Ciro Immobile: From Rogue to National Hero

When there was a lively debate on the eve of Euro 2020 on who will be the top scorer of the upcoming championship, for some reason the name of Ciro Immobile was hardly mentioned.

What happened

The striker, who lives near Stadio Olimpico, plays for Lazio. Not so long ago, he won the Golden Boot for his 36 goals in the 2019/20 season. Then he caught up with the historical record of Serie A. This season, the success could not be repeated due to tendinitis. But he still shipped 20 balls to his opponents, hitting the crossbar seven times and lubricating four penalties. Thus, his total score in Serie A is 155 goals in 260 matches. Not weak. It is not surprising that the 31-year-old striker was noted both in the defeat of Turkey at Euro 2020 and in the subsequent match with the Swiss. everything worked out. It was he who was at the forefront when Italy failed to score a single goal in the play-off against Sweden in 2017, thereby missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1958. In fact, it was the beginning of a drought that lasted two years. The heaviness in the heart when you can’t score is great, he admitted after the long-awaited goal against Finland in September 2019. To tell the truth, I was pressured by how others were trying to make a big deal of the problem. When Roberto Mancini became coach of the blue team, he faced a dilemma: he could call one of the most prolific strikers on the planet, but the same striker very rarely did something in national team. So is it worth it? First, Mancini gave Mario Balotelli the hundredth chance to shut up his critics. Then he confided in the speedy muff Kevin Lasagna, as well as the king of the second floor, Leonardo Pavoletti. Well, even the forgotten prodigy Pietro Pellegri got his call. For a while, the tandem of Moise Ken and Fabio Quagliarella inspired confidence. It is unlikely that Immobile was very happy when Italy began to play out without attackers at all, as it was in the match against Ukraine then Federico Bernardeschi played as a false nine.

Ciro Immobile: From Rogue to National Hero


It might have seemed that Mancini had completely lost faith in Immobile, but that was not the case. It was simply impossible not to replace how good he was at club level. But skepticism did not go anywhere, and the coach was waiting for a signal that the uncertain form of the past was left behind. At the qualifying stage, the Italian tried to build a scheme around Insigne, Verratti and Immobile trinity, who was raised by an incurable smoker Zdenek Zeman from Pescara. The players knew each other and liked to attack, so Mancini was only too happy to give them a chance. Not everything worked out, but Mancini's coaching style had a surprising effect on Ciro. When he missed his chances against the Netherlands in the Nations League, the specialist simply told him: Score against Poland. At that time, most of the goals came from midfield, where Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Pellegrini were operating. This again made many wonder if the Italians really needed strikers, but Mancini preferred to shut up critics right away: every time he entered the field, he made us happy. He liked to point out not only the Torre Annunziata native's numerous goals, but also the fact that he had as many as 20 assists for Lazio. Alas, we do not meet often, and it is getting more and more difficult. If we had played 38 matches at once, Ciro would have scored 25 for Italy. But gradually, over time, Italy blossomed and chose a style that suited them. And Immobile got into a taste, scoring his 14th goal for the national team in the opening match of Euro 2020. This is his first such ball in major tournaments for a long time at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016, he did not play key roles. But in this team, he can be sure that he is appreciated and believed in, which means that there will be enough goals. It is hardly a coincidence that the Italians play at his home stadium, where Lazio holds their games. Italy no longer has problems with the attack. Ciro Immobile no longer raises questions, he is ready to score in every match.