Ciro Immobile opened up about his goalscoring struggles with the Italian national team, his possible Azzurri retirement and how he reacts to the various criticisms he receives.
The 32-year-old Lazio star has often been blamed for Italy’s struggles in front of goal in recent years, with many fans frustrated that he’s failed to replicate his incredible club form for country. Despite Immobile’s struggles, he’s still an important part of Roberto Mancini’s squad and will continue playing for the national team for the time being.
Speaking in a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Immobile first discussed his hunger to contribute to the Azzurri.
We had to put a stop to it. I understood that it couldn’t be the others who decided my retirement. Thanks also to the club, I decided that I still had a lot to give.
The World Cup is far away, my age is certainly advancing, but if my condition is like this I know I can still give something.
He opened up about why he considered retiring from the national team and why he chose to stay.
For the disappointment of not qualifying for the World Cup and for the very strong criticism. Those are two things that mark you.
However, as the weeks went by I realised that it couldn’t be others who decided my path, who decided to retire instead of me. Of course, these things mark you, they make you think.
Who convinced me? I think Mancini never had any doubts about my retirement, I talked a lot about it with my family and in the end I decided to continue.
The 32-year-old striker commented on the talented youngsters breaking into the Italy team.
Scamacca, Pellegri, Pinamonti.. Raspadori has already won the European Championship with us and I already consider him a half veteran.
Gianluca has decided to go to the Premier League, a difficult choice and we must give him time. They have to score with their clubs and then have confidence with the national team too.
He considers himself a leader in the squad and a point of reference for his teammates.
Yes and I also feel obliged to give something to the squad, on and off the pitch. That’s what I carry with me. This generational change is taking place with so many young people and Italian football needs something more, it has to start from us.
I thank the coach for his words. I’ve worked my way up through the ranks and the youngsters of today have to start doing that, I started from Sorrento and I’ve done the whole journey.
Today because of the pressure on young people we speed up this path and don’t give them time to grow.
We have to give young people time and a way to express themselves, it’s probably a bit easier at club level. We must have a little more patience.
Immobile discussed why he scores less with Italy compared to his exploits with Lazio.
On the formation I’d say that for me nothing changes, whatever the coach chooses is more than fine with me. On the first question, I ask myself this almost every day….
Why do I score less? Maybe at Lazio I have more margin for error and it’s a pity that I’ve won four goalscoring awards and then with the national team I score less.
I ask myself this every day because I always want to improve and give my best, sometimes wanting to overdo it leads you to make big mistakes.
He touched on the criticisms sent his way in recent years.
I know they’re part of our world. The eye sometimes goes there, but you have to be balanced in your decisions. There has been criticism not only for me but for everyone.
A limit to social media criticism? It’s a wonderful world, but sometimes it destroys you in the true sense of the word. You have to be a bit more balanced in your judgements.
What happened to Acerbi, for example, went beyond that.
The 32-year-old felt the trust of Mancini despite the fans’ feelings.
I have always felt trust. The criticism didn’t bother me so much, but being credited as the striker who didn’t qualify for the World Cup and not the one who won the European Championship.
I don’t like this diversity of views, it’s a bit funny, but you accept this too and move on.
He spoke about Lazio’s progress this season under Maurizio Sarri.
We are in a good position in the table, we lost a few points but we are doing well. The next step will have to be one of mentality, of growth, we are scoring less but we have more points than last year and a defence in place.
Now we have to fix the Europa League after the last false step.
Immobile commented on Italy’s drop after winning Euro 2020 last year.
When a team wins they must immediately be good at regaining enthusiasm and today that’s a bit lacking. Probably the arrival of new players, the confirmation of the coach and all the staff, must give us confidence and morale.
We need some enthusiasm, which is lacking at the moment because the World Cup is coming up and we won’t be there.
He looked ahead to the next World Cup in 2026.
Yes, it’s one of the goals I have set myself. I have always been someone without limits, I always try to move forward and look to the future with confidence and positivity. This has pushed me to do exceptional things in addition to my technical qualities.
That’s why I can’t explain these moments of mine in the national team, that’s been the difficulty in recent years. At Lazio I couldn’t do any more, unfortunately in the national team the numbers are lower, but even here I have always given my best.
The 32-year-old discussed Lazio’s ambitions in Serie A.
This also ties in with my thoughts. As captain I can’t shout we’ll win the Scudetto, but every year I have this fixed thought when I start training camp. I have this mentality, I like to reach the maximum. I believe that a player and a man must always aspire to the maximum.
I’m not saying Lazio will win the Scudetto for sure, but we’re a growing team and the fight will be very open this year.
He spoke about some of the difficulties that strikers face.
A striker must have more consistency than in other roles and having consistency means scoring lots of goals all the time, a striker must score lots of goals all the time.
It’s better to have five 15-goal seasons than one 30-goal season, then if you have five 25-goal seasons then that’s the best. I always look at the best who always score goals.
Young forwards must set themselves this goal, to always score goals and in today’s football to be able to help the team.
He discussed Italy’s infamous game at San Siro in the disastrous World Cup play-off loss to Sweden and the upcoming Nations League match against England.
Yes, unfortunately given the personal precedent of Italy-Sweden we don’t have good memories… I expect a tough match against England.
It’ll be for them one of the last matches of preparation for the World Cup, but we know we have to give something to our people who are disappointed for the missed qualification.
Immobile spoke about the importance of restoring faith in the Italian national team.
The national team in difficult moments has been a point of unity for everyone, during the European Championship we saw how Italy united.
We have to start from there, the Italians must have that memory in their minds and have faith in us.
This is an important starting point without forgetting the disappointments, which inevitably make us stronger.
Finally, Immobile spoke about the Azzurri call-ups for Mattia Zaccagni and Ivan Provedel.
I think the coach has made choices, I don’t know if they are related to what happened in June. I saw Zaccagni at the training camp and he told me about a physical problem in June….
There was a bit of controversy, but it’s madness to think that someone would want to run away from Coverciano.
I saw Provedel’s eyes when the call-up arrived and it reminded me of me when my first call-up arrived.