In recent seasons, the Serie A goal scoring charts have often been relatively predictable in that a similar group of players have been scoring a similar amount of goals each season. The likes of Francesco Totti and Antonio Di Natale along with other big name players are always in and around the top ten when the season comes to an end, but there is one player in particular who often goes unnoticed.
But, averaging over ten goals a season since 2006, Sergio Pellissier is always there. After joining Chievo in 2000, Pellissier took a while to settle into the side. Having spent time on loan in Serie C1 with SPAL, he worked his way into the starting line up and has been a constant ever since. His goal scoring exploits and his consistently high levels of performance have made him a star player in a team that does not tend to have star players.
His importance to Chievo cannot be overstated and a comparison with Marco Di Vaio at Bologna would not be far of the mark. The main difference is that, while Di Vaio has led his side through a well-publicised period of adversity to maintain their station, Pellissier has helped a tiny club continue to punch far, far above it’s weight. Various Coaches have worked wonders to keep Chievo in Serie A, but none of them can claim to have done so with the ridiculous regularity that Pellissier does.
Pellissier has been with Chievo through thick and thin, even remaining loyal when the club were relegated and spearheading their successful return to Serie A a season later. On the pitch, he provides a similar presence to that of Di Vaio at Bologna, acting as an outlet, orchestrating attacks and scoring vital goals for his team. He has contributed five assists already this season and has outscored players including Mirko Vucinic, Antonio Cassano and Hernan Crespo, and he is level with highly rated duo Marek Hamsik and Javier Pastore on ten goals.
Despite this, the headlines and recognition continue to elude Pellissier. He has a solitary Italy cap to his name, a substitute appearance against Northern Ireland in 2009. Unsurprisingly, he scored. Against Juventus he scored his first ever Serie A hat trick, leading his side to an impressive 3-3 draw with the Turin giants, but still the recognition was not forthcoming. The miniscule Chievo fan base is not substantial enough to even grant him the status of cult hero, a status he would almost certainly possess at any other mid table club.
His ten goals have steered Chievo into a relatively comfortable 13th place going in to the last few games of the season but he will be required to continue to lead his team by example if they are to stay clear of the relegation zone. Even if he succeeds, he is likely to remain the unsung hero of Serie A for the foreseeable future, but at least the few Chievo fans that exist out there appreciate him.