USA international midfielder Michael Bradley showed that he is ready for the new challenges of life with his second Serie A club, after making his début for Roma this week. Central midfielder Bradley pulled on the red shirt of Roma for the first time as he faced Polish club side Zaglebie Lubin and immediately looked at home following his big move from Chievo. Bradley’s début came at the Wrigley Field, not too far from where Bradley had grown up in the Chicago suburbs.
Michael, son of Bob Bradley, the former US Men’s Team head coach made the upgrade from the relatively small community of Serie A side Chievo to the more heady heights of Roma for a free of around $4 million. Roma coach Zdenek Zeman stated how happy he was to see the US star integrating himself so well into Roma’s set up. The deal was one which was inevitable, not only because of his performances, but because he only had one year left on his contract. With bigger ambitions for his football career, and with the small club Chievo Verona not wanting to wait around twelve months to see him leave on a free transfer, the deal with Roma, a side which has a rich history came in for him, a club which really fits the ambition of Bradley himself. Bradley signed a three year deal with the Giallorossi.
Michael Bradley, started his professional football career back at the age of 15, and as with most players, there were major ups and downs along the way. Bradley is one of the more unique US footballing exports to Europe, because he is well travelled across the European continent and he became the youngster ever player to move from the MLS to Europe. His first club on continental Europe was Heerenveen in the the Netherlands, which he netted 21 goals in his first season with them.
That impressive start to life in Europe made German giants Borussia Mönchengladbach sit up and take notice, snapping up the midfielder for the next two seasons. He seemed to be on the brink of a major football breakthrough when he was recruited by English Premier League side Aston Villa in 2011. A permanent place in one of the most supported leagues in Europe would have given Bradley that extra limelight. However, his loan deal to the EPL side saw him used in just three matches, a low in his career.
But then a lifeline came when he was sold on to Italian side Chievo. It was his performances with Chievo last season in Serie A, where he adopted the nickname “The General” that caught the eye of Roma in his first season in the top tier of Italian football. With a reputation for his hard work and vision at the heart of the team, Roma’s interest secured the biggest move of Bradley’s career so far. For Bradley, the move to Roma was a dream, and the 24 year old former MLS Metrostars player looks to have found his home.
The lure of the move to Roma, who finished seventh in Serie A last year, comes with the incentive of trying to reach UEFA Champions League football and of course to win domestic titles in Italy. Bradley is one of those archetypal fighters in football, an understated but very valuable team mate who simply lets his performances in the middle of the park do the talking for him. His work ethic and technical abilities have also seen him hold down a place in the USA national side.
Bradley has earned 69 full caps for his country, making his début all the way back in 2006. During that spell, the New Jersey born star has contributed 10 goals from midfield.