The 35-year-old had scored in each of his last three appearances, and he opened his Week 24 account shortly after the restart in Tuscany. Peeling off his marker in the box, the former Italy international found the right blend of power and precision to blast a finish beyond Albano Bizzarri.
Having scored 16 times in his debut season for the Azzurri, then-Rossonero Coach Fatih Terim was reportedly keen to resign Maccarone, only for his club to offer €1m less than Empoli in the co-ownership blind auction. Disappointing it may have been, but it would only prove a minor setback.
With the points in the bag against relegation rivals, Empoli’s fourth match in a row without defeat and the continued rebirth of their prodigal son, Maccarone was hooked off to a standing ovation from his own supporters. However, it could have all been so different for him.
Since then365足球论坛, his career – that of a journeyman – has been filled with successes and failures in equal measure. While he established himself as a competent goalscorer at Siena for four seasons, he struggled to establish himself at Palermo and was constantly played out wide at Sampdoria.
However, a return to Empoli has rejuvenated Big Mac, with last season’s haul of 18 goals a joint-career best with the numbers he posted at the club in 2001-02. His shooting and finishing ability has never been disputed, but he is now mixing it with a new-found consisthg娱乐棋牌ency at the highest level.
A lucrative £8m – around €12m – transfer looked to be the start of something special for Maccarone, who had just broken into La Nazionale, but barring his freak UEFA Cup exploits in 2006, a spate of injuries and overall failure to adjust to the demands of English football meant he never lived up to his potential.
Another double-digit campaign ensued, and Maccarone’s increasingly-dynamic strike partnership with Antonio Di Natale had begun to flourish as Empoli were promoted to Serie A. Sadly for them, the pair never starred together in the top flight, and Middlesbrough came calling for the hitman.
They say you should never go back in football, but it seems Massimo Maccarone is the exception to the rule.
Maccarone then netted his brace just past the hour mark, this time offering an outlet on the break as he sup新二娱乐网ported Matias Vecino with a strong run to the Argentine’s right, received the ball in the area and picked out the bottom-left corner of the net with a powerful, low strike.
A Milan youth product, the attacker bided his time in the lower reaches of the Italian League pyramid, hitting 20 goals in his only season with Prato in 1999-2000 to help them achieve promotion to Serie C2, before shooting to prominence with Empoli in the years which followed.
Of course, one good season in Serie A doesn’t make or break a player, but with Maccarone showing he can still cut it against the likes of Roma and Milan, the Empoli vice-captain is making a fine case to challenge both Alvaro Morata and Mauro Icardi as Italy's form striker.
Back in Serie A with Empoli this season, the ageing striker has enjoyed an Indian summer alongside fellow veteran Francesco Tavano, with five goals in his last four matches, but his most impressive performance came during the new boys’ 3-0 victory over Chievo on Sunday, where he .