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US Lecce 1998 - 2000

After having a great season in the Servette FC, David Sesa received many offers from abroad. Deportivo La Coruña, Nuremberg FC, Bari AS, Bayer Leverkusen, Feyenoord Rotterdam and Southampton are just few of the clubs that took great interest in him. Nevertheless, he took the unconventional decision, from the heart, to move to US Lecce, a team which belonged at that time to the second Italian division (serie B), hence refusing the substantial proposals put forward by Nuremberg FC (Bundesliga 1) and Bari (first Italian division “serie A”).

At Lecce, "the Swiss" was welcomed with some sort of skepticism. The club had just got out the first division after an unlucky season and was going through a phase of radical change. However, by scoring his first goal for the “yellow-reds” only 8 minutes after the start of the game between Lecce and Monza (Lecce first match in the Italian Cup), he not only set the new Italian record, but also stole everybody’s heart. In the season 1998/99 he played in the second division facing –among others- SSC Napoli, Hellas Verona, AC Torino, Brescia, Atalanta and Genoa. The championship was played intensely and Sesa astonished with his high performances. He was elected the best foreign player of the entire second division and made the jump to the Premier League along with his team. Of the whole season, Sesa’s free kicks against Napoli and Torino certainly stuck in people’s mind.

The team was provided with some high skilled young players, who later in their careers made it to the national team: Manuele Blasi (Italy), Matteo Ferrari (Italy), Cristiano Lucarelli (Italy), Mark Edusei (Ghana). The midfield was assigned to Giuseppe Giannini, called “the veteran” as he had been wearing the shirt of AS Roma for almost 15 years and could boast 318 appearances in the Premier League. In addition to that, Giannini counts 44 appearances in the national team along with 6 goals performed: for this reason in Rome they still call him “the prince”.

The 1999-2000 season started with a bang, with a sold-out match between Lecce and Milan, the latter lining up players like Bierhoff, Weah, Shevchenko, Leonardo, Albertini, Serginho, and Helveg. Lecce managed to draw the match (2-2) minutes before the final whistle thanks to Sesa’s assist: this marked the beginning of the most fruitful season of his career as a football player. When he arrived in the world football, among stars like Zidane, Del Piero, Edgar Davids, Totti, Montella, Cafu, Aldair, Ronaldo, Zamorano, Recoba, and Zanetti, Sesa had the chance to play a bit harder. His team was very focused on defence and he often found himself forced to carry on alone his team’s rare attack attempts. In those days he was playing at world level and was able to single-handedly influence the outcome of important matches such as the one played at home against Inter (1-0). He executed a legendary free kick against AS Roma, during a match played at the Olimpico stadium, when he was able to send the ball directly underneath the crossbar. His dribbles and reaction speed threw the world’s best defenders into panic, while players like Laurent Blanc, Paolo Maldini, Liliam Thuram or Paolo Cannavaro themselves were not happy to face him. That was a good season for Lecce, which could accumulate some wins against “big teams” such Juventus and Inter. On the 33rd day of championship, the team fought the decisive duel to avoid demotion. The match between Lecce and Torino was played at Lecce stadium “Via del Mare”, before the eyes of 30,000 spectators who decided not to miss the show and whose expectations would did not fall short. Since the beginning it turned out to be a great show with several goal attempts from both sides. Lecce supporters’ dreams came true once again thanks to one of Sesa’s masterstrokes: during the second half of the match he scored after a free kick (1-0) which brought the team on the path to victory. The match ended with the win of Lecce for 2-1, which determined its permanence in the Premier League. Sesa’s noteworthy performances didn’t go unnoticed; several prestigious Italian football clubs clearly showed their interest in him.

Statistics - US Lecce

Season Division Games Goals
1999 / 00 Serie A 29 7
1998 / 99 Serie B 30 7