The nature of a center forward is strange. A striker’s value depends much on the goals he scores, which makes this position much more psychological than others. it is not just the performance and the physical condition of a player that matter. There is also something that it’s not entirely under his control. That is because goals can come from many circumstances and some of those are very fortuitous. Sometimes, awesome strikers fail to score for many games: Lack of luck may negatively affect their confidence. On the other hand, some average / mediocre forwards may happen to score many goals in a row, which turns into more confidence.
Ciro Immobile is a particular kind of striker. He has always scored, in every team he played. At the same time, he has also always shown some limits, especially when he tried to take his career to the next level. That is one of the reasons why it seems that public opinion has never considered him as a top striker, even though his scoring stats with his current club Lazio are impressive: 149 presences with 102 goals and 30 assists.
This paradox of Immobile is easy to notice when you look at his performance with the Italian national team. Even though the Azzurri have not been able to feature a masterclass striker since the days of Luca Toni, Immobile has always had to fight for being a first-choice player for any Nazionale coach. If when wearing the Biancocelesti jersey he can really show some magnificent qualities, with the national team all his limits become evident. The Ciro Immobile of Lazio is an awesome striker, competitive and concrete. He is one of the best in Serie A when it comes to attacking the space and putting himself in the condition to receive the ball. He is a tremendous shooter and, consequently, he scores many times.
When he is playing for the Azzurri however, he does not seem to play with the same desire of breaking the world. He does not have the confidence to do that and, probably, the fact that he feels he still has something to prove to become a first choice is affecting his performance.
So, which one is the real Ciro Immobile? What is his true level? The Neapolitan striker definitely has some big potential. But, while at Lazio he seems to have found an ideal situation, an environment that makes him express these qualities at 100%, with the Azzurri – as well as with some of his former teams – he simply lacks that.
That is something that happens quite often in football – think about Lionel Messi’s polarized versions with Argentina and with Barcelona. However, it’s an overly important limit, as confidence is one of the most relevant characteristics a player should cultivate to evolve his level, especially when playing as a center forward.