The name Giuseppe Bellusci will send a shiver down the spine of Leeds United supporters.
Leeds are in a completely different place right now as they thrive in the Premier League, but beneath the surface at Elland Road remains a period of the club’s history lacking direction and hope.
Bellusci’s spell at Elland Road coincides with that.
A bad start that got worse
The wider problem at Elland Road was Massimo Cellino and his erratic ownership of the club. In the summer of 2014, he made a mark on the transfer window in the Championship with a sea of arrivals, including the aforementioned Bellusci.
Arriving from Catania, Bellusci bolstered the centre-back ranks at Elland Road.
However, his debut saw him sent-off in a 4-1 defeat to Watford in August 2014 as Leeds got off to a terrible start in the Championship under Dave Hockaday.
By the time Bellusci has returned from suspension, Neil Redfearn was in-charge and overseeing things until Dark Milanic took charge.
The centre-back’s form improved: he scored an outrageous free-kick in a 3-1 win at Bournemouth, impressed in a West Yorkshire derby win over Huddersfield Town and scored against Sheffield Wednesday.
However, Leeds were still struggling for consistency and they weren’t at all convincing from a defensive point of view as the season progressed.
Bellusci was struggling and he had a mark against his name following an incident of alleged racism involving Norwich City striker, Cameron Jerome.
In the end, Bellusci ended up with 13 yellow cards and two red cards in 30 appearances.
Do you love Leeds United? Here’s 19 basic questions about the Whites that almost every fan of the club should be getting right
Controversially towards the end of that season, Bellusci was involved in a group of six players who picked up convenient injuries in the build-up to a trip to Charlton Athletic.
Alongside Mirco Antenucci, Edgar Cani, Marco Silvestri, Dario Del Fabro and Souleymane Doukara, Bellusci was dubbed as one of the ‘sicknote six’. It was claimed by supporters that their exclusion from selection was a ploy to undermine head coach, Redfearn, who by now was back in-charge.
That soured the view of fans with all six of those players and stuck on Bellusci until he departed the club.
Bellusci started the following campaign at the heart of Leeds’ defence as they drew 1-1 with Burnley in Uwe Rosler’s first game at the helm.
However, inconsistencies remained with Leeds and, in particular, with Bellusci’s performances.
Nevertheless, he was a regular under Rosler and then Steve Evans, making 32 appearances across all competitions and, again, matching 13 yellow cards.
Where is he now?
By the time Garry Monk came in at Leeds in the summer of 2016, Bellusci was in the firing line properly with supporters.
He was shipped out on loan to Empoli for the season and Leeds’ fortunes improved. Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson were colossus figures at centre-back for the Whites, who ended up finishing seventh in the table.
There was to be a brief return for Bellusci in the summer of 2017, with the centre-back booed by his own supporters in a pre-season friendly fixture.
The writing wasn’t just on the wall for Bellusci at this point; he had to leave and fans would have remained divided with the club if he wasn’t let go.
In July 2017, Bellusci was let go by the club, as Leeds continued to evolve under the ownership of Andrea Radrizzani.
Palermo was Bellusci’s destination after Leeds, with the defender then moving on to Monza at the start of 2019/20.
Bellusci won promotion with the Italian side in Serie C last season and is now playing back in Italian football’s second-tier alongside players like Kevin-Prince Boateng.