Football News

Ciro Immobile: Arguably football’s most underappreciated goal machine has a “dirty job” to do for Italy v England

By Chris Smith

Published: 14:20, 10 July 2021

Ciro Immobile’s agent is becoming “irritated” at the criticism the forward has received regarding his performances at Euro 2020 so far.

The Lazio striker has notched two goals and two assists in five appearances at the tournament for Italy so far, but hasn’t scored since matchday two. As a result, he’s come under increasing scrutiny for apparently frustrating performances and drawing unwanted attention for his theatrics in a 2-1 quarter-final win over Belgium.

But Immobile’s agent, Alessandro Moggi, has hit back at the negative press his client has received recently, claiming the 31-year-old is held to unfair standards when compared to others who have worn the Italian shirt.

“I hear people talk about strikers of the past who in their entire careers scored a fifth of the goals Ciro has, and I am starting to find it really irritating,” said Moggi.

“Ciro Immobile has nothing more to prove, he already showed so much throughout his career and objectively is the most prolific Italian forward of the last few years.”

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To date, Immobile has 15 goals in 51 caps for the Azzurri but his form at club level is far more impressive, with three Capocannoniere awards as Serie A’s top scorer under his belt. Across five seasons in his current spell with Lazio, Immobile has scored no fewer than 150 goals in 219 appearances across all competitions.

“It makes me angry, because if Immobile scores two goals per game, it’s treated as the norm and nobody makes a big deal of it, but if for any reason he doesn’t get the ball in the net, he becomes the main problem of the Italy squad. We’ve been reading this for years now,” Moggi added.

“Then I read journalists bring up the names of forwards who scored 30-40 goals in their whole careers and yet are treated as those who could improve Italy’s performances, that suggests to me some people have an ulterior motive. It really irritates me.”

Although Immobile can frustrate when coming deep to link play, he has been used well by Roberto Mancini during the Euros as someone to run behind the opposition defence, stretching play and opening up space for others. This has been invaluable to giving the likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa time to cut inside and attack centrally.

Ex-Italy boss Antonio Conte has defended the “dirty job” Immobile performs for the Azzurri, dismissing the criticism as unwarranted.

“I don’t agree with the criticism of Immobile, he does a dirty job, he always disturbs the two-opposing centre-backs, he attacks space. Apart from the goals, his teammates exploit his work,” said Conte.

On the idea of dropping Immobile for Sunday’s final, he added: “The idea of a false nine for Italy doesn’t seem appropriate to me. Insigne doesn’t have those characteristics, he would be distorted. And we would find ourselves with few references in the opponent’s area.”

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Earlier in the tournament, Immobile himself insisted he felt “trusted” by his teammates and coaching staff and that he would try to erase his underwhelming past with the national team to win the Euros.

“I feel that everybody is trusting me, I’ve never felt this way,” he said ahead of Italy’s quarter-final win over Belgium. “I should have scored more goals with the national team, but a victory can cancel the past and all the things that have been said. I am trying to cancel the past with the Euros.

“The relationship with Mancini has improved and that’s important. I always try to give my best and [Gianluca] Vialli is helping me so much too.”