Saturday September 7 2019
Belotti's breakthrough season

Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall discusses Andrea Belotti’s potential to have his best season to date for Torino and Italy.

Under the floodlights of the Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium, Roberto Mancini was seething as his Azzurri team made it hard work taking apart 10-man Armenia, but there was a positive. Andrea Belotti’s brace (even if the second goal was eventually awarded as an own goal) saved the day and sent a message to his Coach that in this new look Italy team, he is to be the front man. It sometimes feels like the Granata hitman has been around forever, but at 25 years of age, he is just getting started and he could be critical for both club and country this term.

Belotti has scored eight times so far this season if you include all his goals for Torino in the Europa League and against Armenia. Whilst the heavily critical will point out that his goal against Debrecen, his two against Shakhtyor Soligorsk and his national team goals were against weak opposition, he still managed two with Wolverhampton Wanderers and one against Sassuolo. The point is, he is up and running this campaign and promises to continue his impressive record.

Torino are a team on the up. They are also incredibly likeable. Whilst they provoke an image of yester-year and a touch of class, they are also a force to be reckoned with. This season they have overcome Sassuolo and Atalanta, not easy opposition to beat, and are the only side with Inter and Juventus to have a 100 per cent record.

Walter Mazzarri has put together a fiercely competitive team and without many major summer buys, they know each other well. Italy Under-21 international centre-back Kevin Bonifazi was an important acquisition, returning from SPAL, whilst the €3m loan deal for Simone Verdi with €20m obligation to buy was the biggest and one of the most astute pieces of business in the whole window.

Verdi in particular is yet another supply route for Belotti and could allow ‘The Rooster’ a chance to add to his underrated record. In Serie A alone, the Granata front man has never let his team down for goals. In 2015-16 he netted 12 with four assists, then an incredible 26 while setting up seven in 2016/17. He got 10 in 2017-18 and another 15 last term. These statistics are not quoted enough, this is a man who guarantees you 10 goals or more one of Europe’s elite divisions.

This season, with Toro looking even stronger than last year, it looks like he could once again have an outstanding campaign. Admittedly, the Europa League defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers was a disappointment, but may aid them in the long run as the lack fixture congestion won’t take too much toll on the squad.

The start the 25-year-old has made to the season, despite the calibre of the opposition and the strength of his team, could see the striker looking to break the 20-goal mark again and firmly becoming the darling of the Granata.

It is hard not to like ‘Il Gallo’. The Torino Captain is settled off the field as well as on it. When being made Captain, he customized an arm band to have a picture of his then fiancée Giorgia and his Jack Russell, Angi. They had met in Palermo and she has been with him on his journey.

His level-headedness and his motivation can never be questioned, he admits that he isn’t as talented as some of the best in Serie A but like his close friend, Ciro Immobile, he works hard for his success. His tattoo that states, ‘Limits, like fears, are often illusions’ (Michael Jordan) certainly embodies his mentality.

As Roberto Mancini gave a huge sigh of relief after the game against Armenia, he could look at Belotti and had food for thought. He would do well to consider Belotti as Italy’s number one striker. “He is an example because God didn’t bless him with huge talent but with greater values like generosity, enthusiasm and passion,” Arrigo Sacchi had said. These values should embody what the new Italy look like, but it’s also easy to disagree with Sacchi. After all, did he see the overhead kicks against Sassuolo?

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Have your say...
He may not have the technique of a Neymar or the pace of Mbappe; but what he does have is physical strength and the ability to work hard. I think for him, like so many players, it comes down to "confidence". He has to continue to develop or reclaim it after his injury. In 2016-2017 season he had it, but hasn't looked quite the same since. He needs to raise his game a touch more and put away the "easy finishes" like the 2 or 3 he had against Armenia. This would help in the confidence department.
on the 9th September, 2019 at 5:46pm
Nice to see him fit and healthy. Explosive player. It didn't help to play through those knee injuries. Looks back to his 16-17 form.
on the 9th September, 2019 at 12:52pm
Pretty decent wide options verdi edera berengeur falque and laxalt belotti should be getting better service this season. If belotti keeps up this form he will easily break 20 goals for the season.
on the 7th September, 2019 at 10:34pm
Quality player. Needs a bigger club.
on the 7th September, 2019 at 8:19pm
I see him every week and must say that he will became better player every next season. Verdy is a player who will rise his level this season. He is still young only 25 but great captain and i believe he has much to mature for a striker.
on the 7th September, 2019 at 6:29pm
Great player. Hard working, scores, tracks back, has pace and is exactly what we need. Similar style to Cavani also reminds me of Vieri.

At the moment Belotti is our number one CF, flanked by Insigne, Chiesa, Bernadeschi and Berardi (if he produces what he's capable of).

After Belotti, Kean needs a good season to have a say as does Balotelli but those 3 off the back of a solid seasons should be our strikers at Euro 2020. Also excited by Pinamonte and Pellegri but probably too soon for both.
on the 7th September, 2019 at 6:10pm
Belotti is fantastic physically, he has absolutely extraordinary physical attributes. He's also great tactically as he can press during the whole ninety minutes and be at the correct position many times during the match. He has great off the ball movements and the killer instinct of a striker. However, his technique is below average for the top level and that is why he scored only twice yesterday. A technically gifted striker would have scored at least another two goals.
on the 7th September, 2019 at 5:09pm
Nice read on Belotti. But, I don’t agree with Sacchi. As with all things in football, it’s “what have you done for me lately”, because during the 16/17 campaign he was being discussed as one of the most talented and physically gifted strikers in the world. Work rate, pace, adept at scoring with the left, right, or head and an eye for the assist as well.

He’s underplaying or underestimating Belotti’s god given ability
on the 7th September, 2019 at 4:39pm
I've always rated Belotti highly. Even when he isn't scoring goals he is always working his socks off, being a constant pest to opposing defenses. And those seasons when his goal count dipped, usually coincided with him being injured or when his team were playing poorly, providing him with very little service. I would make him first choice. Immobile has had more than enough chances & has proven to be extremely wasteful at International level.
on the 7th September, 2019 at 11:32am
I appreciate this article, it puts into the right context his virtues, his flaws and his achievements. Even when Torino kind of fell apart two seasons ago he still went into double digits.
on the 7th September, 2019 at 11:18am

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