Birthdate: 7 July 1984
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Other clubs: AS Roma (1999-2009), Triestina (loan 2003-04), Juventus (loan 2010-11), AC Milan (loan 2011-12), Fiorentina (2012-15), Sporting Lisbon (2015-)
Bought from: AS Roma
Signed for LFC: £17.1m, 07.08.2009
International debut: 15.11.2006 vs. Turkey
International caps: 38/5 (10/1 at LFC) -18.11.2014
Liverpool debut: 28.10.2009
Last appearance: 05.08.2010
Debut goal: 15.03.2010
Last goal: 29.04.2010
Contract expiry: 03.08.2012
Win ratio: 50% W: 14 D: 7 L: 7
LFC league games/goals: 18 / 1
Total LFC games/goals: 28 / 2
Twenty-five-year-old Aquilani arrived at Anfield early in August 2009 in the wake of Xabi Alonso's transfer to Real Madrid. The medical was passed despite the young Italian not having played in a competitive match since 11 March 2009 because of an ankle injury. At the time of his move to Liverpool, Aquilani had made 102 Serie A appearances for the Romans, scoring five goals. Aquilani was born in Rome and joined his hometown club in 2002. Although he was given his debut by Fabio Capello in May 2003, later in the same year he was loaned to Serie B club Triestina and scored four goals in 41 appearances for them before returning to Rome, where he began to make a big impact. Aquilani soon came to the attention of his national coaches. He was a regular during the 2007 Under-21 Championship held in the Netherlands where he scored two goals and was named in the "UEFA Team of the Tournament". He was given his full international debut against Turkey in November 2006 and was in the Italian squad that competed in the finals of the European Championships during the summer of 2008. Aquilani made a brief substitute appearance when Italy beat France 2-0 in the final game of their group scraping through to the final 16. He was in the starting line-up against eventual European champions Spain due to Andrea Pirlo's suspension. The game finished 0-0, with Spain knocking Italy out 4-2 after penalties. By the time Aquilani signed for Liverpool, he had eleven full caps and had scored two goals.
The Italian was given the number 4 shirt vacated by Sami Hyypia when he moved to Leverkusen, but had to wait patiently while his new colleagues made a stuttering start to the 2009/10 campaign. Eventually Liverpool supporters saw Aquilani in a first-team match when he made a 15-minute substitute appearance at Arsenal in the League Cup. He impressed enough to be given two further matches as a substitute in November before finally making his long-awaited full debut in a meaningless home game against Fiorentina in December. After that he had to be satisfied with being in the matchday squad rather than actually starting a game. Aquilani scored his first Liverpool goal when Portsmouth visited Anfield in the middle of March. A second and more important goal also came at the Kop end in April as his precise finish gave the team the equaliser on aggregate against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final. Considering he didn't play his first match until the end of October, a total of 18 Premier League and eight cup appearances was probably as much as he could have expected. He had six assists to his name in the Premier League, ranked 20th-27th, one below Gerrard's seven assists, which is quite an accomplishment given the number of minutes he played in his sole season in England.
It soon became apparent in Liverpool's headquarters, at least, that Aquilani's fortunes would be better served in his homeland. He spent the whole of the 2010/11 season on loan at Juventus, playing in 32 of the 38 Serie A fixtures and in the following campaign failed to impress AC Milan sufficiently for them to buy him outright in the summer of 2012. If he had been at these clubs in reverse he might have had two Italian Championship medals by now as AC Milan were champions in 2011 and Juventus in 2012. After being bought at a great cost in transfer fees and salaries Aquilani was sold for a huge financial loss to Fiorentina in August 2012. Aquilani's first season in Florence was successful in that he played in twenty-five of the thirty-eight Serie A matches, scoring seven times. Fiorentina finished the season in fourth place, which was good enough to earn qualification for the play-off round of the Europa League.
For perhaps the first time since his professional career started in 2002 Aquilani was able to have a relatively trouble-free season. He appeared in over three-quarters of Fiorentina's Serie A matches in 2013/14, scoring 6 times including a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Genoa in January. Finishing the league season in 4th place ensured that the club from Florence would qualify for the Europa League in 2014/15. They also reached the final of the Coppa Italia, where they were beaten 3-1 by Napoli in Rome. Alberto also played 10 times in the Europa League as Fiorentina comfortably won Group E to progress to the knock-out stage of the competition where they were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by their fierce rivals Juventus in the Round of 16. He was an unused member of Italy's squad that was knocked out in the group stages of the 2014 World Cup. The following season he helped fiorentina to the semi-finals of the Europa League but in the summer he was released and he joined Sporting Lisbon on a three year deal. In Portugal he did not get as much game time as he would have liked, making just five league starts and fourteen substitute appearances.