It is hard not to be in the spotlight when you are a part of a team that evokes as many emotions as Inter does. While their passionate fans love them, most in the peninsula loved to see the team deposed as SerieA champions. A whole lot many reasons have been given for their failure, but one that is certainly not, is Giampaolo Pazzini.
Pazzini’s arrival at Inter was most unexpected as Massimo Moratti performed something of a coup in the last week of the transfer window, his impact was immediate. Two second-half goals on his debut and winning the decisive penalty, instantaneously endeared him to the Nerazzurri faithful. But, that wasn’t the end of it as three days later he found the net again to help Inter close the gap at the top. His opening goal against Fiorentina last weekend was another crucial strike which has almost cemented Inter’s second-place finish and yet, the Italian has almost gone unnoticed.
‘Pazzo’ is a player who prefers to stay away from the spotlight. The same could not be said of him earlier however, now though he is a calmer man, someone who learnt his lessons the hard way. During his time at Fiorentina, he was known to have a chip on his shoulders despite his relative inexperience and this wasn’t appreciated by Coach Cesare Prandelli. The current Azzurri boss came out and criticised his attitude in public, something which did not sit well with Pazzini and he handed in a transfer request at the Viola which then led him to Sampdoria.
At the Blucerchiati, he galvanised himself understanding team ethic under Gigi Del Neri and his most impressive performance ironically came against Inter in the Coppa Italia semis of 2009 when a brace knocked the Nerazzurri out. His growth has come in a steady progression since then rather than a sudden spurt of talent, but his performances for Inter reveal that he is indeed ready for the highest level. His calm nature on the pitch allows him to sneak in unnoticed between defenders and when in front of goal, he is gifted with an accurate boot and also a guided head.
The partnership that he has forged with Samuel Eto’o has been a major reason for Inter being able to rescue their season. And it wouldn’t be entirely wrong to suggest that would he have been a part of il Biscione’s Champions League squad, the results might have been different. There is one criticism of Pazzini however, and that is his inability to decide matches on his own. ‘Pazzo’ works best with an able partner, deny him the service and he would most certainly be ineffective. In many ways, he is just a younger version of Diego Milito and in a sense then the ideal successor for the Argentine.
Leonardo has already placed his faith in Pazzini by making him a starter over Milito in most games and the Italian’s return justifies his inclusion. During his time with Inter, Pazzini has had 32 shots at goal, out of which 17 were on target and 9 ended in the back of net. You, draw your conclusions. Thus, if the rumours linking Carlos Tevez with a move to the Nerazzurri are true, it would be stifling this hitman’s ability unless Leonardo plans his ambitious 4-2-fantasia again. A full pre-season with the Inter squad where he gets to train with them without pressure, will only help in making him a better player.
Pazzini can no longer be considered a young talent and he will be turning 27 later this year. But, his precision in front of goal is a testament to goal poachers who work on a ‘one shot, one goal’ principle. He may not steal the spotlight, but that is only because he is doing his job well.