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· I'm so gorgeous they want to arrest me
9,027 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Another game, another two goals and it's 300 for one of the greatest strikers of the last decade...

No one celebrates a goal quite like Pippo Inzaghi.

Almost every time he scores, almost without fail, he wheels away in a fit of unrestrained rapture not one millisecond after the ball has crossed the line. There is no occasion too dignified, no consolation goal too insignificant and no tap-in too cheap to warrant the flailing-arm, gaping-mouth, electric shock scream treatment.

It is this very trademark that has polarised opinion regarding Inzaghi over the years. In the eyes of many, he barely even passes for a footballer; a mere 'goal-hanger' who can do little more than toe-poke the ball into an empty net from six yards. Few realise the full scope of his impact on a game from beginning to end, never mind his impact as a player over his 18-year career as a professional.

With a brace in Milan's 5-1 mauling of Siena, the man dubbed 'SuperPippo' netted his 300th career goal. To the casual observer, that may be a fairly meaningless milestone in the life of a 35-year-old goal-poacher, but then just consider who else is part of the illustrious 300 club from the modern era: Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Raul, Gabriel Batistuta and Alan Shearer. Two of the five are retired, a third is in what Euro-centric football fans call 'semi-retirement' in his native Brazil and the final two are strike partners at Real Madrid. What they all have in common is undisputed legend status - but why not Pippo?

Alessandro Del Piero, David Trezeguet, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen and more haven't made it and most are unlikely to do so. There are even those with years ahead of them, such as David Villa, Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic who may be hard-pressed to hit the 300 mark before they hang up their boots. Such a milestone at the highest level is the hallmark of a world class striker.

What makes Pippo special is that he has broken into the club without the skill of Ronaldo, the longevity of Raul, the power of Batistuta or by playing at a slightly lower level like Shearer. He is comparable to Ruud for his reliance on his instincts rather than physical prowess or even any kind of exceptional technical ability.

He doesn't score quite at the same incredible rate as the Dutchman, but that should not detract from the incredible threat he poses up front. Jamie Carragher, one of the best blocking, marking, all-action defenders around today has said that he has never come across a player harder to mark than Inzaghi. This is a man who has played against Del Piero, Raul and Eto'o - not to mention that he played against Henry and Ruud several times when the two of them were in the Premier League. The unflappable Alessandro Nesta also singled out Inzaghi, now his team-mate, as the most difficult striker he had ever played against.'s very own Carlo Garganese has hailed the record-breaking hit-man, declaring, "There is not a player in the history of the game with better movement, anticipation and penalty box intelligence than Inzaghi." It is true that his movement is often phantom-like, impossible for a defender to track with any kind of authority and the fact he is caught offside so often does not always equate to any kind of laziness, but a willingness - an insistence - to play right on the edge.

Like Ruud, Inzaghi is a crafty character whose sole purpose in life is to score goals. What puts him in his very own class is his passion. None of the 300 club are, or were, quite as obsessed as the Italian about finding the back of the net. He apparently even carries around a notebook filled with self-drawn diagrams of many of his goals. What he has lacked in ability, he has compensated for with his hunger to succeed. He is the closest thing to an 'honourable cheat' as you will ever find; having spent his entire career as a forward in Serie A, he has only known one way of playing and it has always been a selfish, by any means necessary kind of way, but to take as much pride in every goal at 35 as he did during his humble beginnings at 18 shows, in part, what has made him a champion throughout his career.

He never has, nor ever will draw the crowds, but he is equally special to those that do. He is a specialist, a spoiler who can't offer you much variety, but has the outstanding and unwavering ability to do what he does better than anybody. No coach in their right mind would turn down having a player of that mould in their squad list every week. Having that option is indispensable - it's world class - and it wins matches.

Pippo wasn't a player that arrived on the world football scene with a bang. He was, as most of his ilk have been, a late bloomer. He spent successive years being loaned out by his hometown club Piacenza, but after one good season with them, made his move to the big time with Parma - at the time one of Serie A's strongest sides - but was unable to make an impact. Atalanta snapped him up and he spent another single season there, where he announced himself as a force to be reckoned with, finishing the season as Capocannoniere with 24 goals, earning a call-up to the Azzurri and being signed by Marcello Lippi for Juventus that summer.

He won the league in his first season, but when Lippi's hiatus began, with Carlo Ancelotti his replacement, Juve's potency as a team was in decline, despite Pippo continuing to smash in the goals. Lippi soon made his infamous return to the Old Lady, all the better for Carletto to find his way to Milan. This merry-go-round saw Pippo follow the portly coach to San Siro, where he has since spent part of his prime and also carved out a serene swansong, scoring goal after goal and racking up another Scudetto, as well as two Champions League titles, the second of which was won with him starring as the Avenger, scoring both goals in a redemptive win over Liverpool, who infamously snatched victory from Milan's grasp in the 2005 final.

The fact that 95 per cent of Inzaghi's game is in his head has played to his advantage. His capabilities have barely dwindled despite his age, while the likes of Ronaldo, Henry and even Raul have markedly declined in recent years. Inzaghi will always be a footballer.

After hitting the milestone, he said, "I will continue [my career] until my fitness will no longer be the same," he said, poignantly adding, "I don’t see too many great strikers around." It's true, he is one of the last of a dying breed, and his re-introduction into the Rossoneri fold has only proven that point, improving the team leaps and bounds in the process. For all Pato's exuberance and talent, he is still at least five years from having anything resembling Pippo's goal-scoring ability. They have scored eight in their last two games and he has scored five of them. He had a similar run at the back-end of last season and was inexplicably overlooked for Roberto Donadoni's EURO 2008 squad, and an impotent Italy paid the price where they otherwise may not have done.

Much like David Beckham, who is now his team-mate at San Siro, as long as Pippo is playing, he should always be an option, because he has that X-factor. Providing he stays fit, in all seriousness, there is no reason he couldn't even travel to South Africa in 2010 as a 37-year-old super-sub; particularly if he's still capable of producing bursts of form such as this one. And who would bet against that?

Throughout his career, Inzaghi has been written off as overrated - in truth, it seems he has been quite the opposite. There comes a time when good or bad luck ceases to enter the equation, as does any lack of ability. The more you play, win and prove key in doing so, you're nothing short of a quality player. When you do it for so long, at such a high level and with such unmistakable intensity, you are nothing short of a legend.

Sulmaan Ahmad,

WELL IS HE????????

· There's Only One Darren Fletcher!
12,668 Posts
I dunno if he has legendary status or not - maybe in Serie A history - but he still has been for almost two decades one of the most lethal strikers in the world. His goals to games ration speaks for itself, and he has bagged goals for every team he has played for. 300 career goals is an awesome tally for any player. Fantastic finisher of the ball too. Like his celebrations.

Oh and I love his nickname too .... PIPPPO!

· Registered
25,282 Posts
Good read. Is he a legend? Im not sure about that one. He is a goalscoring legend alright but a true legend? I just dont know. 300 goals is still an amazing achievement and he is in good company with the likes of Ruud, Henry, Shearer, Ronaldo and Batistuta and more recently Raul.
Massive milestone so fair play to him, but I never really liked him as a player.
In the article he is called an 'honourable cheat' lol, which says something about the man.

Id like to hear what our Italian members think of him and his achievement...
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