100 not out: Barreto still going strong

Edgar Barreto was presented with a special award to mark his 100th appearance for Sampdoria ahead of the Blucerchiati’s match against Inter on Saturday – in which the 34-year-old Paraguayan midfielder went on to play for the club for the 101st time.

The midfielder – a veteran of Serie A and the Paraguayan national team, where he has won 60 caps – opted to join Sampdoria back in February 2015, when he signed a pre-contract with the club that would see him move north from Palermo that summer.

Waiting for Barreto in Bogliasco was Walter Zenga, who instantly drafted him into the team. Although his start to life at Samp didn’t get off to the best start, with the club getting knocked out of the Europa League by Vojvodina, Barreto made a total of 30 appearances for Doria in the first season, which saw Vincenzo Montella come in to eventually lead the club to safety in Serie A.

Samp’s fortunes began to turn with the appointment of Marco Giampaolo, under whom Barreto has gone from strength to strength. The Paraguayan headed home Samp’s first goal of the Serie A season at Marassi to spark a 2-1 comeback win over Atalanta, with Fabio Quagliarella bagging the winner. Come the end of the season, Barretto had made 33 appearances (one in the Coppa Italia) and scored two goals, the second of which was a well-taken strike against Torino that any centre-forward would have been proud of.

Barreto’s bond with the club and the coach continued to strengthen the following year. Despite increased competition for places, the midfielder confirmed his status as one of the key players in the Doria dressing room – one of the older heads, the leaders. Barreto found the net early on in the season in Samp’s 3-0 Coppa Italia win over Foggia, before scoring again against Hellas Verona and in another cup game against Fiorentina. He finished the season with 28 appearances and 1969 minutes played – not to mention a new contract, signed in March after the club agreed to Giampaolo’s request to extend the Paraguayan’s contract by a year, with an option for a further season.

This season has already seen Barreto mark his century of Sampdoria appearances. And everyone at Samp is looking forward to seeing what else the year has in store for our Paraguayan midfielder…

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