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Diego Alberto Milito: El Principe

Posted by David Schiavone Monday, May 24, 2021

Diego Alberto Milito has written himself into the history books of Italian football, the cool, calm and collected Argentinean bagged a brace in the Champions League Final to sink Bayern Munich and take Inter to their first European Cup success for 45 years. Added to the winner he scored in the Coppa Italia Final and his Scudetto clinching goal, it is almost unanimous that Milito is the most dependable and clinical striker anywhere in Europe.

He began his goal scoring exploits with Racing Club in Argentina, where he one the Apertura title in 2001, he then attracted the interest of Genoa, then playing in Serie B. Fifty nine games and Thirty three goals later he was on the move once more, as Genoa were relegated to Serie C1 after an alleged match-fixing scandal. He joined his brother Gabriel at Real Zaragoza in Spain.

The goals never dried up and he ended his first year as Real Zaragoza's top scorer with 16 goals in La Liga. Not long after he was made club captain when Gabriel departed for Barcelona.

Milito was one of the top scorers in the La Liga 2006-07 season. He scored 23 goals, two less than the top goalscorer Ruud van Nistelrooy and three behind European Golden Boot winner Francesco Totti. His goals helped Zaragoza to a sixth place finish in the league.

When Zaragoza were relegated at the end of the 2008 season, Milito chose to move back to Genoa, on 1st September. He even rejected a number of major European clubs and more lucrative contracts to return to il Grifone.

His return sparked an upturn for the oldest club team in Italy, his goals propelled them to the upper echelons of Serie A, he was averaging over one goal every two games. A phenomenal strike rate and in the end came second to Capocannonieri, Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2009.

Internazionale were watching ‘El Principe’ closely and swooped for the hitman last summer in a deal valued at €22 million, but he did leave Genoa with a heavy heart as he wrote an open letter to the fans, and in it said, “Now we leave each other, I hope with a smile and affection that has become love, at least that's what I feel.” A humble and honorable man, but he had one last crack at the big time and rightly took it.

A break out season at the age of 30 is almost unheard of, but Milito has proved he can score goals at every level. He not only tallied 32 goals in all competitions, it was the importance of these goals that is so special.

An 85th minute winner against Fiorentina in November; scoring in both Milan Derbies, but his contribution in the final furlong was immense. Not to mention the tremendous work-rate and effort he exudes, his performances against Barcelona in the Champions League were immense, scoring what turned out to be the winner, he collapsed with cramp after 60 minutes of the first leg such was his application and willingness to give everything for this side.

He may not be mesmerising like Messi, but if presented with a chance to score he almost always does. Vision, technique timing but most importantly he possesses that rarest of traits only top strikers enjoy, that is composure in front of goal.

A provincial hero has well and truly entered the realms of Calcio royalty.

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