Nothing is as valuable to a football player as experience.
Ciro Immobile needed a year of transition to Serie A before he could blossom into one of Italy's most lethal strikers.
Following a debut campaign in the country's top flight in which he scored just five goals in 33 league appearances for Genoa and, after hearing criticism that he was not ready for the big time, Immobile has proved last season at Torino that he does have what it takes.
The 24-year-old has finished as the "capocannoniere", the top scorer in Serie A with 22 goals in 33 appearances and his performances helped Torino finish seventh in the standings and earned him a move to Borussia Dotmund this summer. He also made his senior Italy debut against Spain in March.
"Last season he struggled but Ciro has character," said Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.
"He has a striker's DNA and he has not been affected by negative experiences.
"Many said he wasn't ready for Serie A but now those critics praise him. He is doing very well."
The journey has not been easy.
Immobile joined Juventus in 2009 but had loan spells at Siena, Grossetto and Pescara.
It was at Pescara that his career began to take off.
He scored a Serie B record 28 goals to help Pescara finish top in the 2011-12 campaign and gain promotion before he joined Genoa.
"I will always remain a fan of Pescara," said Immobile.
"My time there was crucial to grow and improve as a player. It was my launchpad to top football." Immobile's hopes of playing for Juve, the club that had signed him at the age of 18 for 80,000 euros ($136,000), were dashed were dashed when the Italian giants sold part of his rights to rivals Torino last summer.
Immobile forged a potent attacking partnership with Alessio Cerci at Torino, with his teammate notching 13 goals and setting up 11 others in Serie A. Prandelli spoke during the season of Cerci's unselfishness and it was no surprise when he also made the squad.
The year has been so good for Immobile that the Neapolitan has surpassed Torino greats Paolo Pulici and Francesco Graziani with a single season record of goals.
Toro's all-time leading scorer Pulici and Graziani hand each scored 21 goals.
"To have overtaken two legends like Pulici and Graziani gives me great pride," said Immobile.
"I have worked so hard to reach this level but I never expected to have such a season and to lead the scoring charts.
"Our aim this season was for our fans to enjoy watching us play again and I think we have succeeded in doing so."
This article was first published on June 10, 2014.
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