Australian-Born Pair Aiming to Sparkle in Serie A


Two Australian-born players will be eager to make their mark when the 2023/24 Serie A season gets underway in August.

Ajdin Hrustic and Cristian Volpato will embark on the new campaign with teams who have ambitions of climbing the ranks in the Italian top flight.

Read on as we take a closer look at how both players may fare next season.

Hrustic Eager to Bounce Back Next Season

Hrustic had a troubled first season with Hellas Verona following his €500,000 move from Eintracht Frankfurt last summer.

The midfielder made just six league appearances for the club, before undergoing surgery in January to resolve an ongoing ankle ligament problem.

Hrustic returned to the Verona squad for their last three games of the season, but was an unused substitute on each occasion.

He was also on the bench as Verona defeated Spezia Calcio 3-1 in a one-match relegation tie-breaker to retain their place in the top flight.

Online bookmakers are predicting another difficult season for Verona, with the team tipped to fill one of the three relegation places at the end of the season.

Several Australian betting sites have taken an even harsher view, ranking Verona as the team most likely to finish bottom of the standings this term.

However, Verona could surprise the oddsmakers next season having appointed Marco Baroni as the club’s new manager this summer.

The 59-year-old was previously in charge of Lecce, guiding them to promotion in Serie B in 2021/22 before keeping them in the top flight last term.

Baroni boasts a wealth of experience in Italian football and will be eager to make his mark after agreeing to return to Verona.

He played for the club during the 1990s and was assistant manager to Alberto Malesani during the 2002/03 campaign.

Volpato Faces Tricky International Decision

While Verona have their sights set on steering clear of the relegation zone, Sassuolo are aiming to finish in the top half of Serie A for the first time since 2020/21.

They have made several noteworthy additions to their squad this summer including promising Australian-Italian star Cristian Volpato.

Sassuolo spent $12.2million to sign the 19-year-old, making him the third-most expensive Australian player in history after Harry Souttar and Aaron Mooy.

Volpato was handed his Serie A debut by Roma manager Jose Mourinho two years ago, but has found game time hard to come by since then.

He made just seven league appearances last season, netting once in a 3-1 away victory against Verona last October.

The Sydney-born winger has been tipped by several respected pundits to become a top performer in Serie A and Sassuolo may well have bagged themselves a bargain.

Volpato holds dual citizenship and his performances next season will undoubtedly be closely monitored by Australia manager Graham Arnold.

The forward has represented Italy at Under-20 and Under-21 level but could still switch allegiances to Australia in the future.

Arnold attempted to persuade Volpato to play for Australia at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but the teenager resisted his advances.

The youngster was not selected by Italy for the recent U21 European Championship and may find it tough to break into their senior squad.

Australia are guaranteed to keep pushing for Volpato, particularly as they could offer him the chance to play regularly on the international stage.

With the qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup scheduled to get underway later this year, Volpato may decide the time is right to commit his future to Australia.

Having taken the step to leave Roma for regular football with Sassuolo, it would make perfect sense for Volpato to head down the same route at international level.


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