Roma: Edin Dzeko has blossomed into one of Europe’s top strikers
The Bosnian striker has led the Italian giants into a first Champions League quarterfinal in a decade and just like a fine wine, he is getting better with age.
Edin Dzeko has netted over 300 goals in his professional career. Few will have provided him with such satisfaction as Tuesday’s decisive winner against Shakhtar Donetsk.
The strike was significant for several reasons; it guaranteed a first quarterfinal slot for the Giallorossi in a decade and ensuring Serie A had two representatives in the last eight for the first time since 2007. On a personal level, it guaranteed Dzeko a first shot at this stage of the competition in his career.
In each of his last four seasons, the Bosnian’s sides have fallen at the last 16 stage of European competition; twice with Manchester City in the Champions League and then with Roma across both the UCL and the Europa League. His strike on Tuesday sealed progression and a platform for him to showcase his talents to a global audience.
Eyebrows may well be raised upon recognition that his goal against Shakhtar was Dzeko’s 66th strike in 126 outings for Roma, a return few could have imagined when he moved to the Italian capital in 2015.
Initially a loan deal, City sanctioned his sale at just under £9 million, a move which looks increasingly cheaper with each passing match.
When in Rome
Such has been his form for his current club, Chelsea identified him as their number one striking target for January and whilst a fee of £30 million was reportedly agreed, the player himself pulled the plug on any deal.
“I decided to stay in January because I want to be a part of these type of matches,” Dzeko explained to reporters after the match. The former Wolfsburg striker recently bought a house in Rome and stated the city and the club ‘are now part of my life’.
His first campaign at the club was far from spectacular, scoring only ten times in 39 appearances before exploding to form last season, where he netted a remarkable 39 times, with 29 in Serie A.
Earlier this season he became the first player to score in excess of 50 goals in three of Europe’s top five leagues, having previously passed the landmark in both Germany and England.
Weapons fit for a gladiator
His aerial threat, physical presence and superb technique is what attracted Chelsea so strongly to the 31 year old, providing the perfect profile to Antonio Conte’s ideal striker. Dzeko excelled at Stamford Bridge earlier in the campaign, netting a stunning volley and powerful header in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Chelsea.
He is equally adept with both feet and alongside his set-piece threat, is a handful for any defence and it is no surprise he scored with each foot and his head in a four-goal haul for City at Tottenham in 2011.
Roma may not be among the tournament favourites at this stage but with an in form Dzeko leading the line, they will be a handful for any side. This will not be the final chapter in an increasingly glittering career for the striker.
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