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Luciano Becchio (born 28 December 1983 in Córdobamarker) is an Argentinemarker footballer who plays for Leeds United in League One. He previously played for Boca Juniors, FC Barcelona Atlètic, RCD Mallorca B and Mérida UD. He is renowned for his work rate and passionate displays, his dogged style makes him a nuisance to opposition defenders. Whilst at Leeds he has formed a formidable strike partnership with Jermaine Beckford.

Football career

Early career

Becchio started his career at Boca Juniors in Argentina, playing in youth teams with players such as Carlos Tévez. But after failing to make a first team appearance for Boca, Becchio tried his luck in Spain. Known simply as Luciano in Spain - he became renowned as a lower-league talisman, scoring 28 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions, with 22 of his goals scored in the league, for Mérida UD during the 2007–08 season. Luciano finished the season as Spain's Segunda División B top scorer, with six goals coming in the last four games, including a hat-trick on the final day against CD Baza.

Leeds United

In July 2008, he joined League One side Leeds United on trial aiming to impress manager Gary McAllister in pre-season friendlies against Shelbourne and Barnet. He was recommended to Leeds United Scout Gwyn Williams by former Spanish Newcastle defender Marcelino Elena.

On July 31, Becchio signed for Leeds on a three-year deal, and was given the number 10 shirt the next day. He made his first start for Leeds in their 5–2 win over Chester City in the first round of the Football League Cup. He was given his first league start against Yeovil Town in a 1–1 draw; in which it took him just 25 seconds to score his first professional Leeds goal. Becchio scored his second goal for the club in his first start at Elland Roadmarker in a 4–0 victory over Crystal Palace in the League Cup. The following week, he came off the bench to head home his third Leeds goal in the 2–1 win over local rivals Bradford City in the Football League Trophy.

His Leeds career has been promising, during the 08/09 season Becchio only missed one match in all competitions, this was due to suspension, in a sequence of appearances which saw him start 24 consecutive matches - including the entire busy Christmas period, and while deputising for the injured Jermaine Beckford - he scored 9 goals in the process. With the on-loan signing of Lee Trundle from Bristol City, and the January transfer window signing of Mike Grella, manager Simon Grayson publicly stated that Becchio would be given a short resting period so that he would be ready for the vital last few months of the season, however that never materialised as Becchio was insistent on retaining his place in the team. The manager Simon Grayson frequently referred to Becchio as Lazarus due to various points in the season where Becchio would be injured but would make a remarkable recovery to be fit and ready for the next match.

Becchio scored his 15th goal of the season against Crewe Alexandramarker. His 16th was a magnificent effort away at Colchester United. His 17th of the season came at home against Tranmere Rovers and in the final game of the 08/09 season, he scored his 18th of the season in all competitions, which in turn contributed to the relegation of Northampton Town.

His 19th of the season came against Millwall in the League One Playoff Semi Final, in which he rounded off a fine team move started by Ben Parker, with Jermaine Beckford and Andy Robinson also playing vital roles. The goal lifted the roof off Elland Road. Overall 19 goals marked a very successful personal goal haul in his debut season in English football at Leeds United.

Becchio scored his first goal of the 2009-10 season with a screamer in the 1-0 league win against Wycombe Wanderers. His second goal of the season came in the 3-0 win over Tranmere Rovers after an Andy Robinson shot had hit the bar. Becchio had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside in the Carling Cup tie against Liverpool. Replays showed conclusively that he was onside as Jermaine Beckford flicked on Michalik's headed pass.

Becchio missed the game against MK Dons as his wife was due to give birth. Becchio and his wife welcomed their first daughter named Bianca who was born on the 27th September 2009 at the Leeds general Infirmary (LGI). Becchio picked up a serious ankle injury in the game against Charlton Athletic, where he stepped in the ball whilst controlling it from a high pass, and had to be substituted. Radio Leeds believed Becchio might of broken his ankle, although Leeds were waiting to have a second scan for his ankle after the swelling goes down, the scan provided Leeds with the information that he had suffered ligament damage to his ankle, according to Leeds assistant manager Ian Miller. Becchio has not played for Leeds since picking up the injury and his recovery has still not been given a timeframe. In his absence Leeds singed Welsh International striker Sam Vokes on loan from Wolves until January 2 2010 to cover his absence.

On 25 November 2009, Becchio returned from injury and played in Leeds' reserve game against Lincoln, to help boost his match fitness. Becchio scored a goal in a 2-1 victory and also managed to get a full 90 minutes under his belt. Becchio returned for Leeds as a substitute in the 1-1 draw against Kettering Town. Becchio came on as a substitute against Oldham Athletic and scored his first goal since his long layoff, it was his 3rd goal of the season.

Career Statistics

! colspan=16|England
! rowspan=2|Season !! rowspan=2|Club !! rowspan=2|Division
! colspan=2|League
! colspan=2|FA Cup
! colspan=2|League Cup
! colspan=2|Football League Trophy
! colspan=2|Play-Offs
! colspan=2|Total
! Apps !! Goals !! Apps !! Goals !! Apps !! Goals !! Apps !! Goals !! Apps !! Goals !! Apps !! Goals
| 2008–09 || rowspan=2|Leeds United || League One
| 45 || 15 || 3 || 0 || 4 || 2 || 2 || 1 || 2 || 1
! 56 !! 19
| 2009–10 || League One
| 11 || 3 || 1 || 0 || 3 || 0 || 0 || 0 || 0 || 0
! 15 !! 3
! colspan=3|Total
! 56 !! 18 !! 4 !! 0 !! 6 !! 2 !! 2 !! 1 !! 2 !! 1 !! 71 !! 22


References

  1. http://www.leedsunited.com/page/NewsroomDetail/0,,10273~1348792,00.html
  2. http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/leedsunited/Leeds-United-Becchio-rest-is.4956597.jp


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