FULL-BACK Gaetano Berardi is set to make his 100th appearance for Leeds United in today’s Championship clash at Birmingham City, joining only Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas of the current first-team squad in passing that milestone.
Berardi’s three and a half years at Leeds have featured 89 starts, four red cards and 13 bookings but the wait for a first career goal for any club continues.
The full-back has come close to bulging the net on a few occasions with audacious long shots this term but the former Swiss international was bought from Sampdoria to defend upon his arrival in July 2014.
The defender is now the longest serving player at Leeds with Cooper and Dallas having joined United the following month.
Yet Berardi was hardly an instant success with the defender picking up two red cards in his first four games.
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But be it at right-back or left-back, the 29-year-old has been dependable and committed to the cause since, featuring for seven different head coaches in his time at Leeds and signing a new three-year deal in August.
With Luke Ayling first choice in Berardi’s natural right-back position, Berardi has answered head coach Thomas Christiansen’s call at left-back this term, even though the defender admitted himself this month that Leeds would need a better left-back than him if they wanted to win promotion to the Premier League.
If it was possible, that statement only won the tough tackling defender even more fans. Now all that is needed is a goal.
“If Berardi scores we’re on the pitch” sing the United faithful.
“The celebrations would be well and truly wild should that happen in the defender’s 100th Whites game.