Despite what the media wants you to believe. I don’t consider, not even for one second, that Gilardino is a bad striker, because statistics suggest otherwise.
Gilardino might be a flop in Europe, this much I’ll admit, but his strike rate in Serie A is still pretty impressive. According to statistics from Soccernet, Gilardino put away an impressive 17 goals in 28 starts in his debut season for Milan. In his second season, he managed 12 in 25. In fact, his 12 goals in his second season made him Milan’s top scorer in the 06-07 Serie A campaign. No other Milan player hit double figures. His goal tally in Serie A for Millan thus far, 29 goals in 53 games, gives him a goal ratio of 0.54 goals/game, which means a goal every other game and that is not shabby at all.
For comparison, let us now look at Inzaghi and Shevchenko. Inzaghi has 44 goals in 81 starts, giving him 0.54 goals/game, equivalent to that of Gilardino. Shevchenko, Milan’s second highest scorer of all-time, has a much more impressive tally of 127 goals in 208 games, giving him 0.61 goals/game. Clearly then, Gilardino’s strike rate is comparable to the other two Milan greats.
Furthermore, if you take into account his goal-scoring exploits at Parma, then it becomes even more evident that Milan have quite a gem of a player in their hands. 23 goals in two consecutive seasons cannot be a fluke.
The problem is that fans are disillusioned and that they are impatient. I don’t see how constantly jeering and booing Gilardino every time he touches the ball is going to help him.
To all Milanistas, I urge patience. At 25, Gilardino is still young and if given more time, he and Kaka might yet form a deadly partnership. If there is any club in the world that can help players get back on the feet, it is Milan. Given time, I’m sure Gilardino’s class will shine through. Forza Milan!