The current occupant of the manager's chair at Sampdoria is Roberto D'Aversa. D'Aversa was born in Germany in 1975 making him both one of the youngest managers in the division and one of only three foreign-born coaches to take charge of a team this season, although he does hold an Italian passport.
A relative newcomer to the world of management, D'Aversa will be more familiar to football fans in Europe as a player rather than a coach. In his playing days, he was generally employed in a midfield role but could also do a job in defence when required. Standing at 6 foot 1, D'Aversa was famed for his strength, combative approach and industrious approach to the game. He learned these qualities in his formative years with the prestigious AC Milan academy for which he played for a number of years before turning professional with the club at the start of the 1994/1995 season.
Despite being awarded a senior contract with the Italian giants, D'Aversa was unable to make a big enough impact to force his way into contention for the starting eleven spots and subsequently decided to pursue his footballing career elsewhere. His first taste of regular football came with Prato in his one season with them, starting in 1995. He played nearly all of their league games that season and scored twice before moving to Monza where he would stay for three years, although this period was punctuated by a brief loan spell with Casarano. In total, he made 65 appearances for the then Serie C, scoring five goals in the process.
From Monza he made the step up to Cosenza where he spent a single season, playing 27 times and scoring twice. Here he really impressed, enough to earn him probably the biggest move of his career, to Sampdoria in Serie A. This was his first taste of top-flight football. He made 17 appearances and scored two goals in his single season with the fallen Italian giants. Although he had featured fairly regularly he was deemed surplus to requirements however and decided to join Pescara where he stayed for six months and played a handful of games before moving on again.
After moving about a lot in his early years, D'Aversa enjoyed a more stable part of his career in the period from 2001 to 2005, during which he played for two clubs: Ternana and Siena. For Ternana he nailed down a starting spot and featured 60 times in the league, scoring five times in these appearances. He then spent three years with Siena where again he was a first-team regular, pulling on the shirt 84 times in the league and scoring once.
In the remaining years of his career, D'Aversa would play for six clubs in as many seasons. From Siena, he joined nearby Messina where he spent a relatively productive season in which he featured almost 40 times before moving to Treviso where he was not as highly rated by the manager and was unable to cement his position in the starting lineup. Therefore, he joined Mantova on loan for the second part of the 2008/2009 season.
After this, he signed for Gallipoli in Serie C where he made 12 appearances and scored once. His record for his next club Triestina, was similar, although he was unable to register a goal during the same time period.
Finally, after an 18-year career in which he played for 16 clubs, D'Aversa joined the club where he would finish his career: Virtus Lanciano in the third division. It would be a happy end as he found favour with the fans there and made 62 appearances for the club, the second-most he had made for a single club in his entire career.
After his retirement from playing in 2013, D'Aversa has become a manager. He stayed with Virtus Lanciano as a coach for two years. He was eventually dismissed with the club that had become close to his heart lying in 19th place at the foot of the table. Despite this failure however he was appointed as manager of Parma in 2016 - his time with the club has been an unreserved success, Parma achieving back-to-back promotions to rise back to the top-flight after an unwelcome absence.