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Monday, 4 November, 2002, 15:12 GMT
Following in father's footsteps
Carlo Cudicini has become a Chelsea regular
Cudicini had trouble with injury early in his career

Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini is in the form of his life.

He produced a string of stunning saves to earn the Blues a 0-0 draw at Tottenham on Sunday.

And, despite the presence of high-profile stars like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Marcel Desailly, the Italian is beginning to stand out week in, week out at Stamford Bridge.


What makes him good? Well, first and foremost he keeps the ball out of the net
Peter Bonetti
Man City coach

"I have a fantastic keeper and he saved all the shots," said Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri after the Spurs game.

Chelsea legend Peter Bonetti agrees.

"I admire him very much. Alongside Blackburn's Brad Friedel, he's the best in the Premiership," the Manchester City goalkeeping coach told BBC Sport Online.

Cudicini, 29, has worked long and hard to hear such praise.

The son of Fabio Cudicini, one of the all-time great Italian keepers, much was expected of young Carlo, but few believed he could live up to his father's reputation.

"They always said: 'Yes, but your father was better'," Cudicini recalls.

Claudio Ranieri, Chelsea manager
Ranieri is singing Cudicini's praises

He started his career at AC Milan - with whom Fabio won the European Cup in 1969 - but failed to make a single appearance.

And things went from bad to worse when he struggled with persistent injury problems for three years at Como and Lazio.

When Cudicini then found himself banished to lower-league side Castel di Sangro, the future looked bleak.

But the Italian was spotted by Chelsea and was brought to the Premiership as deputy to Ed de Goey.

After a slow start, Cudicini has fought off stiff competition from De Goey and Australian import Mark Bosnich for Chelsea's goalkeeper gloves.

And there is now talk of him winning caps for Italy, who can already choose between Gianluigi Buffon and Francesco Toldo.


I managed Toldo for four years and I was sure about him, just as I am sure about Cudicini
Claudio Ranieri
Chelsea manager

This is a subject his club manager refuses to be drawn on.

"People say he should be in the national team, but Italy have two good keepers," said Ranieri.

"I managed Toldo for four years in Florence and I was sure about him, just as I am sure about Cudicini."

But Bonetti thinks the Italians will have to pick Cudicini if he keeps on playing as he is.

"What make him good? Well, first and foremost he keeps the ball out of the net.

Good stock

"He reads the game very well and is quick to come out. And he's consistent and that's what you want.

"Italians don't rely on overseas players much, which is why the likes of Gianfranco Zola have been left out in the past.

"But if Cudicini keeps playing as he is, they can't help but pick him."

Bonetti is certainly wishing the best for Italy's rising star.

"He comes from good stock and he is very unassuming. I like people like that to do well."

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