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Friday February 21 2014
Destro reborn in Roma

Rejuvenated Mattia Destro scoring feats since his return have catapulted Roma closer to their targets, says Jeremy Lim.

As dramatic comebacks go, not many can top Mattia Destro’s for Roma. The scene was set against Fiorentina, the score finely poised at 1-1. Then the moment the Olimpico had been building for arrived, when Destro stepped onto the pitch for his first appearance of the season. Not 10 minutes later, he would emphatically fire home the winner, in doing so consigning 10 months of persistent knee problems to distant memory.

It was fitting the 22-year-old was facing fellow surgery-victim Giuseppe Rossi that day in December, for the way he announced himself back from the dead with a bang. Both had glittering futures cruelly curtailed by injury, but still neither allowed their careers to fall by the wayside. To Destro, it had been like a weight lifted from his shoulders to be playing under the Curva again. “The only thing that mattered to me was getting back on to the field, as I really couldn’t take it anymore,” he blurted in relief. “To score a goal as well was just wonderful. I was out for such a long time, but it’s all behind me now and I am back.”

Destro’s triumphant return continued as he showed the Giallorossi exactly what they had been missing upfront to that point. Consecutive strikes versus Milan and Catania made it three in three for the rejuvenated striker, his return coinciding with all sorts of renewed promise for Roma’s campaign. Rudi Garcia’s men forged ahead, undeterred even after they had their wings clipped by Juventus, as Destro weighed in with another three goals subsequently to keep his side’s title hopes alive.

The starlet’s brace last weekend against Sampdoria points to a player ready to step up to the plate of delivering results for his team. Roma were seeking to issue a riposte after being bundled out of the Coppa Italia by Napoli. Destro put the capital outfit into the driver’s seat via a header on the stroke of half-time, before then producing a perfect pirouette and finish that Gianluca Vialli would have been proud of.

Pressed about emulating the Calcio great afterwards, the former Inter and Genoa youth replied in humble deference: ”A career like his would be a dream. My celebration was an expression of anger, as I wanted to score after what happened at Napoli. We have come under criticism but reacted the right way, proving our worth on the field.”

Expanding influence and growing mental attributes aside, Destro is just the latest player to be reborn on the pitch under Garcia. The fledgling bomber has proven a valid alternative to Francesco Totti leading Roma’s line since returning, enabling his teammates to get closer to their opponents’ goal by offering a penalty box presence and clinical edge. His record of striking once every 77 minutes - a statistic that trumps the respective ratios of Serie A Capocannonieri Rossi, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain - reflects the purple patch he is going through. It also propels the Ascoli native well ahead of Italy counterparts Mario Balotelli, Dani Osvaldo, Alberto Gilardino and perhaps Ciro Immobile, something that bodes well for his World Cup prospects.

Despite narrowly missing out on Euro 2012 however, Destro is not obsessed with representing the Azzurri in what would be his first major international tournament. “The World Cup? I think it is the dream of any player. For now I’m just focused on doing well with Roma,” he has stated.

Keep up this barnstorming rate for the Scudetto contenders though, and chances of establishing himself in Cesare Prandelli’s reckoning are virtually assured. With the blight of injuries left behind altogether now, Destro’s success story for Roma and Italy is only just beginning.

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Have your say...
THere has 2b something wrong as we r gettin kind of sure that Antonelli,Cigarini,Veratti,Destro,Immobile,Cassano or Bonaventura wont be going to z WC.Instead the psycho coach would take Osvaldo,Ogbonna,Marchisio,Giac,Gila,& burnt out pretenders such as Marchetti(who put as in a mess against Slovakia in 2010P.
on the 24th March, 2014 at 1:26pm
Biondini, Cigarini, Immobile, Cerci, Florenzi, Gabbiandini, Lodi "yes I said Lodi", look him up and tell me he isn't better than Montolivo or Marchisio I would debate anyone ten folds", Insigne, and I personally think Quagliarella without a doubt is just as clinical and deadly up front at the age of 30 which time again in the champions league and regular season scores some fantastic goals. Prandelli Please take note.....with these boys and men you cannot go wrong.
on the 25th February, 2014 at 4:20am
@anonymous, you won't get any arguments from me re:Pjanic. He is outstanding. There are glimpses of Zidane & Iniesta in his play. IMO it will be almost impossible for us to see another Baggio. Cassano has the talent but has wasted most of his career. Mastour looks extremely promising. Out of the current batch, I do like Immobile-he reminds me a little of Schillaci. I agree with those that want to see the back of Osvaldo & Gilardino, it's time to give these young players a chance.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:36pm
I hope Prandelli leaves Osvaldo home and picks up either Destro, Immobile or Cerci. All great up and coming players. Osvaldo sux! Agree on Cigarini, also like Biondini.
There are many good players that for some reason never made the Azzurri. For example, Miccoli, Cannavaro and Di Natale who played sparingly but would still at this stage in his career would IMO be better than Osvaldo or Gila.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 12:11am
Personally I think Florenzi is more impressive than Destro. Not to discredit Destro as he clearly has a ability to pouch goals but essentially they are more or less tap ins coming from a Roma team that gets to their opponents end line at will with players like Gervinho. I currently have more faith in both Immobile and Icardi(i know hes not Italian) but I would not mind being proved wrong either.
on the 23rd February, 2014 at 9:53pm
Nicola I have been waiting for a Cigarini call for so long it's driving me nuts it's pathetic,IMO the best midfielder other than Pirlo, I feel you man. Please Prandelli, he has to give him a chance.
on the 23rd February, 2014 at 3:01pm
Daniel, time will tell, I suppose he scored against the opposition that was in front of him. I think Italians are longing for the next Rossi, Baggio or Del Piero and have too high expectations for Destro. The Roma player that impresses me most is Panjic. But as I said time will tell.
on the 23rd February, 2014 at 11:21am
A bit harsh anonymous! Last season, Destro was played out of position by Zeman on the flanks: this did him no favours. He has also been plagued by injuries since joining Roma. Let's not forget that he also missed the pre-season & was injured up until Xmas. He has done well since his return & is looking better with each game. I actually think that he is under, rather than over-rated; when compared to other forwards in his age group.
on the 23rd February, 2014 at 10:00am
Icardi isnt Italian. We are talking about this season. Next thing you will be quoting statistics from under 12.
on the 22nd February, 2014 at 7:02pm
For Roma he has scored against Napoli, Milan, Inter, Fiorentina. These are not average teams. Destro's the best young Italian striker right now. Icardi is not even close. At this age he has scored more goals than Christian Vieri, and Pippo Inzaghi when they were at the same age.
on the 22nd February, 2014 at 5:02pm
Hes average at best, who has he scored against? teams in the bottom half, with the exception of fiorentina. we will see in Brazil, if he is fit and if he goes to Brazil. Lets continue the comparison with Icardi though and see the situation in a few years time.
on the 22nd February, 2014 at 6:09am
Oh! and where's Luca Cigarini, He is soooooooo! undervalued WTF!.....Definitely deserves a call up,PROBABLY one of the best young seria A Mids out there. Prandelli `wake up`.....
on the 21st February, 2014 at 8:41pm
Agree 100 percent on that,@ Maldini's Heir Plus Totti if well fit he definitely will not dissapoint. De Rossi as a Fullback or Midfield, Pirlo in Midfield or deeplying, and Totti as Support Striker or attacking midfielder,What a beautiful linkup. [3/4/2/1] formation or [3/4/1/2] either way you cut it and also [3/1/4/2] always with a 3 man defence.
on the 21st February, 2014 at 8:35pm
The first time that I saw him play was in Italy's pre-season friendly vs England in 2012. He was very impressive. It's great that he is playing at Roma under Garcia. These two factors should help him reach his potential. Italy have so many strikers right now. In some ways I'd like to see B internationals reintroduced so that we can give them all a chance to play for Italy and to see which ones can make the step-up.
on the 21st February, 2014 at 5:14pm
Glad to see him do well. Another former Inter youth team player doing well elsewhere. They must be gutted that Destro has scored twice as many goals as Icardi this season. The way Roma are going it can only be good for Italy with players like Florenzi and Destro, the ever present De Rossi and the seemingly eternal Totti. I'd have no qualms with calling up all 5 players for thw World Cup.
on the 21st February, 2014 at 12:55pm

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