SportsImmobile or the ugly duckling from beautiful Italy

Immobile or the ugly duckling from beautiful Italy


Italy’s Ciro Immobile runs for the ball during the Euro 2020 soccer championship semifinal match between Italy and Spain at Wembley stadium in London, England, Tuesday, July 6, 2021. (Justin Tallis / Pool Photo via AP)JUSTIN TALLIS / AP

Ciro Immobile, a Neapolitan from Torre Annunziata, has a hard time leaving Italy, lately happy in Rome and wandering in the European Championship. He did not get on with the Germans when he was in Dortmund. “In eight months, no colleague invited me to dinner at their house,” he said. Not even the Germans understood that 24-year-old striker who was driving towards the Borussia stadium, the same one where his compatriot Grosso triumphed in the 2006 World Cup, as if he were driving towards San Paolo. That atmosphere was too cold for a hot-blooded footballer who soon wandered around torrid Seville with ice cream in hand while Monchi told him stories about Pizjuán. Nor was it better because Unai Emery preferred Gameiro and Fernando Llorente: “I never managed to get off the bench,” he complained after accepting a loan to Torino and later the transfer to Lazio.

And in Rome he is eternally happy at 31 years old because he has not stopped scoring goals for Lazio after counting four at Sevilla and seven at Borussia. Immobile triumphs at the club that worshiped Klose after failing as a replacement for Lewandowski in Dortmund. The Bayern Munich striker surrendered later when the Italian forward won the 2020 Golden Shoe with 36 goals, a figure that equaled the all-time Serie A record set by Higuaín at Napoli in 2016. Managed by Juve, which never found him comfortable after signing him at age 17 for his 30 goals with Sorrento, Immobile has always scored in the calcium: 28 he added at Pescara de Zeman, when he joined Insigne and Verratti, top scorer in series B in the 2011 season -2012; 22 in Torino or 25 in the last year with Lazio.

Until the Euro has arrived. Immobile has been the target of criticism since he collapsed against Belgium in a play that ended with an Italian goal. The forward got up to hug Barella after faking a penalty for a Vertonghen tackle. “Even in the locker room we tease, but Ciro is a good guy,” Bonucci admitted. Immobile is the ugly duckling from beautiful Italy. You can’t find your site or seem to have an alternative in Belotti or Raspadori. The doubt is Immobile or Immobile. Now that the Azzurra has squared a very good team they lack the center forward that they have boasted all their life: Rossi, Schillaci, Vieri or Luca Toni, who was also a Golden Boot with Totti.

Immobile is treated like Morata and, in some way, the Italian also aspires to redeem himself, always defended by Mancini. The coach avoids any comparison of Immobile with Kane – two goals against four – and underlines the value of his footballer in the context of team play: he is hardworking, jumps under pressure and attacks spaces, excellent with breaks and also precise in the definition, as they know in Lazio. It happens that the game is not the same in his team as in the Azzurra. Sometimes it seems that Immobile, a calcium hero, is a stranger to the Nazionale.

Italy took a step forward, attacking with three forwards and not with two, and the Neapolitan lacks space and air for his counter-attack football, less gifted for dribbling and association and with a tendency to block as seen in the Eurocup.

Nor does he defend himself off the pitch, because more than Italian he speaks Neapolitan, a friend of Insigne. He is grateful for others to speak while he awaits his moment and follows the advice of Mazzola, champion in 1968: “Don’t give it any more laps and repeat: ‘I’m strong, I can do it’; and you will ”.

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