The Loss of Samba: Amauri Has Gone from Good Striker to Totally Useless

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IJanuary 29, 2010

The No. 11 jersey will always have a special place in the heart's of the Juventus faithful.

For eight years in the recently finished decade, Pavel Nedved was the man to wear that jersey. He embodied everything you wanted a Juventus player to be. He battled time and time again even when he wasn't at his best for the good of the cause.

You can't say the same about the man Nedved handed the No. 11 shirt over to, Amauri.

His transfer to Juventus was questioned from the minute the Old Lady's interest was declared and understandably so. Transfer fee of €22.5 million being spent on a position Juve were already more-than adequate and ignoring the fact other parts of the team was a little hard to believe. But Sporting Director Alessio Secco pulled the trigger on it anyways.

Amauri joined a team where Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet were both coming off career years as they finished one-two in the race to be Serie A's top scorer, Vincenczo Iaquinta was solid in his first year with Juve, and Sebastian Giovinco was on his way home after a season on loan at Empoli.

Despite all the commotion about the move and how much it will cost, Amauri agreed to his move from Palermo to Juventus after a long and drama-filled transfer saga.

When Trezeguet and Iaquinta went down with injuries, Amauri was more than able to fill the void in the team they left. In Juve's first 17 games of the 2008-09 Serie A campaign, Amauri scored 11 goals—most of them being game-winners. And he was scoring in almost every way possible—on the counter attack, in the air, or combining with teammates around the box.

Then, once the beginning of 2009 hit, Amauri began his downward spiral.

In the second half of the 2008-09 campaign, Amauri found the back of the net just once. The poor run of form saw him lose his starting place to Iaquinta and then that poor form has now stuck with him this year.

The once-heralded aerial prowess has disappeared. The ability to create on his own has faded away, much like Juventus' season. He is a complete shell of the player that was scoring almost every game in the first half of the 2008-09 season.

Again with Trezeguet and Iaquinta on the sideline with injuries, Amauri has had more than enough opportunities to get playing time. Instead of scoring like it's going out of style, he has only found the back of the net four times—all of those coming within the span of 11 days in October.

That's not exactly what you call executing what you are paid to do.

And it's not like he's a young striker going through a phase in his career that a lot of strikers go through. Amauri is going to be 30 come June. He has basically peaked in terms of his potential. There is no more room for him to grow.

Combine the lack of scoring and peaking in terms of potential with the continuous yapping at referees like a small dog does towards the mailman and pouting when he doesn't get the ball, and you have yourself a striker who has completely fallen out of favor with the supporters.

But the problem is, he has shown no sign of busting out of this slump that is now over a year old. If anything, his efforts become less and less as the games go by. Rather than the movement up top he once had, Amauri just stands even with the defense and waits for a teammate to send a through ball for him to run on to.

Translation—he is as static up top as it gets. It's not effective whatsoever.

Does he honestly thinks he has a shot to be a member of the Italian national team whenever he gets his passport?

Think again. Once Trezeguet and Iaquinta come back, he should be stuck on the bench for the remainder of the season. There's no reason for a striker who can't score to be playing any kind of consistent minutes.

If he is still starting, it'll be like Juve are playing a man down from the opening whistle. Not exactly what you call a winning formula.