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|Full name||Daniele Rugani|
|Date of birth||29 July 1994|
|Place of birth||Lucca, Italy|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|2012–2013||→ Juventus (loan)|
|2013–2015||→ Empoli (loan)||78||(5)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21 January 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 4 June 2018
Daniele Rugani (Italian pronunciation: [daˈnjɛːle ruˈɡaːni]; born 29 July 1994) is an Italian footballer who plays as a centre back for Serie A club Juventus and the Italy national team. He began his professional club career with Empoli in Serie B in 2013, where he immediately helped the club achieve Serie A promotion, and was named the 2014 Serie B Footballer of the Year. His defensive performances the following season saw him named to the 2015 Serie A Team of the Year, and earned him a transfer to Juventus, where he immediately won the Serie A title during his first season with the club. At international level, he has represented the Italy U21 team at the 2015 and 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championships, and made his senior debut for Italy in 2016.
Born in Lucca, Italy, Rugani began his footballing career with Tuscan side Empoli in 2000, at the age of 6. He remained within the club's youth academy for twelve full seasons, before being transferred to Serie A giants Juventus on loan in August 2012, for €150,000 fee. After joining Juventus, Rugani was registered with the club's Primavera (under-20) youth squad where he was a regular starter within the side during the 2012–13 season, winning the Coppa Italia Primavera.
After his successes during his first season with Juventus, Rugani was purchased by the club on 31 July 2013 in a co-ownership deal for €500,000 and then sent back to Empoli on a season-long loan deal ahead of their 2013–14 Serie B campaign.
At age 20, Rugani was Empoli's star defender during their successful campaign, as he finished the season having made 40 appearances and scoring 2 goals for the club. He scored his first career goal from a header off of a corner on 22 March 2014, in a 4–0 home win over Reggina. The club finished the season in 2nd place, thus achieving automatic promotion to Serie A, alongside champions Palermo.
On 18 June 2014, it was confirmed that the co-ownership agreement between the two clubs would be renewed, with the player remaining with newly promoted Empoli for the 2014–15 Serie A campaign on loan from Juventus. Rugani made his Serie A debut on 31 August 2014, at the age of 20, in a 2–0 away defeat to Udinese, later scoring his first goal in Serie A on 20 September, in a 2–2 away draw against Cesena. On 2 February 2015, Juventus bought out the remaining half of Daniele Rugani’s registration rights from Empoli, for an additional €3.5 million. Rugani was a key player for Empoli that season, appearing in all 38 of Empoli's league matches that season without being substituted or booked, in addition to scoring 3 goals, as the club finished the league in 15th place.
In the summer of 2015, Rugani officially returned to Juventus. He made his debut with the club on 30 September 2015, coming on as a substitute in a 2–0 home win over Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League group stage, also making his European debut in the process. He made his first start with the club on 16 December, in a 4–0 win over cross-city rivals Torino in the Derby della Mole in the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia. His league debut with the club came four days later, as he came on for veteran defender Andrea Barzagli in the 56th minute of a 3–2 away win over Carpi. He made his first league start for the club in a 2–1 away win over Sampdoria in Serie A, on 10 January 2016. On 24 April, Rugani was booked for the first time in his entire Serie A career in his 53rd Serie A appearance. He received a yellow card in the 72nd minute of a 2–1 away win over Fiorentina; he had last been carded at club level with Empoli, on 1 March 2014, in an away Serie B fixture against Siena. Following Napoli's loss to Roma the following day, Juventus clinched the league title with three games to spare.
On 21 September 2016, Rugani made his first appearance of the season and scored his first goal for Juventus, in a 4–0 home win over Cagliari. On 25 September 2016, it was confirmed that Rugani would be sidelined for six weeks after limping off the pitch a day before away to Palermo with a sprained right knee; tests at the J-Medical centre revealed he suffered a strained collateral lateral ligament. He returned to training early on 20 October. On 7 December, Rugani scored his first ever UEFA Champions League goal on his third appearance in the competition, in a 2–0 home win over Dinamo Zagreb. On 14 December, Rugani extended his stay at Juventus, signing a new contract that will run until 2021.
Rugani has represented Italy at various youth levels since 2010. His first cap for the under-21 team came on 5 March 2014 in a European qualifier against Northern Ireland, in which he scored the first goal for the azzurini in a 2–0 victory.
Rugani is a tall, tactically versatile, and physically strong centre-back, who is good in the air, both defensively and offensively. He is known in particular for his anticipation, intelligence, and marking ability, despite his lack of notable pace or mobility. He is also considered to be a correct player, who often avoids committing to challenges, preferring to restrict his opponents through his positioning. Due to his confidence in possession, he is capable of playing the ball out from the back-line. Regarded as one of the most promising young Italian players of his generation, in 2015, he was named one of the best players in the world born after 1994, by Don Balón.
|Italy national team|
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