By Ciro Immobile's standards on the Under-21 international level, the European Championships had been a rather quiet tournament for the striker who is currently co-owned by Juventus and Genoa. Maybe it was the fact he didn't have the best of season at Genoa, maybe something else. All we knew was that it wasn't the same kind of Immobile who had been scoring goals for fun in previous appearances in the Azzurrini kit.
But Immobile's moment of brilliance — with the help of an equally impressive assist from central defender Matteo Bianchetti — was one of the few bright spots in Italy's 4-2 loss to Spain in the championship game on Tuesday, a disappointing end to the Azzurrini's tournament run.
The goal was the perfect response to what was a woeful display of defending by the Azzurrini backline on Spain's opener. It took all of four minutes for Italy to get the equalizer, with Immobile beautifully controlling Bianchetti's ball over the top of the Spain defense and semi-chipping the onrushing David De Gea.
It was Immobile's first goal of the Under-21 Euros and, brace yourselves, the first time the 23-year-old striker had found the back of the net in ANY competitive game since Genoa's 1-1 draw against Inter on Dec. 22. No, seriously. It's the truth and nothing but the truth.
That's, uh, rough.
And because of it, Immobile has been regarded as more of a bargaining chip than a player who has a future in Turin. Is he bound to play at another club that isn't named Juventus next season? Probably. But for now, Immobile can hang his hat on the fact that he was able to put his tough first-full season in Serie A behind him and score one heck of a goal against the engine known as Spain.