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Marco Verratti: The new Pirlo?

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Name: Marco Verratti
Date of birth: 05/11/1992
Place of birth: Manoppello, Italy
Nationality: Italian
International caps: 1 (0 goals)
Height: 1.65m
Position: Midfield
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Former club: Pescara

Google the words 'Verratti new Pirlo' and the search engine spits out 557,000 results.

That is an indication of the expectation level facing Marco Verratti just a few months into his Paris Saint-Germain career.

It is a far cry from the July day when his transfer the French capital was completely ignored - thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's arrival on the same day.

But Verratti has wasted no time in proving what Italians already knew from his time at Pescara - that he is destined to become one of Europe's leading midfielders.

The Pirlo comparison might be a touch premature but it is also irresistible - not least to Verratti's club manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Despite standing just 1.65m (5' 5") Verratti, who has just turned 20, provides a reliable presence in midfield, shifting the ball quickly with great awareness.

Not every pass is a game-breaker, but Verratti's tidy, intelligent passing sets the tempo.

Euroscout saw him play on a bad day for PSG, as they suffered their first Ligue 1 defeat, 2-1 at home to Saint-Etienne.

They were booed off at half-time (when it was still goalless!) and full-time, underlining the demands placed on Ancelotti's side.

Verratti was substituted after less than an hour, but still gave a decent exhibition of the deep-lying playmaker's role that he has made his own.

He passed it 59 times - one for every minute on the pitch - and despite going off less than two-thirds of the way into the game, his pass count still led all PSG players.

PSG have a chance to get back on track when they face Dinamo Kiev at home on Tuesday night - a win will move them closer to the Champions League knockout stages.

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-Marco Verratti has failed to have a shot or a cross in Ligue 1 2012/13.

-Marco Verratti has been awarded 4 yellow cards in Ligue 1 2012/13, more than any other PSG player.

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-Only Xavi has made more passes (469) and more touches (511) than Marco Verratti (277 & 316) in CL 2012/13.

Brief analysis of Marco Verratti's performance against Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1, November 3, 2012.

9 minutes - Verratti lofts an attempted through ball over the top for Zlatan Ibrahimovic but the ball sails just too far for the striker.

18 minutes - Verratti tries a shot from 20 metres but his attempt is blocked by a defender.

20 minutes - Gregory van der Wiel plays a give-and-go to Verratti, but the Italian cannot find him with the return pass.

41 minutes - Max Gradel makes a positive run down the Saint-Etienne left, and Verratti drifts across to close the angle down.

49 minutes - Jeremy Menez looks for Verratti on the left, but Fabien Lemoine beats him in the air and clears.

59 minutes - Verratti is replaced by striker Guillaume Hoarau.

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