Josip Ilicic would be appreciated more if he played for Juventus, according to Antonio Cassano.
The Atalanta striker has been in wonderful form this season, scoring 21 goals across 29 games in all competitions.
Five of those have come in his past two Champions League matches, during Atalanta’s last-16 tie against Valencia, scoring once in the first leg before adding four in the return match — becoming the first ever player in the competition’s history to net four away from home in a knockout tie.
Josip Ilicic’s fine season: Five things to know…
- Josip Ilicic has scored 15 goals and recorded five assists in 21 Serie A games this season.
- Only Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo have been directly involved in more goals than the 32-year-old.
- He has also added five goals in the Champions League, four of which came in Atalanta’s last-16 second leg win over Valencia.
- But his, and Atalanta’s performances, have gone somewhat under the radar among those outside of Italy.
- And Antonio Cassano believes Ilicic would be getting more praise if he played for Juventus.
In Serie A this season only two players have been directly involved in more goals than Ilicic, who has scored 15 and added a further five assists, and they would be Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Josip Ilicic Football Index value May 2019: £0.43 (Buy)
But it appears the exploits of the 32-year-old have flown under the radar of many football fans, despite Atalanta being an extremely exciting team to watch.
The Bergamo-based club are Serie A’s top scorers with 70 goals this season while also adding a further 17 in cup competitions.
Josip Ilicic Football Index value March 2020: £1.67 (Buy)
And Cassano, who represented the likes of AC Milan, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Roma during his playing career, believes Ilicic would be spoken about more if he played for Juventus.
Josip Iličić has scored more Serie A hat-tricks since joining Atalanta than any other player and is the *only* player in Champions League history to score four goals away from home in a knockout time.
And yet they still call him Grandma. pic.twitter.com/uofd1K6Qmi
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 19, 2020
“If [Ilicic] had met [Atalanta coach Gian Piero] Gasperini 10 years ago he could have become one of the five strongest players in the world,” Cassano told Italian TV host Pierluigi Pardo on Instagram.
“He is not exalted by the press only because he plays for Atalanta: if he had been at Juventus instead of [Paulo] Dybala, at this time the whole world was talking.
“If we see what Dybala has done in the last three years and what Ilicic has done, the Slovenian wins 10-0.”
Ilicic vs Dybala
Over the past few seasons, Paulo Dybala has had a tough time at Juventus, overshadowed by his attacking teammates such as Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain.
Since the start of the 2017/18 season, the Argentine has been directly involved in 47 Serie A goals, scoring 34 and adding 13 assists in 87 appearances.
In that same period, Ilicic has scored 38 and added 20 assists, helping Atalanta compete at the top of the table and secure Champions League football.
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