No-nonsense defender Gaetano Berardi had no hesitation in naming two of Leeds’ most celebrated current names when asked to select through his career highlights.
The Swiss defender joined the Whites in a bargain £85,000 move from Sampdoria in summer 2014 and, having been at the club for approaching six years, is the most celebrated foreign signing from the controversial Massimo Cellino era at Leeds.
Although not a first-choice player under Marcelo Bielsa, Berardi has enjoyed perhaps his finest campaign in a Leeds shirt yet and has not let anyone down when called upon to step in, with the versatile star having featured 17 times in the Championship this season.
As Leeds longest serving player – he beats club captain Liam Cooper by just over three weeks – Berardi was asked in an interview with Italian website Club Doria 46 who was the best player he had ever played with.
And the Swiss star had no hesitation in naming fans’ favourite Pablo Hernandez as No 1 in his eyes.
“Currently Hernandez,” Berardi said of the Spaniard, who himself joined Leeds from Al Arabi Sports Club in 2017 and has been involved in 69 goals (33 scored, 36 assists) in 150 games during his time at Elland Road.
“But it’s another category (the Championship). At Brescia, I had Alino Diamanti who was very strong, but one of the best I played with is certainly Eder when I was at Sampdoria. After my friend Paladino, obviously.”
Hernandez isn’t the Leeds man to come in for praise from Berardi, who also nodded to Marcelo Bielsa when asked to name the best coach he’s ever played under.
“It is the current one, ‘El Loco’, Bielsa,” he added in the interview transcribed by Sport Witness.
“But Iachini and Mihailovic are also top; I worked with them at Sampdoria. Of Iachini I remember the speeches before games, especially in the playoffs. It charged you up the way he spoke.
“With Sinisa, I remember doing what he said; there was no possibility of a discussion… there was no need for threats.
“Once we had lost very badly, I don’t remember who against. After training Sinisa made us review the nightmare of those 90 minutes two or three times.”
Berardi himself will be out of contract at Leeds at the end of the season and many fans will be hoping the club rewards the 31-year-old with a new deal after some highly-effective performances this season.