Luca Toni is renowned and feared in Europe as being one of Italy’s most prolific strikers ever. In his first season at Fiorentina, the prolific striker scored an incredible 31 goals, making him one of the most prolific Serie A strikers of all time (the most goals ever scored in a season being 35). The renowned Luca Toni however, is in danger of missing the 2010 World Cup in South Africa this summer.
Udinese’s Antonio di Natale, Fiorentina’s Alberto Gilardino, Genoa’s Raffaele Palladino, Sampdoria’s Giampaolo Pazzini, and Villareal’s Giuseppe Rossi have moved past Toni in the national team’s pecking order, as became evident when Marcello Lippi announced the Squaddra for the oncoming international fixtures versus Holland and Sweden.
The current season so far hasn’t been a fortuitous one for the 2006 World Cup gold medalist. After battling an achilles-tendon injury during pre-season and the initial stages of the new season, Toni has failed to re-claim his position as FC Bayern’s main striker.
Instead, his first matches after his injury were not played in Bayern’s impressive Olympiastadion, but for Bayern II in the Third Bundesliga, against opposition like Erzgebirge Aue and Jahn Regensburg. In the few games he played for the first team, he was usually a substitute and has so far failed to produce a goal. His last Bundesliga goal dates back to May 16, when he scored the winner against Hoffenheim.
His poor form and lack of recent first team action have endangered his position in the national team and it looks like Luca Toni is now panicking and trying to force his way back into the FC Bayern starting line-up.
That would to some extent explain his erratic behavior from last weekend, where he stormed out of the stadium after manager Louis van Gaal pulled him off the pitch at half-time during FC Bayern’s 1-1 draw with Schalke.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Italian’s actions will get him more playing time or if they will result in a forced early exit from Munich.
The latter option seems more likely, as Toni wants first team action to ensure he can travel alongside his national team comrades to South Africa for the oncoming World Cup. He would neither be the first nor the last international to force a transfer this way in a pre-World Cup season.