In football, the opportunity for a player to move from hero to zero and back again is always present. The transition only takes an instant and often comes about with little or no warning. Take, for example, Amauri. During his time at Palermo he was seen by the Rosanero faithful as a hero and was deemed worth a substantial transfer fee by Juventus. Since then, however, his career has been in steady decline culminating in a goalless first half of the 2010-11 season and little hope of first team football.
What a difference a few months makes. Since joining Parma on loan on the final day of the January transfer window Amauri has set about reminding everyone exactly why Juventus worked so hard to sign him in the first place. Clearly a man on a mission, he began his time at Parma by saying: “I came to Parma to find the serenity I needed. I want to play well and score.” And play well and score he has, currently boasting a record of seven goals in eleven appearances for the Ducali that stands out even more when contrasted with his performances for Juventus this season.
Amauri has always been a handful for defenders, his powerful frame and aerial ability make him an ideal target man and he provides a focal point in attack. Towards the end of his time at Juventus, however, the goal scoring touch that had set him above other target men in Serie A seemed to have deserted him. While he caused problems for the opposition, he didn’t seem to offer a goal threat anymore. Even in his first game for Parma, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Lecce, he appeared bereft of confidence in front of goal. However, 15 minutes in to his second start for the club he had broken his duck for the season with a stunning acrobatic volley. Since then his confidence has returned and his performances have continued to improve.
Not only has Amauri been scoring goals, he has been scoring goals at key points in games for the relegation threatened Gialloblu. His goals have secured unlikely wins against Inter and Udinese in the last two weeks, as well as draws against Fiorentina and Roma and it is no coincidence Parma have started to edge towards safety since his arrival. When asked about where his future might lie, the striker brushed off the question saying: “For now I am fighting for Parma’s safety, then we will see.” Could it be finding himself in a relegation dogfight has provided him with something real to play for and a real sense of purpose after two seasons of mediocrity at Juventus?
Whether he returns to Juventus, stays at Parma or moves elsewhere, Amauri has already set his sights on playing his way back into Cesare Prandelli’s thoughts and adding to his single Italy cap. For now, leading Parma to safety come the end of the season would certainly be considered a success and would seal his transition from zero to hero.