Matters have gotten just a bit complicated for Domenico Berardi of late.
The 19-year-old Sassuolo man has been the revelation of the campaign in Serie A, netting 12 times for the relegation-threatened Neroverdi in some style.
A thrilling four-goal performance against Milan in mid-January catapulted the youngster, who is co-owned with Juventus, to international recognition with plaudits flying in left, right and centre.
Agent Giuseppe Galli even went so far as to mention the teenager in the same breath as Chelsea’s heralded Eden Hazard, whilst Manchester United were reported to be readying a £19m summer assault for his services.
But since these heady days of mere weeks ago, Berardi has gone off the boil to some degree.
Eusebio Di Francesco was dismissed from the helm at Sassuolo heading into February and the Italian is yet to score under new boss Alberto Malesani - a stretch of five games.
Unimpressed, Malesani dropped his wayward starlet to the bench last weekend for the trip to Lazio and did the same for Sunday’s encounter with Parma, a move Berardi seems to have taken to heart.
With the Neroverdi trailing the Ducali 1-0 in the 71st minute, the coach threw the adolescent striker on - only to see him sent off 48 seconds later for swinging an elbow at opponent Cristian Molinaro.
Sassuolo would go on to fall to a seventh straight defeat that has sent reports of an imminent sacking for Malesani into overdrive - with a recall of Di Francesco mooted.
And the under-fire Malesani was none too pleased with the rash actions of the Italy youth international following the final whistle.
“In the second half, when we tried to push, Berardi made a grave error,” he told Rai Sport.
“Perhaps many were expecting more from this player, who we must recall is only 19 years old.
“He has a difficult character, it’s not going so well for him.”
Berardi will have plenty of time to think about his mistake, as a significant suspension is likely on the cards for violent conduct.
image: © ell-r-brown