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Daily Mail - 2021-06-11

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Misfiring Immobile in real need of fast start

Euro 2020 The Big Kick-off

By TOM COLLOMOSSE

FOR a player whose game is based on speed and movement, Italy’s leading striker has the worst possible surname. Yet if the Azzurri are to capture their first European title since 1968, they will need the goals of Ciro Immobile to propel them there. Immobile — the name is pronounced differently in Italian but has the same meaning as in English — is an enigma of the European club game. So prolific with his club Lazio that he beat Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski to the Golden Shoe award for the continent’s top scorer in 2019-20, yet the blue shirt of his country has been like kryptonite. While his record of 13 goals in 46 appearances is not totally disastrous, a closer look is telling. Immobile has never scored in a major tournament and his list of victims hardly inspires confidence. Goals against Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Armenia, Israel and Liechtenstein were useful in qualifying, but more is needed against the greater powers. Two factors may work in Immobile’s favour. Against Turkey tonight, he will play in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico — the ground where he has performed so brilliantly for Lazio. And Immobile’s close mate, Lorenzo Insigne, will play to his left in Italy’s three-man attack. Insigne and Immobile (right) grew up in Naples and played together in Serie B, Italy’s second division, for Pescara. ‘It’s a beautiful place, but life isn’t always easy,’ he told Italy’s Vanity Fair magazine. ‘I saw things that children shouldn’t see. I saw friends lose their lives because they made serious mistakes.’ At 31, Immobile now has international success on his radar. ‘I’m happy with the personal milestones I’ve achieved,’ he added. ‘Now I’d like to win major trophies at club and international level. We want to make people happy — that should be the aim of any player.’

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