The redemption of Denis and Osvaldo

‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’ As far as two Argentine (well, one and a half) strikers are concerned, it appears to be an apt adage. Maligned during prior stints, this season German Denis and Pablo Osvaldo sit in the upper reaches of the Capocannoniere chart and have earned a spot in their respective national teams.
Denis, currently in his second Italian spell, has found the scoring touch which prompted Napoli to sign him in 2008. A season-and-a-half for Cesena in 2002/03 was followed up by time back home, where El Tanque scored at better than a goal every two games for Independiente. Signing players from South America could either produce a gem, like the Partenopei found in Ezequiel Lavezzi, or expose them at a higher level. Denis falls closer to the latter category, but to be fair, he never found consistent game-time. Sold to Udinese, he once again failed to hit the limelight, not fitting into Francesco Guidolin’s breathtaking counter-attacking football, as was the case under Walter Mazzarri in Naples.
Loaned to Atalanta late in the transfer window, Denis has slotted in seamlessly. Seven goals has the 30-year-old just behind Antonio Di Natale. El Tanque is the main force in attack, playing ahead of a vibrant midfield and netting from all angles. He scored a delightful goal against Cagliari, and showed his finishing prowess versus Palermo and Lecce, while converting with his head against Roma and Inter. One black mark was his miss from the spot against Inter. His form was rewarded by a place in the Argentina squad for their recent World Cup qualifiers.
The half-Argentine Osvaldo, born in Buenos Aires with Italian heritage, has earned a call to the Italian national team since moving back to the peninsula after a stint in Spain. It was at Fiorentina where Osvaldo made his name. In 2007/08 he appeared for the Italy U-21 side and his stunning overhead kick against Torino sealed Champions League football for La Viola. Comparisons were made to the iconic figure of Gabriel Batistuta, although Osvaldo’s machine gun celebration was perhaps where the similarities ended.
Never a consistent scorer, he left Fiorentina for Bologna but after exacting revenge against his former employer on the opening day of season 2009/10, he again struggled and moved to Espanyol in Spain, on loan. The Catalans then signed him permanently and Osvaldo repaid that faith with 13 goals in 24 appearances last season.
Signed for €17.5 million by the new Giallorossi regime, Osvaldo has become a permanent fixture under Luis Enrique. He offers an outlet to the midfield creativity and instinctively runs into the right areas, as his goals against Siena and Milan suggest. A menace inside the penalty area, his aerial ability has been pronounced against Parma and Novara and with key players missing the lead-in to Euro 2012 Osvaldo will be looking to book a spot in the squad.
The two strikers have traversed different paths but both are showing their capabilities in environments where they can thrive. Both have won points off their boot, highlighting their importance to the squad not pronounced previously.

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