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ISL 2: Chennaiyin FC sign Italian midfielder Manuele Blasi

Chennai: Chennaiyin FC has signed Italian central midfielder Manuele Blasi for the second season of the Hero Indian Super League football tournament.

The former Italian international joins Chennaiyin after the expiry of his contract at Italian Serie B outfit AS Varese 1910. Blasi, who turned 35 today, came through the AS Roma youth system and made his Italian Serie A debut for Roma 15 years ago. After that he had a spell at Perugia before earning the big move to Juventus in 2002.

While at Juventus, Blasi made his senior international debut for Italy in a friendly against Iceland in 2004 and also played in the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League. The midfielder went on to make eight appearances for the Azzurri and earlier represented them at various age-group levels including the Under-21s at the 2002 European
Championship, where Italy lost to eventual champions Czech Republic in the semis.

During his Juventus spell, Blasi had loan stints at Perugia, Parma and Fiorentina before joining Napoli permanently in 2007. Blasi spent four seasons at Napoli which included a year out on loan at Palermo. After his departure from Napoli in 2011, Blasi continued to play in the Serie A with spells at Parma, Lecce and
Pescara.

In 2013 he joined Serie B club Varese and spent two seasons there. "We are very happy that Manuele has signed for our club. Manuele is a player I know very well, having played with him as well in the Italian national team. He has played for some of the biggest clubs of Italy and in high profile matches for club and country," Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi said in a statement.

"He will bring plenty of quality and experience to our team. He has all the attributes of a top central midfielder and that is exactly what we were looking for. I am sure the younger players in the team, especially the Indians will get to learn a lot from him and he will definitely make a big difference on the pitch individually also."

Blasi, on his part, added: "Following a discussion with Marco about the club and league in general, it didn't take me long to make my decision. Marco told me about the fantastic environment he gets to work at Chennayin FC with full support from the owners, management and of course the supporters. "I am very excited about this venture at this stage of my career. I will try to help the rest of the team with my experience and hopefully we will have a successful season together."

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