Lecce’s 26 year old defender, Federico Baschirotto could well be the strongest player in world football, never mind Serie A.

The Italian national has been in fine form for Marco Baroni’s Lecce side this season. As well as keeping the likes of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen quiet, the powerful centre-back has scored three goals in his last nine games.

In fact, Baschirotto could have had another goal at the weekend but his header against Jose Mourinho’s Roma side was ruled out.

The Veneto-born defender, who never gave in after being rejected by Chievo at 16, has also dominated opponents in recent months with his ability to knock attackers off the ball.

His upper body strength, something he has been working on for a number of years, gives Baschirotto that edge.

Rather than go on holiday last year, for example, he went to work on his family farm.

And in an interview with Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, one of his brothers said Federico has been going to the gym for the past eight years and that he only eats chicken and rice.

In fact, he has even turned down steak and pasta in the past, such is his regimented routine. “My brother is obsessed with the line,” Federico’s brother says.

From being turned down by Italian outfit Chievo as a teenager to becoming one of Serie A’s best performers this season, Baschirotto’s journey has been impressive, to say the least.

Here’s how social media have reacted to his performances of late.

One said: “Federico Baschirotto is a unit and he scares me, especially whenever he scores,” while another commented: “Baschirotto scores, and honestly I’m afraid of him.”

A third wrote: “Baschirotto’s emergence one of many success stories in Serie A. Headed to WWE when he retires from football.”

Twitter page FotMob were full of praise for the defender. “Lecce have a cult hero on their hands in the form of Federico Baschirotto,” they wrote. The hulking centre-back was playing third tier football just two seasons ago but now looks at home in his debut season in Serie A.”

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