Cristian Volpato has made his senior debut for AS Roma in their Serie A match against Inter Milan.
Volpato's first appearance makes him the first Australian to play in the Italian top flight since Trent Sainsbury featured for Inter in 2017. Unlike the Socceroo, Volpato arrived in Italy with no prior senior play.
The young Australian joined Roma at the end of 2019. He had previously played in the youth sides of Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC but was released by both clubs. He was then scouted by Australasian Soccer Academy technical director Tony Basha who connected him with the Seria A side's academy.
Speaking to Sporting News earlier this year, Basha stated:
"His mum rang me one day, said the Wanderers didn’t want to re-sign him and can you help him? So I made some enquiries and the club said they had better players than him.
"I invited him for a session, looked at him and I said, ‘Mate, this guy’s a star, they got rid of him?’
"I’ve been involved in the game for a long time and I can see talent people can’t see. Straight after the session I got on the phone to Roma and told them I had a player.
I knew after one session that this guy was a gun player."
Since his Italian arrival Volpato's star has kept rising. Just this season the midfielder has made ten appearances for Roman's U-19 team, scoring four goals. He has shown his versatility in his ability to play attacking midfield, up front and on the wings.
The young starlet has since caught the eye of Roma head coach José Mourinho. He first called up Volpato in to Roma's Serie A game against Cagliari this October where he was an unused substitute.
Today marked Volpato's senior debut in his second call up. He came on and replaced Jordan Veretout in the 91st minute of play. While the game ended 3-0 in Inter Milan's favour, the first appearance for young 19 year old hopefully marks the beginning of a burgeoning career.
Serie A is broadcast on BeIN Sports in Australia.