Friday September 14 2012
Immobile takes Giovinco route

Ciro Immobile will be up against his past and possible future on Sunday. Antonio Labbate takes a closer look at the striker co-owned by Genoa and Juventus.

Ciro Immobile didn’t receive the warmest of welcomes when he arrived at Pescara last summer. “You can’t be my side’s centre-forward with a name like that,” Zdenek Zeman said. It was probably a joke that young Ciro had heard a thousands times, but the Czech tactician’s grin couldn’t hide the fact that he wasn’t totally sure of what the club had given him.

This time last year, Immobile looked like another so-called promising youngster who had got lost in the Italian game. A success at youth level for Juventus, he spent 2010-11 on loan at Siena and then Grosseto. His return was a paltry two goals from 20 games. Would the Zeman cure be enough to get his career back on track? Oh yes it would.

Immobile’s 28 variety of strikes saw him fire the Stadio Adriatico club into the top flight, he won the Capocannoniere crown and became the club’s most lethal scorer in the course of a single season. It was also enough for him to earn a recall to the Italian Under-21 side.

His goal exploits over the last 12 months were a reward for Juventus, a club who spotted his talent as a 17-year-old while he was in the Sorrento youth ranks. He helped the Old Lady’s Primavera side to two Viareggio triumphs and is the competition’s all-time top scorer. But on Sunday, in Genoa-Juventus, he’ll be wearing the Grifone’s Rossoblu jersey.

Many have questioned exactly why that is. After all, Juventus’ search for a new top striker ended with the desperate deadline day capture of Nicklas Bendtner from Arsenal. Would it have not been worth having a punt on Immobile instead?

The reality is that the decision to hand him over to Genoa was made long before Juventus failed to land Robin Van Persie, Stevan Jovetic, Fernando Llorente or any other big name forward they were chasing. The Marassi outfit were chosen because, on paper, they are a club who could offer the attacker more playing time than Antonio Conte – a tactician who coached the forward at Siena and also during pre-season at Juventus in 2011.

“I had the good fortune to work with the Juventus first team a lot while in my last year with the Primavera,” he stated this week. “That was very instructive for me. By training alongside champions I was able to speak to them and gather their advice, but it is important to play…

“When I was offered Genoa in January, we decided together that this would be the best path for my career growth and I’m convinced it is the right choice. And I’m also in no position to question the transfer strategies of a club.”

Juventus have potentially run a financial risk in agreeing to a co-ownership, seeing as they could one day eventually be forced to buy him back at an inflated price. But in giving Genoa 50 per cent of his contract, they are enticing the club to use him and help him grow as a professional footballer. That’s what they did with Sebastian Giovinco at Parma.

“Giovinco had a phenomenal season at Parma and it is right that he now plays for Juve again,” Immobile added. “I, however, am only thinking of Genoa at this moment in time. They gave me my dream to play in Serie A and I want to pay them back for their faith. Then if I change teams…”

The 22-year-old admits that it will be a strange sensation to be facing the Old Lady this weekend, but he won’t hesitate if given an opportunity to fire one past Gigi Buffon. After scoring in Week 1, the boy from Torre Annunziata would welcome another against a club who gave him his Serie A debut, Viareggio glory and a taste of the Champions League.

“At the end of the game, I’ll look to swap shirts with either Buffon or Giorgio Chiellini,” he added. “I used to speak with them a lot in Turin and I have kept in close contact.”

Looking long-term, this could be a defining season for Ciro. A player who has caught the eye of 1982 World Cup legend Paolo Rossi thanks to his “hunger for goals”, the centre-forward has the ideal opportunity to prove his worth on a footballing landscape which is finally being forced to give youth a chance. So much so that people are even suggesting he could be one of Serie A’s revelations this term.

“Could I be the Serie A top scorer? Maybe the odds makers got carried away after my goal against Cagliari, but why not? I’m not afraid of anything and I’ll certainly try to follow my Serie B scoring title with the one in Serie A. I know that it will be hard and I’m under no illusions, but it doesn’t frighten me.”

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Have your say...
giovinco is too small and weak . should hav kept immobile .
on the 17th September, 2012 at 3:27pm
I know what Co-ownership is! But why pay millions to bring a player back who was already on the books! What's wrong with loan deals? My point from b4 is that Juve will be playing plenty of games this season. He could have played in league games before or after CL matches and Coppa games, maybe even CL if he earned it. Juve failed to sign a big name signing, so why bring in Bendtner when Immobile could have filled that void. He can go on loan next season when a big signing arrives!
on the 17th September, 2012 at 9:54am
this is why i hate this current Juventus. we throw away Capitano and bring Lucio. We losing Verratti to PSG, and worst of all, we sign Bendtner and give Immobile to Genoa.
I have to say that Bendtner is a panic move and it's very obvious that he'll do nothing in Juventus.
on the 15th September, 2012 at 2:54pm
He's a great player but lets hope he really goes Napoli and plays alongside Insigne again....Forza Napoli
on the 15th September, 2012 at 7:36am
Onofrio Sanfilippo doesnt understand the significance of co-ownership, allowing young studs to get regular first team playing time rather than be a 4th or 5th option at Juventus and rarely play. It's better for his development to play at Genoa and Genoa will benefit from it financially if he plays well and Juve wants him back next season.
on the 14th September, 2012 at 8:43pm
Juventus needs a player like him... maybe he won't be a starter in the team, but next season he has to return to la Juve, before its price goes very high... We need a top scorer for the team maybe he's what the team was looking for last summer...
on the 14th September, 2012 at 7:47pm
Hopping Immobile comes back to Juventus one day, like Giovinco. FORZA JUVE!!!!!
on the 14th September, 2012 at 7:18pm
Ciro Immobile will destroy Juventus and show them that they were wrong to not give him a chance.
on the 14th September, 2012 at 7:04pm
Just cause Bendtner isn't Italian doesn't doesn't mean he wont perform well for Juve.
Keep in mind biased fans.
on the 14th September, 2012 at 6:24pm
Juve should of had the faith in him to play him or use him as the main striker if he does arrive in the summer then he will need the faith and trust of Conte to achive his full potential. In all i see magnificant things for him, he just needs to keep his kool and continue along the same path he trod last season and he'll get there.
on the 14th September, 2012 at 5:17pm
Does Pasquato still exist?
on the 14th September, 2012 at 2:20pm
He should return to Juve next year..
on the 14th September, 2012 at 1:07pm
Immobile is a great talent, he is a deadly finisher. I hope prandelli can reunite the Insigne, Veratti, Immobile partnership.
on the 14th September, 2012 at 12:38pm
For me this kid is a star of the future, why didn't Juve just bring him back instead of signing Bendtner?!
on the 14th September, 2012 at 11:47am

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