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In February 2019 Andrea Orlandi had to say goodbye to football. An unexpected heart problem while undergoing medical tests to sign for the Italian Virtus Entella revealed that he had a scar on his left ventricle that made it impossible for him to continue playing football. Because of this, Orlandi, a member of the FC Barcelona Players' Association, had to put an end to a football career marked by his success in England and by what he learned at FC Barcelona.
Arriving at Barça
Andrea Orlandi arrived at Barça from Alaves. Before playing for the basque side, he had been in RCD Espanyol and Damm CF youth academies. However, with his arrival at FC Barcelona he realized that football could be his profession. Orlandi argues that "signing for Barça, the best club in the world" was a test to face his fears. Being able to “play with the best” was a challenge to prove if he really wanted and could become a footballer. In addition, playing at the club not only allowed him to make a football change but also mental one. He says that from that experience he faced all the bad moments with a lot of confidence because he "had been a Barcelona player".
"Playing for Barça gave me a lot of confidence"“ Andrea Orlandi
His debut with the first team was on May 20, 2006 in San Mamés. Andrea who made a career as a left winger made his debut under Frank Rijkaard managing, in a position unusual for him, the left back. He recalls that when his ex-partner Ludovic Silvestre told him that he had to make his debut and as a left back, he couldn't believe it. "When I saw my name on the board and also on the back side, I started to get nervous." He says that Samuel Eto’o’s intervention was key at the time. The Cameroonian striker gave him advice for that match: "Stay calm, you only have to pass the ball to me". The security in the words of Barça’s top scorer healed confidence in Orlandi who remembers a good performance in the 74 minutes he played in the 3-1 defeat against Athletic Bilbao in the last game of the league. A league that Barça had already won a few days before. "Playing as a left back I can say that I did well enough, I didn't make any mistakes, and I think it's one of the happiest moments of my life. Leaving San Mamés, being on the bus with Ludovic Giuly sitting in front of me, eating a pizza and seeing my parents so emotional next to so many people ... it was an amazing moment. "
Swanselona and Football in England
After moving to Barça he left for Swansea where he managed to promote in just five years from League One to the Premier League. In the Welsh club, know during the time he was there as “Swanselona”, he became the 2nd Spaniard with most appearances, only beaten by his Catalan colleague Àngel Rangel. From his arrival at Swansea he remembers the harshness of the first months. A difficult start led the press to question Orlandi's Barça past. The winger says that having played for Barcelona "was a responsibility" but also "a pleasure and a pride" and he never allowed himself to have "a negative attitude or compromise the name of Barça". After Leaving the Swans, Orlandi played in Championship for Brighton & Hove Albion during two seasons. His last season in England was the 2014-2015 and he played for Blackpool FC, where he remains as the Spaniard with more appearances.
Life after Football
In February 2019, 17 years of career come to an end. A career marked by having played in countries such as Spain, England, Malta, Italy and even India. This knowledge of the football planet was key for his next step. After Meeting with and ex-teammate he embarked himself to the BY & FOR project; a representation agency that today represents players such as Barça's Antoine Griezmann. Within the company, Orlandi holds the position of Football Director and is dedicated to the analysis of matches and helping young footballers.
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