Elio Capradossi’s long journey to the brink of the Roma first team

Fate had been unkind towards Elio Capradossi.

After establishing himself as one of the standout members of Roma’s academy, the defender looked set to make a breakthrough into the first team. He was named in the club’s Champions League squad for the 2015/16 season, before being denied by one of Roma’s most familiar foes: the ACL injury.

He missed 178 days of football as a result, and, potentially, his chance to make his name for the senior side.

The Italian-Ugandan centre-back was consequently loaned out to Bari for the 2016/17 campaign, an indication that he may have missed his chance to complete his graduation with Roma.

The important thing, though, was that Capradossi was playing, at a decent level of football for his age. He made 23 appearances in Serie B for his temporary side, as they finished 12th in the league.

For the current season, Roma decided to send the Italy under-21 international back to Bari on loan. He played 11 times for the side now led by Fabio Grosso. Then, after a year-and-a-half, his time at Bari was cut short. With Hector Moreno heading out of the exit door at Roma, Elio Capradossi returned to his parent club.

The 21-year-old was of interest to several other Serie B clubs, but no move materialised. Perhaps it was a sign that Roma have plans for him.

In the wake of Moreno’s departure, the club had been left with just three recognised centre-backs in the senior squad. Whilst Moreno had not featured much, the move seemed strange, as it left Roma thin on the ground in a key position.

However, the return of Capradossi suggests that he may be the one chosen to fill the void. The defender, matured through his experiences in the second tier, could now have a chance to prove himself at Roma.

It’s an opportunity that might never have come to him again after that unfortunate injury just over two years ago. But it’s one that he can now try to make the most of. Roma fans always want to see their academy products making waves in the first team – as evidenced by the tremendous reception given to Mirko Antonucci so far – and they will surely be pleased if Capradossi manages to become the next one to forge an impression.

A former Primavera captain, it would be another success story if Capradossi did manage to make an impact in the senior team. Kostas Manolas, Federico Fazio and Juan Jesus will still carry most of the responsibility in the position, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Capradossi make his senior Roma debut before the end of the season.

It’s been a long time coming, and it may never have happened – but now that Capradossi has returned to Roma, can he play his part for the first team?

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