sport news Ciro Immobile is the hottest striker in and is leading the way in Serie A

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'I’ve got rid of something that was hanging around my neck. I really wanted to score. I’m getting my confidence back by scoring and I’m happy with this.'

The words of Ciro Immobile after he scored for against Finland.

It brought to an end an international goal drought that had lasted two years. It was the culmination of what has been quite a remarkable past couple of years.

Ciro Immobile is the most prolific striker in Italy's Serie A but remains largely underrated

Ciro Immobile is the most prolific striker in 's Serie A but remains largely underrated

For Italy, Immobile is back among the goals and he says himself his 'confidence is back'

For , Immobile is back among the goals and he says himself his 'confidence is back'

See, Immobile, now 29, was once spoken of as the next superstar back when he was plucked from Sorrento's academy by Juventus in 2008.

The signs were good. He had scored over 30 goals playing for Sorrento's under-17s and a move to Juventus appeared an excellent step. After all, it was a sign that his career was going in the right direction; everything in place for him to flourish.

There were very high hopes for him. Juventus had signed him on the recommendation of Ciro Ferrara, the former Napoli and Juventus defender.

There was a grand introduction, too. Immobile made his debut for Juventus in March 2009 when he came on in the 89th minute, replacing Alessandro Del Piero in attack.

Immobile during his playing days at Juventus

Immobile signed from Sorrento in 2008

Immobile joined Juventus from Sorrento but he was released in 2012 - four years after joining 

What should have been symbolic - the start of something special, replacing old with new - was short lived. Claudio Ranieri had given Immobile a glimpse but the striker wasn't ready to go any further.

IMMOBILE IN FORM (SERIE A NUMBERS)

2019/20

Games: 7 

Goals: 7

Assists: 2 

2018/19

Games: 36

Goals: 15

Assists: 6

2017/18

Games: 33

Goals: 29

Assists: 8

2016/17

Games: 36

Goals: 23

Assists: 2 

 

It would take a few more months until he got another chance to showcase his talent in November. 

He played in the Champions League against Bordeaux and made two more appearances in Serie A. Now 20, it was time for him to get serious after only four outings for the first team in two seasons. 

In 2012, after loan spells at Siena, Grosseto and Pescara, Juventus lost faith in Immobile and he left. 

Great hopes and expectations gone. A troubled period followed although goals did start to flow just not at the level he had intended when he moved to Juventus. 

It is the same 'journey' Immobile speaks of that has led him to this point where he feels his confidence has finally returned.

That it has taken so long for him to get his confidence back gives you an idea of just how low it got for Immobile. 

A major problem has been how badly he has settled at clubs. At he complained about not having support 'for him and his family'. 

He craves attention and has to feel loved. The trouble is when you aren't an elite level player such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar the support only lasts so long. 

For Immobile, his stock may well have started high but it crashed once he left Juventus. 

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Immobile is finding the net more times than Cristiano Ronaldo in Italy's top flight

Immobile is finding the net more times than Cristiano Ronaldo in 's top flight

He is also more successful in front of goal than Romelu Lukaku, who is on loan at Inter Milan

He is also more successful in front of goal than Romelu Lukaku, who is on loan at Inter Milan

He

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