Thu, 03 Dec 2020

LIMA, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Italy-born striker Gianluca Lapadula has begun a process to become a Peruvian citizen with an eye on representing the South American country at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Peruvian foreign affairs minister Mario Lopez said Monday the government would facilitate the process, confirming days of media speculation.

"The negotiations began today. Gianluca Lapadula can already obtain his Peruvian birth certificate," Lopez told the RPP Noticias radio station. "A few days ago we learned that the footballer was interested in registering at one of the consulates."

Lapadula, who currently plays with Italian Serie A side Benevento, was born in Turin to a Peruvian mother and an Italian father.

The 30-year-old began his career at the Juventus youth academy and has had spells with Milan, Parma, Pescara and Genoa, among other clubs.

He is uncapped at senior international level, though in 2017 he scored a hat-trick for Italy's B team in a friendly against San Marino.

Under new rules introduced by football governing body FIFA, Lapadula would be eligible to play for Peru as soon as he receives his new passport.

FPF sporting director Juan Carlos Oblitas said last week that Lapadula would be a welcome addition to the Blanquirroja for their World Cup qualifying campaign.

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