Ciro Immobile: From Outcast to Hero of the Nation

When Roberto Mancini became the coach of the “azure team”, a dilemma arose in front of him: he could call one of the most potent strikers on the planet, but the same striker very rarely did something in the national team. So is it worth it?

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First, Mancini gave Mario Balotelli a hundredth chance to silence his critics. He then confided in the high-speed maze Kevin Lasagne, as well as the king of the second floor, Leonardo Pavoletti. What is there, even the forgotten prodigy Pietro Pellegri received his challenge. 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 without attackers at all, somehow it was in a match against Ukraine – then Federico Bernardeschi acted as a false nine.

It might seem that Mancini has completely lost faith in Immobile, but this was not the case. It was simply impossible not to replace how good he was at the 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 – the trinity brought up by the incurable smoker Zdenek Zeman from Pescara. The players knew each other and loved to attack, so Mancini was only happy to give them a chance.

Not everything worked out, but Mancini’s coaching style had an amazing effect on Chiro. When he missed his chances against the Netherlands in the League of Nations, the specialist simply told him: “You will score against Poland.”

At that time, most of the goals came from the midfield, where Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Pellegrini were working. This again made many wonder if the Italians really need the attackers, 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 numerous goals from the Torre Annunziata native, but also the fact that he had as many as 20 assists for Lazio.

But gradually, over time, Italy blossomed and chose a style that suited her. And Immobile got a taste of it, scoring his 14th goal for the national team in the opening match of Euro 2020. This is his first such ball at major tournaments in 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 plays their games.

Italy has no more offensive problems. Ciro Immobile no longer raises questions – he is ready to score in every match.

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