So here's the thing. Inzaghi never seems to do anything. The greasy haired weaselly faced scrote is almost universally unappealling. He's gangly, ugly, vague, crap in the air, goes missing for huge chunks of many games, is a bit injury-prone and is no more than averagely skilful. He's whingy and divey and cheaty and unprepossessing. He is so offside so often that for one of my mates, offside became renamed as 'the Inzaghi position.' Watching him it's often easy to wonder what the point of him actually is.
Well, his career stats are 243 goals in 513 competetive games (that's just under a goal every other game). 127 goals in Serie A (Totti is top scorer currently playing in Serie A ) and a frankly astonishing European record of 58 goals (including both Champions' League and UEFA Cup).
He's like those guys you knew at University who were in the bar every night at 6 when it opened, played college football, cricket and darts 4 times a week, always seemed to be lounging around in the common room eating cheese toasties and watching Neighbours, but who sneakily managed to get all their work done and ended up with a Double First. Leaving you thinking: bastard! I thought you did bugger all! Or the girl in the office who's on the phone all day, gossiping in the kitchen, painting her nails, turns up late more often than not and spends far too much time reading popbitch, but still turns out to be the most productive person on the team. That's what Superpippo does: he cunningly conceals a fantastic goalscoring record under the appearance of total ineffectitude.
Cruyff famously said "He can't actually play football at all, he's just always in the right position." Well, maybe that says more about Cruyff than about Inzaghi since being always in the right position isn't like some kind of footballing star sign or birth mark, it's a skill, and one he has worked at. What Inzaghi has may not be instinctive genius or amazing facility with the ball like the Ronaldinhos or C. Ronaldos of this world; and he'll never be as entertaining to watch as them, or his team-mate Kakà, or Totti for that matter. But he has a great understanding of the game, an ability to make runs and find spaces and move around when he doesn't have the ball so as to create opportunities many people would have never seen. He's a classic Arsenal type, in that he's happy to win ugly, and score ugly too. With his knee, shin, shoulder, elbow, arse. A goal's a goal.
It's nearly exactly 10 years since his debut in Azzurro, in which time he's scored 23 goals in 53 appearances. Which compares acceptably to Del Piero and Baggio (both 27) and Christian Vieri (also 23) though he's unlikely to ever compare to Gigi Riva (35). He's just earned a recall to the Nazionale, based doubtless in part on his Athens performance, and the general consensus has been that Donadoni is right to do so. The two away games (Faroes - or Far Oer as the Italians put it & Lithuania) next week are must-win matches if we're to qualify for Euro 2008. Lucarelli, Quagliarella, Di Natale, Del Piero and Rocchi are the other attackers called up. Speriamo bene. It's hard to say, based on the other options, that Inzaghi doesn't deserve his place.
Inzaghi: I don't like him and I never will but I am forced to say, he's fucking good at what he does. And if he had spent the last 6 years at Roma not only would I certainly love him but we might have had a more successful time.