Serie A Legends: Hernan Crespo

Hernan Crespo is a legendary goal-scorer, who played for five different clubs in Italian top-flight football.

The Argentine started his professional career at River Plate back in 1993. He announced himself on the world stage in his third season with the club, when he scored 10 goals in Copa Libertadores to help River secure their second crown in the competition.

He got his move to Europe during the following summer, signing for Parma after he won the silver medal with Argentina at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Crespo started his amazing Serie A career scoring 12 goals in his first season, as Parma finished in second, only two points behind champions Juventus.

The striker has established himself as one of the best goalscorers in Italy in his time with the Crociati. He scored 80 goals in his four seasons with the club and won a Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup double in 1999.

Crespo was instrumental to the club’s success that season. He scored both home and away in the Coppa Italia final against Fiorentina – a tie which Parma won on away goals and netted the opener in the 3-0 victory over Marseille in the UEFA Cup final.

He moved to Rome in 2000, when Lazio broke the current world record fee by playing £35million to sign him. The Argentine won his only Capocannoniere award with the Biancocelesti in the 2000-01 season, scoring 26 league goals in just 32 games.

Unfortunately, Lazio’s star-studded team, which included Angelo Peruzzi, Alessandro Nesta, Diego Simeone, Juan Sebastian Veron and Pavel Nedved, would finish in third with the Supercoppa Italiana being the team’s only silverware that season.

Financial difficulties led to Lazio selling Crespo in 2002, and the Argentine signed for Inter as a replacement for Ronaldo Nazario, who had just left the club for Real Madrid.

Crespo played only 18 Serie A games for the Nerazzurri, but his 9 Champions League goals helped Inter reach the semi-finals of the competition.

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He left Italy in 2003 and signed for Chelsea as part of Roman Abramovich’s reinforcements.

After 10 goals in 19 Premier League games in his first season, Jose Mourinho and Didier Drogba arrived at the club and Crespo was loaned out to AC Milan.

The Argentine played in the 2005 Champions League final with the Rossoneri. He even scored twice in the legendary game in Istanbul, but the 3-0 half-time lead was not enough for AC Milan, as they lost the final after Liverpool’s historic comeback.

His impressive season for the Rossoneri enticed Chelsea’s manager, Jose Mourinho, to call Crespo back to London.

The next season he played in 30 Premier League games and chipped in 10 goals as Chelsea lifted the Premier League title.

However, the striker requested to leave the club, so he could return to Italy, and re-signed for Inter in a two-year loan deal.

Crespo scored 14 league goals, his highest total in years, in his return to Giuseppe Meazza. The Argentine played an important role for Inter as they captured the Scudetto and the Supercoppa Italiana in 2007.

He was 32 years old at the time and spent the next two seasons with the Nerazzurri as a second choice striker. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the main star of the team which won the Serie A in 2008 and 2009.

Hernan Crespo spent his final season in Serie A in the same place where it all started – Parma. He scored nine goals in his second stint with the Crociati and announced his retirement in 2012.

He is Parma’s all-time record goalscorer with 94 goals in 201 appearances.

 

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