Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Robert Lewandowski — the trio are widely hailed as the most prolific scorers of the game.
The first two, of course, need no introduction. They have won every single individual accolade the sport has on offer and are two of the greatest players the world has ever seen.
Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski does not yet have a Ballon d’Or to show for his brilliance, but he, too, has successfully managed to establish himself as an unstoppable object.
The three marksmen were always going to go head to head for the 2019-20 European Golden Shoe. Surprisingly, however, none of them managed to take the coveted award home.
A wild card from Serie A’s Lazio did – Ciro Immobile.
Ciro Immobile’s outstanding campaign
At 30, Lazio forward, Ciro Immobile, is not exactly at the prime of his life — biologically speaking. Yet, despite losing his dash of acceleration and feathery-touch, the Italian forward comfortably outscored Juventus’ prized asset, Cristiano Ronaldo.
En route to bagging the European Golden Shoe, Ciro Immobile also matched Gonzalo Higuain’s record of most Serie A goals in a single campaign.
The Italian sharpshooter scored his 36th goal in the final match of the Serie A 2019-20 campaign, netting the only goal for Lazio in a 3-1 loss to Higuain’s former club, Napoli.
Signed from Sevilla in 2016 for about €9 million, Ciro Immobile had a mountain to climb at his new club. Lazio were not title contenders at the time, but they still were a proud bunch.
Immobile, thankfully, wasted no time standing on ceremony and ended his debut season with 23 league goals under his belt. Next season, improved his tally by six goals, finishing the second season with 29 goals.
His third, however, turned out to be the least productive. He squandered an astonishing amount of chances and could only manage to find the back of the net 15 times throughout the campaign.
In many ways, the 2019-20 season was supposed to be make-or-break for the man. He needed to bounce back, stronger than ever, to make up for last season’s hapless showings.
Fortunately, he remembered to wear his scoring boots from the first matchday itself. He opened the campaign with a brace at Sampdoria, helping the team cruise to a 3-0 win.
Between matchday six and 14, the Italian recorded 13 goals and four assists, leading Lazio to seven wins. He also did not forget to net a couple of hat-tricks — Sampdoria and Hellas Verona. The one against Sampdoria on matchday 20 was especially remarkable.
If scoring for fun was not enough, Ciro Immobile also did his fair share to bring others into the fold. He created chances for his team-mates, provided support runs, and even dropped deep on occasions to help out at the back.
The eight assists he provided were crucial to Lazio’s well being. Because without his intricate play, Lazio would have definitely been worse off on the table (the Eagles finished fourth).
After Ciro Immobile won the Golden Shoe race, he said:
“If you truly believe, sometimes, dreams do come true.”
It just encapsulates how much the feat meant to him.He was not an astronomical purchase. The eyes were not on him to take the league and Europe by storm. He started the season as an afterthought.
Yet, here he stands, at the top of the country and the continent. Next year, the 30-year-old will have the pressure of living up to this season’s sky-high standards.
And we believe, the Italian will not bow down without a nasty tussle.