Friday, April 3, 2009

Where next for one of Italy’s great strikers?

Christian Vieri has to be one of Italy’s most decorated strikers who has in essence underachieved in his career. He has just one Serie A league title to his name, one Coppa Italia winners medal in his cabinet, one Uefa Super Cup and one Uefa Cup Winner’s cup. He never achieved glory with his national side, despite having the impressive record of 23 goals in 49 appearances. During his time at Inter he was considered one of the world’s best strikers.

However, things have moved on from the early noughties and the 35-year-old now finds himself without a club once again after agreeing to leave Atalanta. He made just nine appearances for La Dea, scoring two goals in what was his third spell with the club.

The two-time Italian footballer of the year has been unlucky with injuries in recent times which have seen him play just a handful of games and meant he missed out on Italy’s most successful sporting moment since 1982. Vieri missed the 2006 World Cup with a serious knee injury, watching from the sidelines as he saw his fellow countrymen lift the trophy after that infamous penalty shoot-out win over France.

So having left his thirteenth professional club what now for the once deadly striker? Well rumours have already begun to circulate that Vieri will move to England and Championship side Queens Park Rangers. Rangers currently have Flavio Briatore at the helm, with enough financial backers to pay the striker's wages, so it may not be too much of an outrageous football bet to make backing such a move.

Would this be the best move for Vieri though? At 35-years-old his body is not what it once was and with a glass knee he is unlikely to be able to play consecutive games. The hero of Inter has become a gamble, no longer can you be certain that Vieri will bag you 20 or 30 goals a season.

I always feel it is a sad sight to see a former great still play the game despite the fact he can no longer perform at the level he once did. Perhaps instead of selling himself to the highest bidder Vieri would be better off calling time on his career and preserving what is left of the memory of a man for whom scoring goals became second nature.

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