MATTIA DESTRO: ZERO TO HERO
It was a very, very slow start to the season for Mattia Destro. Having been out for 5 months with damaged knee cartilage Destro needed another 3 months of the new season to finally recover and become ready to play once more. The young Italian struggled to score at all. In fact, up until February, the striker had scored a mere 1 goal in all competitions.
Then, finally, something clicked. Or so it seemed.
Destro scored in two consecutive games (including a vital strike against Inter) and some people thought that at last the youthful attacker’s season was going to be revived. The 4 cap Italian looked like his confident self that had done so well at Siena a few years ago. He didn’t score in his next 5 games, though, and the hype that had built up started to die down immensely.
This time, things really did click.
8 goals in his last 6 games say it all, really. The winner against Lazio in the Derby della Capitale, a wonderful ‘perfect hattrick’ against Chievo Verona, the opening goal in the Coppa Italia final against Udinese. Out of nowhere, Mattia had found his shooting boots in the most crucial moments.
Believe it or not, Destro has actually outscored Francesco Totti this season; the legendary captain has tallied 10 goals while his energetic counterpart has just scored his 11th (though of course Il Gladiatore also has a league leading 11 assists). There is no doubt that over these last three months Mattia has silenced a number of critics and become a cult hero at the Olimpico.
“I’m very happy that I’ve started to find the net toward the end of this season,” said Destro in an interview. “It’s my job to score goals and I hadn’t really been doing that much of the season. I’m very grateful to Francesco [Totti] for continuing to have faith in me and play me and now I hope I’ve started to pay back that faith.”
With Marco Borriello expected to depart this coming summer and Totti getting on in age and starting to focus more on managerial duties, Destro will certainly get more and more first team responsibilities. He may, however, come up against some stiff competition for places next season as he and Adem Ljajic may be joined by one of Aritz Aduriz or Christian Benteke.
Regardless of what happens, Mattia Destro has certainly proven his early season doubters wrong with an outstanding end to the season. Remember these last few months; we may have just witnessed the rise of an Italian star.