If they ever make a patron saint of the flukey goal, they should call him San Filippo. If there is an art form in scoring with every part of the anatomy imaginable then he is its Leonardo. Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore the 300 goals of Pippo Inzaghi.
It has been an amazing career for a man who has had many more lives than your average cat. His facial contortions as he takes a tumble in the penalty box have become the stuff of legend. And his ability to be in the right place at the right time is so uncanny that even experts in the paranormal are lost for an explanation.
It is a common insult of the school playground to dub someone a goal poacher. It implies a certain lack of effort in all other departments of the game other than popping up to tap the ball into the net. Inzaghi has taken it to a whole new level.
Yet there has to be more to his game than that surely? He scored the goals that gained Milan revenge over Liverpool in the Champions League Final. He is a bona fide World Cup winner. Your praise might be grudging, but it is nonetheless something he deserves. Inzaghi springs the offside trap like a master locksmith.
And, for a man with such a fragile frame, he shields the ball with the strength of Hulk Hogan. His precision in front of goal is football’s equivalent of keyhole surgery. Finally, of course, his ability to win vital penalties and free-kicks is totally priceless.
In many ways, Super Pippo is a symbol of Italian football. Disliked, reviled and generally belittled across Europe, he gets the job done. After all, he has got the trophies and the goals to prove it.