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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Luca Toni

A year ago he was nobody. Today he’s leading Serie A by a mile in goals; Luca Toni is the new star in Italy. With 16 goals in 13 games so far this season the striker is leading all the European leagues in goals scored. That is more than Lampard at Chelsea and van Nistelrooy at Manchester United, Eto’o at Barcelona, Klose at Werder Bremena and Pedro Pauleta at PSG.

(A midfielder leading the scorers table in the Premiership must have heads scratching)

Fiorentina’s new starlet is making AC Milan’s (expensive) latest new signing Alberto Gilardino look ordinary on 8 goals, only ½ Toni’s total. Toni didn’t come cheap to the Florence club at 7m pounds but can you argue with that price tag now?

Toni’s exploits earned him his first international call up in 2004 against Iceland. Against the Netherlands earlier this month he made one of Holland’s top prospects in central defense look a fool. Attacking the goal Toni, at 193, is huge and as muscular as Inter’s Adriano, put down a tricky dribble and muscled his way past Ron Vlaar to score a superb goal. And Ron Vlaar is no small kid; the Dutch are the tallest people in the world on average but Vlaar was left looking for a shirt to grab as the steamship-Toni sailed past him.

Luca Toni made is Serie A debut in 2000 for Vicenza at age 23, that’s rather late. Today, aged 28 he’s no youngster either, but I rather like to see the late bloomers, we’ve become rather age obsessed with the young hot shots haven’t we?

Since 2000 Toni had previously played for Brescia and then Palermo where he scored 30 goals in their charge back into Serie A and a subsequent 20 in the clubs first season back in the top flight since the 70’s. There were doubters at Fiorentina when Luca Toni was splashed out for but a current 3rd place in the table compared to last season’s relegation battle has sent the critics looking for other fish to fry.

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