Ciro Immobile, the top scorer in the European national leagues last season with a remarkable 36 goals in Serie A for Lazio, has carried his scoring instinct into the UEFA Champions League, scoring five goals for his team to qualify for the knockout phase of the competition for the first time since the 2000/01 season.
Lazio’s first round of 16 match against Bayern will pit the 30-year-old against Robert Lewandowski, the man from whom he snatched the ESM Golden Boot last season. Immobile talks to UEFA.com about the battle of the super forwards, and how the great former Lazio striker Simone Inzaghi is helping bring out the best in him.
The challenge of facing the champion, Bayern
“It is fair to consider [esta eliminatoria] as a prize. Face the best [clubes] It gives you satisfaction and extra motivation. Obviously, it will be a very difficult match. We will try to do our best in both games, knowing that we will not change our style of play. We will always do what we know, and we know that we will have to give something more to get the perfect game.
It is a very [ofensivo], who plays fast and total football, so it will be difficult for us to stop his attacks; and then we will seek to cause problems in their weak points. It is clear that we are not going to have as many chances as in previous games, so we have to focus on taking advantage of them.
We face the winners of the Champions League last year. It will be essential that we understand all aspects of this game; but, be that as it may, we have to be happy with the work we have done in the Champions League. Coming here after 20 years is a great result for the club and a reason for happiness. “
About Robert Lewandowski
“What do I like most about Robert Lewandowski? The fact that he is never satisfied. Every year he tries to improve and push his limits, even if they are already exceptional. He is a complete striker. I think he is currently the best nine in the world, so you have to be very careful. It was crazy to beat him in the race for the Golden Boot. To challenge great players like him and [Cristiano] Ronaldo made me very happy. “
About Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi
“As he was a forward, our coach prefers to play offensively, which makes it easier for attackers. This is very important. As we have seen, our style of play, both in Serie A and in the Champions League, has always been fun. and offensive. Our goal is to score more goals than the opponent instead of [preocuparnos por] receive them. So, from this point of view, I have a great advantage.
[Simone Inzaghi] He knew how to play with his teammates, although sometimes, playing as a forward, he preferred to give assists than to score. Sometimes he gives me advice on this. What if you told me that you scored four goals in a UEFA Champions League game? Yes, it does often. Most of the time he tells me a few days before we play the Champions League. “
The traits of a forward
“Being selfish is a common trait in forwards. When you have the net in front, you can’t think of anything else. Forwards have the instinct to score at all costs, and that sometimes means that you make impulsive decisions that can be wrong at that point. Many of my goals are the result of teamwork, moments of the game, and other goals are the result of pure instinct.
Do I have superstitions? Yes, of course. Everyone has their superstitions, especially since I am from southern Italy. I try to follow the same routine when I play a game. I always want to score, but I know it’s not always possible so I try to focus on the team’s game, especially on days when I’m not inspired enough to score. “