There seems to be something about Ciro Immobile that somehow leaves people unconvinced, despite the Italian quite clearly being among the elite strikers in Europe.
The 2019/20 European Golden Shoe winner has been consistently performing for Lazio again this season, scoring 25 times and assisting eight more in 40 appearances across all competitions in 2020/21. On top of that, he recently netted his 150th Lazio goal in under five seasons at the club, with 42 more assists on top of that goals tally in just 218 appearances.
Back in April, Immobile reached 150 Serie A goals, becoming the fifth-fastest player in history to do so, bettered only by Giuseppe Signori, Stefano Nyers, Giuseppe Meazza and Gunnar Nordahl. Since his Lazio debut in 2016/17, only Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe have scored more goals in Europe’s top five leagues.
But there are questions
For whatever reason, though, people aren’t entirely sold on the Naples-born striker. His spells with Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla weren’t the best of his career, but they were far from complete failures.
Even in Italy there has been a lot of criticism of his performances with the national team, and there will be a lot of pressure on him to perform at this summer’s European Championship, which Italy will kick off against Turkey at Lazio‘s Stadio Olimpico.
Having scored just 12 times in 45 international appearances, Immobile has been on the end of a lot of finger pointing from across Italy. The Azzurri‘s setup is very different to Lazio‘s, however, and with his club he has the license to do more work away from the box.
Lazy commentators often label Immobile as a penalty-box striker, but he spends a lot of his time with his back to goal, operating in the wide channels and trying to make space for teammates to exploit.
Italy‘s hopes this summer will depend on whether or not the Lazio forward can manage to score at a similar rate for his country as he has for his club over recent years, but Roberto Mancini will have to find a way to bring the best out of the striker.