Cristian Daniel Ledesma

Cristian Daniel Ledesma (born 24 September 1982) is an Argentine-born Italian retired footballer who played as a central midfielder. He is currently working as a coach for the Ledesma Academy.

Cristian Ledesma
Ledesma playing for Lazio in 2008
Personal information
Full name Cristian Daniel Ledesma
Date of birth (1982-09-24) 24 September 1982 (age 38)
Place of birth Morón, Argentina
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1997–2001 Boca Juniors
2001–2002 Lecce
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2006 Lecce 126 (4)
2006–2015 Lazio 259 (12)
2015 Santos 4 (0)
2016–2017 Panathinaikos 6 (3)
2017 Ternana 19 (0)
2017–2018 Lugano 20 (0)
2018 Pro Piacenza 14 (0)
National team
2010 Italy 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16 December 2018

A dual citizen of Argentina and Italy, he appeared with the latter's national team in November 2010.

Ledesma is perhaps best known for his nine years at Italian club Lazio, where he was involved in two Coppa Italia wins. He is a deep lying central midfield playmaker with good vision, passing, and technique; he also possesses a powerful shot with either foot, despite being naturally right-footed, and occasionally scores goals from long range.[1]

Club career

Early career

Born in Morón, Buenos Aires, Ledesma grew up in Puerto Madryn, in the province of Chubut.[2] He later returned to the capital, joining the youth system of Boca Juniors in 1997 at the age of 14.[3]

In 2001 Ledesma moved to Italy and joined Lecce, whose sporting director Pantaleo Corvino decided to bring him to Salento. Initially assigned to the Primavera squad, he made his first team – and Serie A – debut on 10 March 2002, starting in a 1–2 away loss against Atalanta.

After suffering relegation, Ledesma was definitely promoted to the main squad. He scored his first goal for the club on 1 December 2002, netting the last in a 1–1 Serie B draw at Hellas Verona.

Ledesma appeared in 29 matches during the campaign, as Lecce returned to the top tier at first attempt. He scored his first goal in the main category on 9 November 2003, netting his team's second in a 2–2 away draw against Perugia.

Ledesma was an ever-present figure for the Giallorossi during the following campaigns, being also captain.


In July 2006, after suffering another relegation, Ledesma signed a four-year deal with Lazio, for a 5.3 million fee. He made his debut for the club on 19 August 2006, starting in a 4–0 Coppa Italia home routing of Rende.

During his first season in the capital, Ledesma established himself as a key player despite a difficult start. His first moment of magic came in the December 2006 Derby della Capitale against historical rivals AS Roma, when he scored a strike from 25 metres out. He continued this good form until the end of the season, by which time Lazio had qualified for the UEFA Champions League. He successively served as vice-captain, and was a protagonist in Lazio's winning Coppa Italia 2008–09 campaign.

In July 2009, with his contract set to expire in the following year, Ledesma was excluded from the first team due to disagreements with club chairman Claudio Lotito and did not play any competitive games during the whole first half of the 2009–10 season. This led the player to formally ask the Lega Calcio arbitration committee for a contract termination due to violation of its terms, only a few weeks after teammate Goran Pandev had taken the same exact action.

This was however turned down on 26 January 2010 on the grounds that Ledesma was occasionally involved in first-team activities.[4] After being linked with a move to Internazionale, he ultimately stayed at Lazio and, immediately after the replacement of head coach Davide Ballardini with veteran manager Edoardo Reja, he made his 2009–10 season debut on 14 February, being featured in the starting lineup in a 2–0 win at Parma. Since his return on the pitch, Ledesma immediately established himself back into being a key player for the biancazzurri.

On 23 August 2010, Ledesma signed a new contract with Lazio, extending his link until 2015.[5] In his 2010–11 campaign, he was one of the protagonists of Lazio's surprising start that led the Rome club to even top the Serie A table for a few weeks between October and November. Lazio ended their 2011–12 season campaign qualifying once again for Europa League and only just missing out to Udinese by goal difference in a Champions League spot.

On 1 July 2015 Ledesma was released, after not having his contract renewed. He appeared in 318 matches and scored 14 goals for Lazio, being honoured by the club after his departure.[6]


On 28 August 2015 Ledesma agreed to a contract with Brazilian club Santos.[7] He made his debut for the club on 18 October, coming on as a second-half substitute for Renato in a 3–1 home win against Goiás.

On 6 January 2016, after being rarely used, Ledesma rescinded his contract.[8]


On 14 July 2016, Panathinaikos have officially announced the transfer of Argentinian midfielder. The 33-year-old centre midfielder, who played for Santos last season, has signed a two-year contract with the Greens, for an undisclosed fee.[9] On 18 August 2016,Lendesma along with Marcus Berg was the scorer of goal from the penalty spot, helping Panathinaikos won his first leg of the Europa League play offs and is set to qualify for the group stage, as the Greens crushed Danish Brøndby IF 3–0 at Leoforos stadium.[10] On 2 October 2016, he scored with two penalty kicks helping his club to achieve a 3–1 home win against Asteras Tripoli for the 4th day of the 2016–17 season.[11]

On 28 December 2016, as expected, Panathinaikos have parted ways with Ledesma. The Greens have officially announced the news, while the 34-year-old midfielder seems to be heading to Italy.[12]



Pro Piacenza

On 5 September 2018 Ledesma returned to Italy once again for Serie C club Pro Piacenza.[13] Pro Piacenza experienced financial difficulties in late 2018 and all the players were released from contracts.

International career

Ledesma acquired Italian citizenship in 2008 through marriage to an Italian woman he met during his spell at Lecce; this made him eligible at international level for both Argentina and the Italy (Azzurri), as he had never been capped with the Selección before.[14]

On 14 November 2010 Ledesma accepted a call-up by Italy manager Cesare Prandelli for a friendly match against Romania, thus becoming the third oriundo to become part of the Azzurri senior squad in the last ten years, the other two being Mauro Camoranesi and Amauri.[15]

After retirement

Ledesma confirmed in the summer 2019 that he had retired from football and would continue as a coach for the Ledesma Academy, where he should be in charge of training children from 5 to 15 years.[16]

Career statistics


As of 25 May 2018[17][18]
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Lecce 2001–02 Serie A 101020
2002–03 Serie B 29110301
2003–04 Serie A 30110311
2004–05 33042372
2005–06 33210342
Subtotal 1264821346
S.S. Lazio 2006–07 Serie A 33230362
2007–08 323407[lower-alpha 1]0433
2008–09 34271413
2009–10 130000000130
2010–11 34120361
2011–12 373208[lower-alpha 2]0473
2012–13 3615011[lower-alpha 2]0521
2013–14 270105[lower-alpha 2]01[lower-alpha 3]0340
2014–15 13031161
Subtotal 259122723101031814
Santos 2015 Série A 40000040
Subtotal 40000040
Panathinaikos 2016–17 Superleague Greece 63108100154
Ternana 2016–17 Serie B 190190
Lugano 2017–18 Swiss Super League 200204[lower-alpha 2]0260
Career total 434193844311051624
  1. All appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  2. All appearance(s) in UEFA Europa League
  3. All appearance(s) in Supercoppa Italiana


As of 29 August 2015[19]




  1. "'Consigli per gli acquisiti' - Cristian Ledesma per un centrocampo Azzurro perfetto" ['Suggestions for purchases' - Cristian Ledesma for a perfect 'light blue' midfield] (in Italian). Pianeta Azzurro. 15 June 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  2. "Infanzia e primi calci" [Childhood and early career] (in Italian). Cristian Ledesma's official website. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  3. "Boca Juniors" (in Italian). Cristian Ledesma's official website. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  4. "Ledesma loses Lazio case". Sky Sports. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  5. "Finalmente la fumata biancha: Ledesma ha rinnovato per i promissi 5 anni (Italian)". La Lazio siamo noi. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  6. "Il saluto a Cristian Ledesma dopo 9 anni di Lazio" [Greetings to Cristian Ledesma after 9 years of Lazio] (in Italian). Lazio's official website. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  7. "Ledesma aceita oferta e deve assinar com o Santos na próxima semana" [Ledesma accepts offer and is set to sign with Santos in the next week] (in Portuguese). Globo Esporte. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  8. "Pouco utilizados, Ledesma e Leonardo rescindem com o Santos" [Rarely used, Ledesma and Leonardo rescind with Santos]. Globo Esporte (in Portuguese). 6 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  9. Ανακοινώθηκε η μεταγραφή του Λεντέσμα (in Greek). 14 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  10. Panathinaikos vs Brøndby 3-0. Retrieved 18 August 2016
  11. Απολαμβάνει την κορυφή ο Παναθηναϊκός 3-1 τον Αστέρα. Retrieved 2 October 2016
  12. Τέλος και επίσημα από τον Παναθηναϊκό ο Λεντέσμα. Retrieved 28 December 2016
  13. "Cristian Daniel Ledesma" (Press release) (in Italian). A.S. Pro Piacenza 1919. 5 September 2018. Archived from the original on 10 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  14. "Ora anche Lippi vuole Ledesma in Nazionale". Corriere dello Sport – Stadio. 14 January 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2010.[permanent dead link]
  15. "Balzaretti, Diamanti, Ledesma e Ranocchia le novità tra i 23 azzurri" (in Italian). 13 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  16. Selvi, Riccardo (4 July 2019). "Cristian Ledesma lascia il calcio giocato e riparte dai più piccoli: nasce la "Ledesma Academy"" [Cristian Ledesma leaves the soccer game and starts again with the smaller ones: the "Ledesma Academy" is born]. (in Italian). Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  17. Cristian Ledesma at Soccerway. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  18. "Ledesma Cristian Daniel" (in Italian). Tutto Calciatori. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  19. "Cristian Ledesma". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmermann. Retrieved 29 August 2015.