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Club Focus - Palermo - The magic of Miccoli

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By Ben Moody

Monday 23 August 2010

Fabrizio Miccoli, the diminutive star of the Rosanero has found a new home in Sicily after getting off to a bad start in his career. Here he has found a team where he can be the star and gets to play every week. A knee injury picked up in the penultimate game last season ruled him out of the World Championship in South Africa, which may have given Lippi a convenient excuse. In that game Miccoli established himself as the club’s all-time Serie A goal-scorer after only three seasons, quickly establishing him as a club great. After his successful knee surgery and turning down a summer move to Birmingham, Miccoli will soon be back at the Renzo Barbera Stadium trying to propel Palermo to a top-four finish.

Birmingham’s pursuit this summer was a very impressive one and with the newly acquired wealth of Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung, they were desperate to land a potent goal scorer. Despite his age and injury track record, they reportedly bid over £5m, due to the sheer number of goals he scores everywhere he goes. It proved to be a difficult decision for Miccoli as he would have relished the challenge posed by the Premier League and the financial remuneration coming with it: “I had difficulty deciding. My head said one thing, but my heart said another.” In the end it was his wife who convinced him to stay, reminding him of his family ties. A decision which, in retrospect, he does not regret: “Now I have decided to stay, I am pleased. I have hit Europe with Palermo and I want to play there with the Rosanero”.

What has truly endeared the striker to the Palermo fans is his ability to score in the big games. Last season he scored against Juve, Milan, Fiorentina, Roma, Lazio and Inter. No less remarkable was his creating and scoring the penalty in the 1-1 draw against Sampdoria in the battle for fourth last May. He finally showed in last year’s campaign what many people believed he was capable of doing, which is performing and scoring goals consistently. In the past, none of the clubs he signed up for had him down as a first choice, something which, no doubt, may have thrown a spanner in the works and prevented him from making much headway. Permanently playing second fiddle and not getting the minutes into his legs, he ended up stagnating as a player. When he came to Palermo three seasons ago, he was still regarded as an unknown quantity. But being appointed as captain and getting consistent playing time finally helped him take centre-stage on the international football scene: a chance in a life-time to showcase his tremendous talent.

Miccoli has become successful, not just because of his goal scoring, but because of his creativity and vision on the pitch. Very few players in the world have the ability to create goals out of nothing like he can. His silky touch and football intelligence give him a head-start over most defenders, regardless of physical stature. He formed an excellent link with Cavani over the last few years and made Cavani look better than he is. He knows Maccarone well and has previously stated he feels they can work together well and with Pastore just sitting behind, he should be able to score 20 goals this season, health permitting. He is in the form of his life and feels he can help bring silverware to the island: “My dream is to win the Coppa Italia or the Europa League for Palermo.” Whether the squad is deep enough to compete successfully on three fronts remains to be seen but with the captain leading from the front, Palermo might bring some trophy home this season.

With the Rosanero extremely unlikely to add to their front-line before the transfer window closes, Miccoli will definitely enjoy the task of producing yet another burst of scoring to highlight his role as best striker of the club. Despite all his trials and tribulations in his career prior to his move to Palermo, at no time has he ever flinched in the face of pressure and responsibility but, rather, he has always embraced the challenge with gusto. After settling in well in Northern Sicily, he can now take the lead and show everybody what he is made of. And with Zamparini declaring that he will see out his career at the Renzo Barbera, the fans will be dreaming of success on the back of this hit-man’s ambition and scoring run.

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