Gaetano Berardi - Fans memories of a Swiss warrior with Yorkshire grit

He was a Swiss warrior packed with Yorkshire grit.

Sunday, 4th July 2021, 4:30 pm
Gaetano Berardi with a bloody face during the Carabao Cup third round clash against Burnley at Turf Moor in September 2017. PIC: Getty
Gaetano Berardi with a bloody face during the Carabao Cup third round clash against Burnley at Turf Moor in September 2017. PIC: Getty

And there was never a dull moment when Gaetano Berardi was on the pitch and the faithful loved him for it.

His debut fell comfortably into the running for the worst of all time: sent off for a tackle resembling a kung-fu kick in a League Cup win over Accrington Stanley in August 2014.

He was dismissed again at home to Huddersfield Town a month later, a second red card on his fourth appearance for the club.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Gaetano Berardi was sent off for a "mid-air sliding tackle" on his debut against Accrington Stanley in August 2014.

Indeed 'How many times was Berardi sent off for Leeds United?' would make a terrific quiz question. The answer is officially seven. He received his eighth red card against Millwall in October 2019, at the time making him the most red-carded player in the club's history, before decision was overturned on appeal.

Leeds recruited Berardi on a two-year deal from Sampdoria, part of their influx of 15 signings in July of 2014.

When he did play, his performances on the field impressed the faithful as well as caretaker head coach Neil Redfearn who called him the “ultimate professional.”

“He’s got that aggression about him, a competitive edge. Sometimes he runs a bit close to the edge but he can play. He’s a good footballer. He can pass and he’s got a turn of pace. His aggression can be his strength and his weakness," said Redfearn. "He’s ultra-competitive and he’s a full-back who lets a winger know he’s in a game. You want to harness that but the discipline side is important too because you want him on the pitch."

Gaetano Berardi celebrates after scoring his first goal for the club, a 'low, swerving shot' from 25 yards against Newport County in the third round of the FA Cup in January 2018. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

He made more than 150 appearances for Leeds United in total scoring two goals for the club both of which came on the road.

The first came against Newport County during an FA Cup third round tie in January 2018 and the second against Salford City in the League Cup in August 2019.

Your YEP has asked the Elland Road faithful to share memories of a player whose attitude was always 'side before self.'

Responses included:

Gaetano Berardi gestures as he leaves the game, his last for the club, during Leeds United's Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion at Elland Road in May 2021. PIC: Getty

Richard Curle - "What every Leeds fan demands of a player who pulls that shirt on. You don't have to be Lionel Messi but you have to give 110 per cent no matter who you play. Gaetano Berardi gave us that every game even if he wasn't on top form he still gave 110 per cent. He got a few reds and gave away a few penalties. Who cares? He sweated blood for that team. Love Gaetano and will miss him. All the best and thanks for showing what you have to give to be a Leeds warrior."

Paul McConkey - "His tackle at Birmingham that led to us scoring our fifth goal. Swiss warrior packed with Yorkshire grit."

Josh Stone - "When he gave his shorts away to a fan after a game."

Greg Upton - "His goal in the Cup two seasons ago when he was captain for the day. We lost but his delight was palpable."

Piers FitzGerald - "His debut against Accrington Stanley! Loved him ever since!"

Alistair Dixon - "Awesome guy. All Leeds."

Ray King - "Chanting his song at the Bristol City away game couple of seasons ago, but not fully knowing the words. So lyrics were written on a beer mat for me by a pal at the ground. Heavy session."

Michael Horton - "Whites warrior."

Leo Beare - "Red cards and that class goal he scored few seasons back"

********************

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United. With a digital subscription, you'll see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.