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Filippo Inzaghi – a tribute to the man ‘born offside’



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Tuesday night we witnessed the everlasting phenomenom that is Filippo Inzaghi.  Score a few goals. Check!  Remind everyone he’s still around.  Check!  We’ve been here before haven’t we?

Being a rarely casual follower of Serie A these days, it’s a bit of a shock when Inzaghi pops up to decide games.  He’s still playing is the common reaction?  But I don’t know why I, or others are surprised by this as he has been knocking in goals for as long as I’ve known about him. 

My Saturday morning feed of Football Italia kept me in the know-how during those early Inzaghi days.  It was quite impressive looking at the scoring charts and seeing this relative unknown for unfashionable Atalanta sitting pretty on the top of the table during that breakthrough year.  And this guy was in the company of Georgie Weah, Gabriel Batistuta, serious goal scorers! 

Needless to say he earned a big move and at that time Juventus were quite dominant.  He slotted right in, was constantly dangerous, and even went onto infuriate the dark lord of football, Sir Alex, with his pesky goal scoring abilities.  “Filippo Inzaghi was born in an offside position” isn’t quite true but it was an indicator of how clinical he had become.

He was the new hotshot of Italian football and one of the great new hopes of the country.  He led the line at a near successful euro 2000 .  Then he joined AC Milan and alas, found his new home.  He was still a massive threat to defences, if they took their eyes off him for a second he would score! 

A Welsh team in with a real shot of making Euro 2004 went to Italy full of confidence, ready to make their own destiny!  But then they ran into Inzaghi!  Three times.  Needless to say Wales never fulfilled their big opportunity and Italy easily qualified for the tournament.  Then it all went a little quiet……

Inzaghi spent the best part of three years on the treatment table, his knees breaking down after every few games he played once in a while.  There was a time when he was completely out of public consciousness.  However, this was the man born in the offside position wasn’t it?  Now far down the pecking order at the San Siro, and with little or no pace, all Pippo could really do was be there if a goal was needed. 

Not only did he retain all the consistency he always had, his now-limited ability even merited him a place in an Italian side that was going to make history.  He chipped in with a goal along the way as Italy claimed their fourth World Cup trophy and one year later he decided the Champion’s League final with Milan’s two goals.  Not bad, European Cup winners medal and World Cup winners medal in the one year!

Two years later and the predator is still going strong.  Last night Real Madrid’s Raul briefly took the European goal scoring record, until reliable Pippo popped up twice to take hold of the record again!  It seems that the perennial fox in the box is trying to make history!  Again!