Lazio striker Ciro Immobile feels he owes Italy after some struggles at the international level, and he hopes to start repaying it back this Saturday against Greece.
The Azzurri can book their place at Euro 2020 with a victory at the Stadio Olimpico, and the 29-year-old is hoping he can play a key role in securing that spot.
“I owe a debt to Italy and I hope to repay it with interest both on Saturday and at Euro 2020,” he stated at a press conference on Tuesday.
“There’s nothing I want more than to establish myself with this shirt. Even when I scored 41 goals in a season I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it.
“Something was missing for me to be 100 percent happy, and that was the World Cup .
“I’ve been scoring goals in Serie A for years, but I want to also break some records with the Azzurri shirt.”
Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup remains a sore spot for the Lazio man, who admits his recent goal against Finland was liberating.
“It’s an open sore,” he added. “Especially for me, as I was scoring goals all the time.
“I won the Capocannoniere but I was only happy to a certain extent. I struggled with it for a year and a half as I thought I had to do more when I put on this shirt, but I had too much going on in my head.
“I have to thank [Roberto] Mancini for waiting for me. I made mistakes in some matches but the goal against Finland was liberating.
“Now I’m calmer and I see things differently when I’m with this team. We are doing well and want to win every match in order to be fully confident at the Euros.”
Immobile and Andrea Belotti are currently battling out for the position of starting striker, but he believes the competition is a healthy one.
“Competition is good as Gallo [Belotti] and I have a great relationship,” Immobile stated. “We are different, but competition is good for us and the team.
“It’s a tough spot as we are both scoring at this time. We know we have to improve our play team-play.
“Whoever plays, based on who is better suited for the match, the most important thing is that Italy win.”