Gaetano Berardi‘s “beautiful journey” at Leeds United comes to an end

21 May 2021 08:08 am, by YorkshireSquare

It was announced by the club this morning that along with Pablo Hernandez, legend Gaetano Berardi will be leaving the club this summer. Gaetano Berardi was a rarity, a diamond in the rough of mediocrity brought in from Italy by Massimo Cellino back in 2014. Whilst Marco Silvestri, Tommaso Bianchi, Mirco Antenucci, Giuseppe Bellusci and Giuseppe Bellusci are mere footnotes, and bad ones at that, in Leeds United’s history, Gaetano Berardi will go down as a promotion winning hero. One could never accuse Gaetano Berardi of leaving anything out on the pitch! At a time when there where players cared little for the shirt they were wearing there was Gaetano Berardi, giving it everything.

Berardi always stood up for what was right, he shunned the sicknote seven, he told Pontus Jansson exactly what he thought of him when he disobeyed Marcelo Bielsa’s instructions to let Aston Villa score. Side before self may have been the doctrine of Billy Bremner but he could have coined it for Gaetano Berardi. When last season restarted players across the league refused to play in case it affected future transfers. Not Berra, there was nothing that could have stopped him playing Leeds United’s remaining games despite his contract being up at the end of June. With the injury to Kalvin Phillips, Berardi stepped into central defence against Barnsley. It was not a pretty game but it was a vital victory that won Leeds United promotion back to the Premier League and Berardi played a huge role in it.

It was heart-breaking therefore to see him stretchered off the pitch against Derby, his ACL torn after a bad landing, at least nine months out. He celebrated on the pitch after the game, leg braced, on crutches. When the euphoria of becoming Champions subsided Berardi may have reflected on his decision to play on without a contract, this season a write-off potentially with no club. A fiercely loyal player, the club repaid that loyalty, Berra signing a new one-year contract with the club until the end of this season. His reward came against Southampton when he made his Premier League debut and I’m not afraid to say I shed a little tear.

But now it is the ‘end of the beautiful journey’ and Berardi departs with an open letter to the fans. If there is one player who has encompassed the spirit of this team, what ‘side before self’ really means it is Gaetano Berardi and for that he will have a place in our hearts forever.

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Norm wrote on 28 May 2021 03:07 am

weasel wrote:

According to Opta Leeds haven't conceded a single goal while Berardi has been on the pitch in his last nine matches comprising of 457 minutes. Also unbeaten in his last 19 matches.
Nothing surprises me about Berardi or his influence on our team - a true LUFC great!

weasel wrote on 24 May 2021 11:36 am

According to Opta Leeds haven't conceded a single goal while Berardi has been on the pitch in his last nine matches comprising of 457 minutes. Also unbeaten in his last 19 matches.

Lumiukko wrote on 21 May 2021 04:23 pm

No shame in using the cliche here, but Bera always gave 110%. He's Leeds through and through and will always be remembered fondly by Leeds fans. An absolute warrior, I was hoping we might have seen him sign a contract extension for one more year so we could see him terrify a few snowflake premier league forwards next season. It doesn't feel right without seeing Bera get one more yellow or red; perhaps Sunday ;-) :) (hope he doesn't get injured though).

Like Pablo, I'm dearly hoping they will one day be reconnected to the club in some capacity. Pablo as an attacking coach, and Bera as a defence coach.

John in Louisiana wrote on 21 May 2021 03:43 pm

One of my all-time favorite players in fifty years of following the club. Might not have had the most talent ever, but nobody ever worked to the limits of his abilities more than Bera, and nobody ever gave more of himself for the club. Also never had more fun watching one of our own pick up a yellow (or even a red). Bera is a beast in the best possible sense.

His story makes me proud to be for Leeds. What other club would have given him a contract for this year, even though they knew he wouldn't play?

Currie14 wrote on 21 May 2021 02:12 pm

Much love 7 respect, thanks for the memories. ❤