Domenico "Mimmo" Criscito (Italian pronunciation: [doˈmeːniko ˈmimmo ˈkriʃʃito]; born 30 December 1986) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a left-back and captains for Genoa and the Italian national team. A versatile player, Criscito is effective both offensively and defensively, and is also capable of playing as a wing-back, or as a central defender, a position which he often occupied in his early career.
Criscito with Genoa in 2018
|Full name||Domenico Criscito|
|Date of birth||30 December 1986|
|Place of birth||Cercola, Italy|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|2006–2009||→ Genoa (loan)||87||(7)|
|2011–2018||Zenit Saint Petersburg||156||(15)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:11, 19 March 2021 (UTC).|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10 October 2018
Criscito played for Serie A clubs Genoa and Juventus, making over 200 appearances across four spells for the former. He also played for seven years in the Russian Premier League for Zenit Saint Petersburg, making 225 total appearances and winning two league titles for the team. A full international since 2009, he represented the Italian national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
A native of southern Italy, Criscito moved up north at age 13 to pursue his football career. He started his professional career at Genoa, for whom he made his debut in Serie B in June 2003 at the age of 16. In the summer of 2004, Genoa sold 50% of Criscito and Francesco Volpe contracts to Juventus for €1.9 million, with 50% contract of Antonio Nocerino was sold to Genoa for €450,000.
Criscito played for Juventus's Primavera team alongside Italy U-21 teammates Claudio Marchisio, Paolo De Ceglie and Sebastian Giovinco, and together they won the 2005–06 Campionato Nazionale Primavera. In the 2006–07 season, he returned to Genoa and established himself as one of the top young defenders in Serie B. In January 2007, Juventus bought his remaining 50% registration rights for €7.5 million. This was paid by the co-ownership of Masiello and Konko to Genoa, and €5.25 million cash. He also signed a new contract with Juventus that would last until 30 June 2011 and remaining on loan at Genoa.
Criscito made his Serie A debut for Juventus on 25 August 2007, in Juve's comeback game in Serie A versus Livorno, a crushing 5–1 victory. However, he endured a difficult time at the Turin club. He was deemed "too soft" to be a centre-back after Francesco Totti scored twice in six minutes in the September game, a 2–2 draw, against Roma from his side of the pitch. Criscito was substituted at half-time. After that, he found himself behind Nicola Legrottaglie and Giorgio Chiellini in the pecking order due to their outstanding form.
Return to Genoa
Not content to remain on the bench, Criscito opted to return to Genoa on loan in the opening days of the 2007–08 winter transfer window. On 3 July 2008, he was sent on loan to Genoa again for €1 million with the Ligurian club having the option to purchase half of his contract for €5.5 million. In February 2009, he scored his first goal since returning to Genoa, the winner against Palermo. In June 2009 Genoa excised the option to sign him in a co-ownership for pre-agreed price. He was very impressive after re-joining Genoa, who were back in Serie A by then, and he retained a place in the starting line-up as Gian Piero Gasperini's first choice left-back. However, he did not rule out a return to Juventus after being linked to a permanent return to replace Fabio Grosso. In September against Napoli, Criscito was shown a straight red card for allegedly swearing at the referee after being penalized for a foul on Christian Maggio, but Gasperini later defended the 23-year-old saying that he was angry at himself, not the referee. The appeal to rescind the red card was turned down, but his ban was reduced to 2–3 matchdays.
On 25 June 2010, Juventus announced that the Criscito's remaining 50% registration rights were sold for another €6 million fee. However co-currently 50% registration rights of Leonardo Bonucci was signed from Genoa via Bari for €8 million.
On 27 June 2011, Criscito signed for Russian Premier League club Zenit for €11 million fee. He penned a 5-year contract with the club. He made his debut for the club on 6 August in a 2–0 away victory against CSKA Moscow, providing an assist for teammate Aleksandr Kerzhakov. He ended the season as a league champion, his first career silverware.
On 8 May 2018, he announced that he will be leaving Zenit upon the expiration of his contract at the end of the 2017–18 season. A game against FC SKA-Khabarovsk was his official farewell game for Zenit.
Third spell in Genoa
In May 2018, it was reported that Criscito had announced to sign for his former club Genoa via his personal Instagram account. His return was officially announced by the club on 24 May. Few days later he was assigned number 4 shirt.
On 14 November 2006, Criscito made his debut for the Italy Under-21 squad in a match against the Czech Republic. He appeared in two European Under-21 Championships, in 2007 and 2009, reaching the semi-finals of the latter tournament. In 2008, he also represented Italy at the Summer Olympics.
On 12 August 2009, he made his senior national team debut in a friendly against Switzerland in Basel. After a promising season, he was named in Marcello Lippi's 23-man squad for the 2010 World Cup, where he was the starting left-back; Italy were eliminated in the first round of the tournament.
Criscito was named to Italy's Euro 2012 squad, but withdrew from the team after he came under investigation due to the Scommessopoli match fixing scandal. Criscito went on to criticize the Italian FA for the decision to drop him despite the limited selection of left-backs. Several months later he was cleared of all charges.
Criscito was unused by Italy between March 2014 and May 2018, when he returned in a 2–1 friendly win over Saudi Arabia under Roberto Mancini. On 4 June, he was sent off for a foul on Ryan Babel in a 1–1 draw with the Netherlands.
Style of play
Criscito is a tactically versatile player, who is capable of being both an effective attacking and defensive threat as a full-back. He began his career as a left-footed centre-back, but he was moved to the position of left-back while playing for Genoa, where he was also employed as a wing-back or as a wide-midfielder on occasion under manager Gian Piero Gasperini in Genoa's 3–4–3 formation. Criscito has been described as a quick defender, with good technique, distribution, and man-marking ability.
- As of match played 22:03, 19 March 2021 (UTC).
|Total (2 spells)||8||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||9||0|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg||2011–12||Russian Premier League||25||1||1||0||7||0||–||33||1|
|Total (4 spells)||232||20||10||2||6||1||0||0||248||23|
- Russian Football Premier League (2): 2011–12, 2014–15
- Russian Cup (1): 2015–16
- Russian Super Cup (2): 2015, 2016
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