In recent seasons, strikers are becoming very underrated. This is understandable, because there are now goals coming from all positions apart from the goalkeeper. With the advent of 20 goal-a-season wingers, midfielders chipping in with double figures in goals and centre backs like Sergio Ramos bagging 6 league goals already this season, the over reliance on out-and-out centre forwards feels a bit old school.
With more and more managers, like Klopp and Sarri, opting for the smarter play of the False 9 over the more bullish penalty box heroes, a striker who isn’t adding more and evolving his game may find himself at the bottom of the food chain and his game time limited. However, in Italian football, because of the styles of play, the conventional number 9 is still very much in play. Being big and bullish, with an ability to hold up play, win headers and be in the right place at the right time, are all qualities you find in a typical striker in the Serie A. Strikers like Madzukic, Zapata, Caicedo, Ciofani, Cutrone, Piatek, Inglese and Quagliarella, to name a few, look like they are built for the Serie A and are all excelling one way or another.
Mauro Icardi, though not exempt from this A-list of Calcio strikers, has more about his game than most of these strikers and has seemingly continued to evolve his game over the last couple of seasons. Not lacking in pace, technically very adept from any position in the final third and with a positional sense like that of former Internazionale striker Samuel Eto’o, he’s added hold-up play to his game to take him to that all-round striker table.
Inter Milan offered him the platform and he has ripped the hand off, all while consistently dragging them almost by himself sometimes. However, his legacy at Inter is about to go from the man who brought back Champions league football, to that of just a passerby hated by the Curva Nord.