In Batistuta's Footsteps: Luca Toni Joins Roma
Roma have this week announced the loan signing of Bayern Munchen's Luca Toni. The Italian had fallen out of favour with new coach Louis Van Gaal and been told to find himself a new club. His recent performances for Italy have seen him heavily criticised, but he remains one of world footballs most prolific strikers.
Following a two-year spell at Palermo where he scored 50 goals in 80 games, Luca Toni joined Fiorentina. His first season there he amassed 31 goals in the league, the most by a single player since 1959, and handing him the European Golden Shoe.
It also helped la Viola to the fourth spot, a return to the heights they last reached in the 1990's when "Bati-Gol" was firing them to success. He stayed only one more season in Florence, ending his stay with 47 goals in just 67 appearances.
He then moved onto Bayern Munchen, scoring at an amazing rate as FC Hollywood returned to winning ways, capturing the Bundesliga title as well as the German Cup. He ended the season with 39 goals in just 46 games, winning the scoring title in Germany as well as for the UEFA Cup. His second season saw the team struggle, yet he still added another 16 goals.
Now he has been forced out of the club by Van Gaal who never gave Toni a chance to prove himself, despite his record of 57 goals in 85 games. Rosella Sensi has put her faith in the striker, calling him "the most important signing of my era" as he joins Roma, treading once again where the Argentinian has walked before him. It also signals a definite end to the striker-less formations Roma has recently employed.
With Roma currently 11 points off top spot, can Toni inspire the Giallorossi in the same way Batistuta's arrival did? While the scudetto is probably beyond reach, a Champions League return would be most welcome in the capital. Toni will no doubt continue to split opinion, no matter how many he scores.
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