By Dewa Nugraha
After picking up a disappointing defeat in their first league game, AC Milan opened their winning account this season with a hard fought 3-1 victory against Bologna thanks to Giampaolo Pazzini's hat-trick. Not only lifting the spirit of Milan's faithful, those goals from Pazzini apparently brought back some old memories of a certain legend, who just recently retired from the club and started his coaching adventure, Filippo 'Pippo' Inzaghi.
It wasn't the hat-trick that suddenly gives Pazzini that Pippo Inzaghi's correlation, but it was more about the process of those three goals that the ex-Inter Milan man scored. Converting a penalty that he controversially won, netting a simple strike after a goal keeping error plus deflecting a teammate's shot, all of those are the type of goals we normally saw from Pippo during his time at Milanello.
Starting out his career with Atalanta, Pazzini started to steal many talent scout eyes during his time with Italy under 21 side, especially after the friendly against England under 21 which the striker bag a hat-trick. However, in senior level, it took him quite a while before getting the spotlight as his days with Atalanta and Fiorentina didn't really worked out well. His move to Sampdoria in 2009 proves to be an important turning point for his career as that's when he finally managed to showcase his goal scoring potential.
Partnering with Antonio Cassano, Pazzini turned into a quality striker that finally attract attention from top clubs, notable in Italy as he also got his national team break during that successful time at Sampdoria. On January 28, 2011, Pazzini got his chance in playing for one of the big guns as Inter Milan signed him from the Blucerchiati for a deal worth €19 million in total. Pazzo actually had a nice debut half of season with Inter but uncertain situations at the club sort of stumbled his career with Nerazzurri.
After a rather poor second season and bad relationship with current Inter coach, Andrea Stramaccioni, Pazzini cross path to the other side of Milanello, making a sensationally controversial switch with his ex-Sampdoria partner, Cassano, who move to Inter instead. At first, many fans were questioning the reports suggested that aside from the trade, Milan also paid €7 million to acquire Pazzo's service.
Coming in as a substitute in Milan first game, the ex-Atalanta youth failed to make any significant impact but he made it up against Bologna with his hat-trick, that also earned him an immediate call up to the national team. Now, a tougher task is looming in front of Pazzo as Milanisti could be expecting much more from him, especially since there's still some serious doubt regarding Alexandre Pato's health situation.
Obviously it's still too early to tell whether Pazzini can be as important as Pippo at Milan, since the 28-year-old bomber is just starting out his season with the Rossoneri. Moreover, it should also be noted that Inzaghi wasn't actually a regular goal racking machine during his time at Milanello, but he was more of the guy you can count on in important situation and also big games.
Being influential in important games is something that not many player can achieve, but if Pazzini can keep his head in the right place, he might really be Pippo's heir that Milan fans are looking for. However, it's much more essential for the 28-year-old to just simply be himself and not trying to imitate anyone else. As long as he give all his best on the pitch, the fans will definitely recognize his effort.
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