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'Ciccio' Caputo's big jump

From Bari to Serie a: the Sassuolo striker is arrived to stay

'Ciccio' Caputo's big jump From Bari to Serie a: the Sassuolo striker is arrived to stay

On the occasion of the second goal scored on September 22nd against SPAL, Francesco Caputo, known as "Ciccio", tried to climb over the billboards to go and celebrate with the fans but put a foot wrong and fell into the void, disappearing for a moment from the frame. But then he reappeared, bright, amused, smiling. Ready to hug the supporters.

Here it is: if there is an episode that can better summarize the career of "Ciccio” Caputo maybe is precisely that jump. He, to tell the truth, managed to do a much longer one, starting from afar and coming up to Serie A. But the phases are those: joy, fall, rebirth. Three basic steps in a career that exploded too late. As they say in these cases, however, better late than never.


(Half) Joy

After having spent a few years in the Apulian lower series, the class of '87 signed for Antonio Conte's Bari (in Serie B) in the summer of 2008. A team built to reach the top tier, which in fact happens punctually: the Cockerels won the league, but Caputo (with 10 goals in 27 appearances) does not follow his team. The joy is only half way, so: "Ciccio" stayed in B and went to Salernitana, where scored only 6 goals and at the end of the season relegated to Lega Pro. Paradoxes, jumps, falls: the first part of Caputo's career is a swing of emotions, a continuous surprise.

The striker returned to the base at the end of the 2009/2010 year, and he stayed: with Bari he found the Serie A debut at 23 years old (10 appearances overall) and his first goal in the top league, the 28th of November against Cesena. Another joy, once again and half because there was always something missing, which is out of place, which does not return. Caputo in January 2011 went on loan in Serie B to Siena (where he finds Conte again), scored 3 goals and helped the team to win the Serie A.

Yet, again for the usual principle, "Ciccio" after taking a step forward makes another one back: he came back to Bari, to his city of his heart, where he had the opportunity to become a flag and to aim (again) to the top flight. Things, however, do not go the right way again.



When in general the careers of the attackers are now at their peak, in the maximum period of explosion, that of Caputo instead implodes due to another kind of explosion: the bet scandal hits his Bari and sees him involved in the investigations. He always said he was a stranger, but he was forced to skip the entire 2013/2014 season due to disqualification for failure to report. A sudden braking, which surely has negatively affected the career development of a player who, however, could focus himself to the entrepreneur life (do you know that Caputo produce beer?) and instead decided not to give up. And in the end justice gives him reason: in 2016 the acquittal comes, with Caputo saying he was moved when he read the sentence.

And if for the career of "Ciccio" it was still not too late, something else had broken irreparably: the relationship with the Bari fans is now ruined by this bad story, as Caputo himself states:

"While waiting for the judgment, people always think you are guilty. I served a disqualification year for failure to report, but if you allow me it is another story compared to those who put their money in their pockets. In my opinion the fans have confusion and for me the last year in Bari was not easy".

Thus, in the summer of 2015 there was a break, triggered by a random factor, which according to Caputo's words was only the fuse:

"If it is difficult to be a prophet at home? Partially yes. I made a lot of goals, but after the disqualification the club changed and when they offered me the captain's arm some supporters suggested that I wanted it. I realized that the relationship was ruined and I asked for the sale”.


There is a famous saying about falls and the importance of getting up again, and it seems that Caputo has learned it well. Francesco, called "Ciccio", to leave all this behind has done nothing but play, look at the field, indeed, the goal. And mark. After the bitter farewell to Bari, Caputo moved to Entella on 31 August 2015: he remained in Liguria for two seasons, scoring 35 goals and showing himself as one of the best strikers of the second division. For this reason the Andreazzoli's Empoli (thanks by the famous "parachute clause") in the summer of 2017 spent 3 million euros on him to aim for a return to Serie A. What, punctually, happens (feeling of deja-vu?): "Ciccio" scored 26 times and became the Serie B top scorer. And so, at 31, the Altamura striker had his meeting with Serie A. And he maked no mistake.

Serie A 2018/2019 season: here it is, Caputo. He jumped out from the billboards, he is a little older than we had left him, but he seems even more convinced of his own means. It could not be otherwise, after all those experiences, after all those goals. And it still continues to do so many, despite the change of series: 16 goals and 3 assists in Serie A with Empoli, 3420 minutes played on 3420 and a relegation almost avoided on the last gameday, after a season passed to receive everyone's congratulation for the performances. Which, however, was not enough for the Tuscan team to remain in A. This time, however, things went differently for Caputo.

Between present and future

A season too good not to deserve the confirmation in the major league: Caputo in the summer of 2019 does not take a step back but remains there, firmly in his place among the new Serie A bomber, among the names for which to unleash the auction to fantasy football. The Sassuolo bet on him, spends 7.5 million to bring to the court of De Zerbi one of the best provincial strikers on the scene, the perfect man for his 4-3-3. He, for his part, immediately responds: goal at the debut against Torino, then the brace against SPAL.

Arriving at the age of 32, Caputo seems to have matured definitively. It blossomed late, like other great strikers before him (Di Natale, Toni, Zampagna). And as they always dream of calling on the National team. Much, if not all, will depend on the current season. And him, one year ago, he replied like this to those who asked him about a possible call-up:

"I can go there by feet, as Coverciano is not so far".