Thanks to her pace and penchant for dramatic goals, Agnese Bonfantini quickly became a CdT favorite over the past three years. We even went so far as to call her the Italian Alex Morgan, and while she may yet reach those lofty heights, it won't happen in a Roma shirt. Under normal circumstances, we would have been fit to be tied at the news Bonfantini was leaving Roma—and for Juventus, no less—but the blow was cushioned by one simple fact: Roma received an arguably more talented player in return, 22-year-old forward Benedetta Glionna.
With 28 top-flight goals to her credit, Glionna brings an incredible amount of production to go along with her massive potential. For those reasons and many more, young Benny clocks in as our third-ranked U-23 player.
Number Three: Benedetta Glionna
Prior Club: Empoli
Future Comparison: Rose Lavelle-light
Who Is She?
A Napoli native born in the summer of 1999, Benedetta Glionna got an early start to her calcio career, suiting up for Fiammamonza in the youth ranks at just 12-years-old. From there, Glionna made the leap to the first team at only 14, helping the club win promotion to Serie B ahead of the 2016-2017 season. Not content with that leap in competition, Glionna took a massive step in her career a year later, signing on with Juventus for the 2017-2018 season.
Glionna would spend two seasons with Juve, scoring 13 league goals and earning two Scudetti for the Old Lady, not to mention the 2018 Golden Girl award given to the best U-21 player in Europe. Despite that impressive start to her Juventus career, Glionna spent the ensuing two seasons on loan, first with Hellas Verona and then with Empoli, for whom she scored 10 goals and chipped in four assists last season.
A natural righty who can play out wide or in the middle, Glionna was officially unveiled by Roma in early July.
What Can She Do?
Well, take one look at that highlight reel and tell me what's missing. Glionna isn't quite as fast as Bonfantini, but she has more than enough pace and a deceptively quick first step to create room for herself or to rush past defenders on the flanks. And once she carves out that space, Glionna has a nifty bag of tricks at her disposal: body faints, stepovers, drag-and-go moves, and even a few pirouettes thrown for good measure. Add in the fact that she can deploy these weapons while standing still or running at full tilt and she becomes a massive headache for the opposition.
And these aren't just show muscles either; Glionna puts these skills to good use. Her 14 goal contributions (10G, 4A) were tied for sixth in Serie A last season, putting her in some elite company alongside Cristiana Girelli, Barbara Bonansea, and Valentina Giacinti, among others.
If all of that wasn't enough to get you excited to see her in a Roma shirt, she's also a setpiece threat.
What Can She Become?
At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, there isn't much holding this kid back from stardom. With her on-the-ball ability, athleticism, creativity, versatility, and bravado, Benedetta Glionna cuts an impressive, almost Rose Lavelle-like figure. While she’s best suited to play out wide on the right flank, given her close control and balance, she can chop it up in the middle of the park, too.
Much like Lavelle, her unique blend of speed, creativity, and scoring allows her to influence matches from a variety of positions and tactical setups, making her incredibly difficult for opponents to mark, let alone stop.
Entering her second year under new Roma manager Alessandro Spugna, for whom she played last season at Empoli, Glionna has the benefit of tactical continuity on her side, while being surrounded by attacking talents like Andressa Alves, Annamaria Serturini, and Valeria Pirone, among others, could see her goal-scoring and playmaking number skyrocket this season.
If she continues to blossom under Spugna's tutelage, Glionna can become a star for club and country, ushering in the next phase of Italian football alongside players like Aurora Galli, Sofia Cantore, and Annamaria Serturini, to name a few.
This kid is as legit as they come and if she can live up to this promise, we'll all owe Juventus a heartfelt thank you.