Former Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets defender Daniel Alessi has signed for Italian Serie D side A.S.D Sasso Marconi 1924 after recovering from a heartbreaking ACL tear only 12 months ago.
Alessi famously made his debut in the A-League at the age of 16 in an emphatic Sydney Derby in which Brendon Santalab rescued three points in the dying minutes for Western Sydney in 2014.
A bright future was ahead for the youngster who went on to make 10 appearances for Wanderers including at the FIFA Club World Cup and a tense 62 minutes in the quarter-final of the AFC Asian Champions League against Guangzhou Evergrande.
In search of more game time Alessi made the trip up the F3 to Newcastle in 2016 with great ambition and a two-year deal. However, his hopes were tragically crumbled as he tore his ACL in pre-season.
"I thought it was a good opportunity at a new club," Alessi told FTBL.
"I had no way of stopping an injury like that and it happened in the first few weeks.
"I had never had a serious injury like that and it was so difficult being out that long, it was a good lesson for me in terms of how I take care of my body and prevent injuries.
"I've had a good run in the last few months now, i feel very strong and my fitness is good."
Following his injury Alessi attempted to get his career back on track and signed for Manly United in the New South Wales NPL. Alessi spent a few months getting back to full fitness before he jetted off to Italy at the end of the NPL season.
"I have an Italian passport and my grandparents were born in Italy," Alessi said.
"I'm staying with family near Modena where there is a real sense of community and where football is the basis of culture.
"Coming out of an NPL season and searching around the area for a club in the Serie C was difficult as it was late in their pre-season.
"Serie D was a great option because I knew I would get gametime and Sasso needed another central defender."
The fourth division in Italy is not fully proffessional and the 21-year-old has the ambition to make it to the Serie C next year.
"I definitely want to break into the third division next year," Alessi said.
"Where I am is a good level and it is very competitive.
"Every player is technically sound and very efficient on the ball in tight areas, many teams like to play compact defensive and counter attacking football which is what I like."
Alessi has already made his mark on the side since his international clearance and has made two appearances for Sasso playing 90 minutes in both games.