Emerson Palmieri is the replacement for the injured Leonardo Spinazzola in the semi-final against Spain on Tuesday evening, the tastemaker who fell against Belgium. Emerson Palmieri doesn’t really have an Italian name, but he still plays Squadra Azzurra. How come and who is that Emerson Palmieri anyway?
Without Spinazzola’s wonderful performance in the ArenA, Emerson Palmieri would have been Italy’s regular left-back at this European Championship. It might be a step back.
— Jurriaan van Wessem (@JurrVanWessem) July 6, 2021
Emerson was born in Santos, Brazil. The left back by profession also played for that football club until 2014, after which his adventure began in Italy. Emerson Palmieri was first loaned to US Palermo and a year later to AS Roma. That club took him over permanently from Santos in the winter of 2017.
Why Emerson plays for Italy
In 2017, Gian Piero Ventura was the head coach of Italy and he was looking for a left-back. Since Emerson was eligible for Italian citizenship, Ventura persuaded him to come and play for the Squadra Azzurra. On March 29, 2017, he officially made the switch from Brazil to Italy.
However, Emerson made his official debut only 1.5 years later due to injuries. That happened on September 10, 2018 in the Nations League game against Portugal. Roberto Mancini, the current national coach, drafted him then. Emerson made his debut as a player for Chelsea, the club where he has played since the end of January 2018.
Emerson actually has a bit of the same role at Chelsea as with the Italian team, namely as a reserve. He has played 18 international matches since his debut (including today’s), 3 of which were at this European Championship.