Ciro Immobile believes Lazio’s new playing style will help him with the national team but complains about criticism on social media: ‘I didn’t get the same treatment as others.’
The Lazio forward is expected to start against Switzerland at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday in a key World Cup qualifying match.
“We all want to take part in the World Cup. Everybody wants it so much. After what happened in 2017, there can’t be another end,” Immobile said at a press conference attended by Football Italia.
“It’s special to play in the stadium where I usually wear the captain’s armband,” he continued.
“I want to be the starting striker at the World Cup. It’s my objective and my target and I will give my all to achieve it.
“I dreamt of becoming a footballer, winning the Euros, the Golden Boot. My mum always says I am stubborn and I always want to win. Maybe that’s not a good thing for my wife, but it’s good for my career.”
Immobile has become the best goal-scorer in the history of Lazio, but still gets a lot of criticism when he plays for the Azzurri, especially on social media.
“Criticisms are part of the game with this shirt, I always try to give my best with Italy and Lazio,” Immobile said.
“I can’t deny that I suffer sometimes, my figures here are not the same as the ones at Lazio, but it’s impossible to have the same. We play 7-8 games a year with the national team. I’d like to score the same amount of goals here.
“Sometimes I am sorry because I don’t get the same treatment as others. Sometimes it seemed that I wasn’t part of the team that won the Euros. I know I need score more goals, but I am happy about my performances, as long as the team win I am happy.
“I need to be treated, feel at the centre of the project, but the same goes for all footballers. Here, Mancini and his staff always try to understand what I need to be at my best. In September, the coach told me: ‘Remember you are the champion of Europe, you don’t need to prove anything.’
Immobile is the best scorer in Serie A right now, with 10 goals in 11 appearances. How is he adapting to Maurizio Sarri’s playing style?
“It’s a new playing style and it’s helping me with the national team. I don’t play with another striker next to me and the same happens with the national team. Sarri tells me I could score more goals because I attack the area always in the same way.
“We are trying to play as he wants, we struggled a bit at the beginning, but now we are succeeding. At the beginning, I asked him if I was a problem for the team, he said no.
“I am grateful to my Lazio teammates for helping me become the best striker at the club and it was great to receive the award from Lazio fans.”
Immobile was part of the Azzurri squad when Sweden eliminated them from the World Cup play-offs in 2017.
“I will try to give my best for the next two games. I know these games are important, we need to reach the target as we’ve always done,” the 31-year-old said.
“I’ve deleted the game against Sweden from my mind, it’s useless to have tension before these games.
“It will be a tough game, they press a lot, but we played a good game in Basel. We created a lot, but we need to improve the finishing. We played a good game over there, against an important team.”