At the time of his signing, it seemed like a coming together of kindred spirits as the combative Giuseppe Bellusci signed on at Elland Road for Leeds United, a team well-known for their never-say-die attitude and once revered as ‘Dirty Leeds’.
However it was a coming together that soon soured and left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Whites fans. Rumours of him being chased through the Thorp Arch training ground by Sol Bamba after the Italian smirked when coach Steve Thompson was sacked, various spats on Twitter with his own fans and numerous claims that he was a negative influence in the squad meant that Bellusci was becoming something of an outcast at Elland Road.
It was blatantly clear that Bellusci was not a part of the plans at Elland Road this season, the Italian not fitting in to Garry Monk’s ethos for what Leeds United were to be this season – what they’d ‘represent’. With this in mind, a loan deal was struck with Serie A side Empoli, where Bellusci has been on loan this season.
Bellusci has gone on to make 28 appearances for Empoli this season, becoming their highest rated defender, according to website WhoScored.com, with an average rating of 6.86 over the course of the season. He has scored once during his stay, whilst also showing that recklessness that Leeds fans became used to by picking up a league-leading 13 yellow cards.
Bellusci’s agent Michelangelo Minieiri has already hinted that his client does not want to return to Leeds United and English football, telling TUTTOmercatoWEB this in early March. In response to a question about his [Bellusci’s] desire to stay in Italy, Minieri was guarded, but hopeful by saying that Empoli has a “right of redemption” at the end of the current loan deal. Speaking of any potential deal securing Bellusci’s future, his agent said: “At a time when we reach the goals the company has set itself, then we will meet to decide the future.”
However, it is the brutal honesty of Giuseppe Bellusci in today’s Italian press that will either make Leeds fans sit up and take notice or simply shrug their shoulders and give a knowing nod. Speaking to PianetaEmpoli, Bellusci actually admits that he doesn’t offer much to teams in terms of footballing pedigree.
Talking about the way that Empoli are scrapping for points to preserve their Serie A status, including a recent 2-1 win over AC Milan, Bellusci said: “I have very little quality, so to stay at these levels [Serie A] I have to give other features, make other weapons.”
Very little quality or not, it looks increasingly like Giuseppe Bellusci will be continuing his football career away from Elland Road, his bridges already burned there. That news will come as welcome to a large number of Leeds United fans, fans who will remember the crazed Italian for those few moments of beauty such as his thunderous free-kick in a 3-1 away victory over Bournemouth, as well as the rash decision-making and growing inconsistencies that he displayed.