Ciro Immobile is “eternally grateful” to Simone Inzaghi and Lazio, as they target an impressive campaign, but reveals what went wrong abroad.
The striker hit the big time at Torino when he won the Capocannoniere title with 22 goals in 2013-14, but struggled at Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla.
Although Immobile is from Naples, he confessed to growing up as a Juventus supporter and joined the club’s youth academy in 2007, aged 16.
“It was difficult, a new city, teammates from other regions or even other countries. We were underage and they wouldn’t let us out in the evening without written permission from our parents,” Immobile told the Corriere dello Sport.
“I could’ve returned to Juve after my good campaign at Pescara and Genoa, but once I became Capocannoniere at Torino, it would’ve been difficult to stay in the same city with a different shirt.
“Borussia Dortmund was really hard for me, because I was far from home and didn’t understand the language. Fortunately, there was an interpreter with me at all times and he’d try to explain the situation when the Coach spoke to me. It was all very complicated off the field, though.
“I never understood why the German media didn’t like me. They’d publish articles saying Bayern Munich buy from Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund buy from Torino. Maybe they were still annoyed at Italy winning the 2006 World Cup in Germany…
“Things went a little better at Sevilla. Compared to Dortmund, it was a beautiful city, the people were warm, we found a nice house. Unfortunately, I was not first choice for the Coach and never got the chance to really express myself.
“In the end, I asked to leave, because I didn’t feel at ease in the team tactics. My strength was to say to myself that if Unai Emery didn’t like me, I’d find a Coach who did. Simone Inzaghi arrived and everything changed.
“Lazio is the ideal environment for me and Inzaghi helped me rediscover that faith in myself, making me a protagonist in a club in the most important city in Italy. I will be eternally grateful for that.
“Lazio are competing at the top level in Serie A now and we cannot hide. We must continue at our current pace. We are certainly not on a par with Juventus or Napoli, but we can try to close the gap, step by step…”
Immobile’s career was really launched by Giampiero Ventura at Torino and the pair reunited on international duty.
“I think we’ll get to the World Cup. Our Coach has important ideas, he just needs time and unfortunately with the international team we don’t have much of that.
“However, we are aware of our strengths and know we can get through these play-offs. It’ll be tough, but I believe we can do it.”