Underrated Belgians in Italy
This season there has been a great deal of attention focused upon the Belgians in the Premier League and rightly so. Christian Benteke has had a superb season, exceeding everyone’s expectations, while fans the length and breadth of England – and beyond – have raved about Lukaku, Vertonghen, Hazard, Dembélé, Fellini and Mirallas. Vincent Kompany remains a hugely admired and respected figure, even among Manchester United fans. Kevin De Bruyne and the record-breaking Thibaut Courtois have shone at Werder Bremen and Atletico Madrid respectively. However, sometimes those Belgians who ply their trade elsewhere are overlooked and this is especially the case with regard to Serie A.
The Belgian midfielder, of Indonesian origin, is one of the most sought-after players in Italy. He is currently doing very well at Cagliari. Marc Wilmots, national head coach of Belgium, prefers the experience of Timmy Simons. Nainggolan maybe needs to move to a bigger club if he wants to play for Belgium. The midfielder played for Belgium in a friendly against Slovakia earlier this season but needed to be substituted after an injury. Not only Italian teams are showing interest in the midfielder but also some teams out the Premier League, Bundesliga and the Russian competition. The Bundesliga would probably be a perfect fit for the Belgian player.
The goalkeeper from Torino already played more then 300 matches in Italy. The goalkeeper is the third goalie for the national team after Simon Mignolet and Thibaut Courtois. Last season Jean-François became the best goalkeeper in the Serie A. That is quite an achievement if you know that Buffon and Handanovic are playing in the same league. Jean-François Gillet only played three games in the Jupiler Pro League with his hometown team Standard Liège. The goalkeeper moved then to Italy and signed a contract at Monza. Gillet also played for Bari, Treviso and Bologna in Italy. There was some interest in him from several big clubs but it never came to a transfer. The goalkeeper received bad news as he and some teammates of his former club Bari are accused of match-fixing in the Serie A.
The midfielder who was not good enough for KAA Gent is one the better players in Italy the last couple of seasons. Mudingayi is a hard-working midfielder who is famous for his hard but secure tackles. The Belgian relaunched his career in Italy in 2004. He signed a contract with Torino who played at that moment in the Serie B. In his first season he helped Torino winning promotion. After that good season Torino sold their midfielder for seven million euros to Lazio. Due to some injuries, Mudingayi had it difficult to became a regular starter. Mudingayi wanted to play again and signed a contract with Bologna were he became a very important player. The Belgian plays at this moment for Inter who loaned him from Bologna. Inter are willing to buy him but another injury could mean that he would have to return to Bologna.
Furthermore we also have some youngsters playing in Italy. Luis Pedro Cavanda is the most famous one. He was playing a very good season at Lazio so far. The Belgian defender did not want to sign a new contract at Lazio. Since that moment Lazio decided that Cavanda could only play with the youth squad. Dolly Menga and Nathan Kabasele are the other Belgians playing in Italy. They both play at Torino and have impressed in youth tournaments but still need some years of experience before they can really make their mark.