Immobile staggered by Golden Shoe glory after breaking Messi-Ronaldo duopoly

By Sports Desk August 11, 2020

Ciro Immobile finds it "crazy" that he fended off Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to finish the season with the Golden Shoe.

The award goes to the highest goalscorer in Europe's top domestic leagues, and Immobile's 36 goals from 37 games in Serie A saw off all-comers.

Immobile, 30, produced the form of his life with Lazio as the Rome side finished fourth in Serie A, five points behind champions Juventus.

The Italy international, who edged out Bayern Munich's 34-goal Robert Lewandowski, said: "It's crazy, me in front of Ronaldo and Lewandowski. If I reread the roll of honour, I almost don't believe it: Messi, Messi, (Luis) Suarez, Ronaldo, Ronaldo, Messi, Messi, Ronaldo, Messi.

"I interrupted the Leo-Cristiano duet. For this I thanked the team, it was the least I could do."

Fourteen of Immobile's goals were penalties, while Ronaldo netted 12 spot-kicks among his 31 goals for Juventus, and Messi scored five times from the 12-yard mark in his 25-goal campaign.

Lewandowski scored just five penalties among his Bayern haul, and many feel he has shown himself to be Europe's leading striker rather than Immobile.

Immobile, whose goals haul matched the Serie A single-season record set by Gonzalo Higuain in 2015-16, knows full well how important his clinical penalty-taking proved in his season's success.

He let others take their chance from the spot at times, however, with Luis Alberto netting a penalty against Udinese in December and Felipe Caicedo missing against Fiorentina back in October, both while Immobile was on the field.

Immobile has no regrets over that, telling Corriere dello Sport: "None. I did what had to be done.

"If I hadn't behaved like this I wouldn't have reached the record figure. The locker room, its equilibrium is the most important thing. They are very thin threads and they must never be broken."

Related items

  • Rookie coach Pirlo demands 'desire and ferocity' from Juve against Ranieri's Samp Rookie coach Pirlo demands 'desire and ferocity' from Juve against Ranieri's Samp

    Andrea Pirlo has vowed to prove his doubters wrong at Juventus, demanding "desire and ferocity" from the Italian champions in his first Serie A match in charge. 

    The former midfield maestro knows there are questions over his credentials for such a first major coaching job, which he was surprisingly handed when Maurizio Sarri was sacked in August. 

    But Pirlo was a prince of a ball-player with Milan, Juventus and Italy, and the 41-year-old says past playing experiences will be reflected in how he now leads a team from pitchside. 

    On Sunday, his first test comes when Juve go up against Sampdoria, a team led by the vastly experienced Claudio Ranieri. 

    "Doubts? I don't have any," Pirlo said. "Certainties? I'm at Juve, I coach a team of champions, it was easy for me to fit in and I'm fine. 

    "I don't have to show the differences with Sarri's Juve: we have the same goals." 

    He added: "I carry on my idea of football, which must be aggressive and based on mastery of the game. 

    "This period has not changed me; like I was a footballer, I'll be a coach. There are those who speak well of me and those who have doubts, but for me nothing changes: I am sure of what I am doing."

    He is clearly talking a good game already, demanding his team show their hunger from day one, but nothing less than another Scudetto will suffice as Juve chase a 10th successive league title. 

    New recruit Dejan Kulusevski and veteran Cristiano Ronaldo are set for roving attacking roles as Juventus target a flying start. 

    "A new season is beginning, we start from scratch and we'll have to face it with desire and ferocity," Pirlo said. "This is what I'm going to tell the lads tomorrow. We have to start well." 

    Pirlo said it was "easy to settle back in" at Juventus, five years after he left for a playing stint with New York City FC. 

    Experienced former team-mates Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Gianluigi Buffon are "behaving very professionally", Pirlo said. 

    "They call me 'Coach', out of respect for their team-mates as well," Pirlo said, speaking in Saturday's pre-match news conference. 

    Swedish winger Kulusevski, so impressive for Parma last season, is primed for his Juventus debut and the 20-year-old will be expected to show flexibility within the team. 

    Pirlo said: "Kulusevski is an intelligent player. He finds space by himself and is showing a lot of openness to play in different roles. 

    "We are inventing something. Neither Ronaldo nor Kulusevski will start central, they will move and rotate."

  • Pirlo scotches prospect of Suarez joining Ronaldo at Juventus Pirlo scotches prospect of Suarez joining Ronaldo at Juventus

    Andrea Pirlo confirmed it is "unlikely" Luis Suarez will join Juventus from Barcelona but vowed the Serie A champions remain in the hunt for a new striker. 

    Although there is much about Suarez that appeals to Juventus, the process of securing an Italian passport for a player who turns 34 in January is a complication that Pirlo addressed on Saturday. 

    Suarez needs that citizenship to be eligible for a move, given the Bianconeri have filled their quota of non-EU players, and he is reportedly eligible to apply because of his wife's family background. 

    The prospect of Suarez teaming up with former Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus would have been tantalising, with Pirlo having allowed Gonzalo Higuain to join Inter Miami. 

    But Juventus have questions over how long the passport process for Suarez might take, and Pirlo said, quoted in Corriere dello Sport: "It is difficult because looking at the times for the passport ... it is unlikely he will be our centre forward." 

    Suarez has been left out of Barcelona's squad for Sunday's Joan Gamper Trophy match against Elche, with incoming coach Ronald Koeman looking keen to offload him.

    Speaking in a news conference, Juventus head coach Pirlo said: "We are all waiting for the central striker. The transfer market is long. 

    "We are calm and happy with what we have. There is no rush." 

    Pirlo's first competitive game in charge comes on Sunday when Juventus face Sampdoria in Serie A, the Turin giants launching their quest to secure a 10th consecutive Scudetto.

  • Chelsea's Zappacosta and Juve's Pjaca join Genoa on loan Chelsea's Zappacosta and Juve's Pjaca join Genoa on loan

    Davide Zappacosta and Marko Pjaca have joined Genoa on loan from Chelsea and Juventus respectively.

    Zappacosta, 28, spent last term in Serie A with Roma but made only nine league appearances, having suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury while in the capital.

    The right-back joined the Blues in 2017, yet, having featured regularly across his debut campaign, he earned just one Premier League start in his second term.

    He appears to have fallen down the pecking order under Frank Lampard following the emergence of Reece James, but is under contract until 2022.

    Winger Pjaca, 25, has been at Juventus since 2016 after signing on a five-year deal from Dinamo Zagreb.

    However, the Croatian has failed to establish himself in the Bianconeri's first team – for whom he last played a Serie A game in March 2017 – and his spell at Genoa will be his latest loan away from the club after stints with Schalke, Fiorentina and Anderlecht.

    Genoa, who finished 17th in Serie A last season and narrowly avoided relegation, begin the new campaign at home to Crotone on Sunday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.