behind Trapani in the last seven matches.

Ceccaroni’s experience in Liguria was longer. He moved from the Primavera team to the senior team and spent four seasons with Spezia from 2013 to 2018 (except for the 2015/16 season on loan to Spal, where he achieved promotion to Serie B). The period was devoid of satisfaction for both the player and the team. Ceccaroni played 37 matches in four years without scoring, and although Spezia made it to the playoffs three times, they were always eliminated in the first round.

Palermo-Spezia: c’è un trio di ex nel Palermo e dall’altra parte si rivede Elia

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