The current Serie A season has to be one of the strangest in recent times, even for calcio standards. Juventus, led by Massimiliano Allegri, who was deemed inept for the job at the start of the season, are running away with the league and are a step away from their first Champions League semi-final appearance in 12 years. On the other hand, fallen giants Inter Milan and AC Milan are struggling in mid-table with Rome-based clubs SS Lazio and AS Roma occupying the remaining two Champions League spots in the league.
Napoli and Fiorentina have been blowing hot and cold all season, while Sampdoria are the surprise package of the season fighting for a spot in Europe. At the other end of the table, Parma’s season has evolved from a disaster to a catastrophe.
Nevertheless, the talent on show at times has been world class with players such as Paul Pogba, Jeremy Menez, Carlos Tevez, Antonio Candreva and Franco Vazquez all shining. Still, it’s the veterans that have been stealing their fair share of headlines.
36-year-old Miroslav Klose and Antonio di Natale and Luca Toni have a combined league goal tally of 36 goals. Toni alone has scored a massive 42% of Hellas Verona’s league goals (this article is being written prior to Monday night’s fixture between Fiorentina and Verona). Moreover, 38-year-old Roma talisman Francesco Totti and 35-year-old Andrea Pirlo continue to show moments of undisputed brilliance.
Alongside such great names is Sergio Pellissier, the Chievo Verona striker whose goals over the past 13 years have kept the flying donkeys airborne in Serie A. Since 2001/2002, Chievo spent just one season outside Serie A. Pellissier’s 22 Serie B goals in that 2007/2008 season ensured a quick promotion back to the big time.
In 2009, Pellissier earned his first and only cap for Italy in a friendly match against Northern Ireland which ended in a 3-0 victory for the Azzurri. Fittingly, the author of the last goal was the man himself whose loyalty to Chievo earned him a small taste of international football.
Previously noted for his agility and pace, Pellissier has had to adjust his game as fresh blood, most notably in the form of Alberto Paloschi, has been instilled in the squad.
His vital late winning goal against Cesena a couple of weekends ago was impeccably executed. At the time of the cross from the right from Frey, Pellissier can be seen behind the defender on the second post. A quick run to the near post at the right moment caught his marksman and goalkeeper by surprise with his headed finish finding the top corner. All his years of experience as a striker was there for all to see in just a few seconds that decided the game. Remarkably, that goal came on the day of his 36th birthday.
Another vital goal followed on Sunday against Udinese in a 1-1 stalemate as the Gialloblu’s number 31 has rediscovered his goal-scoring touch at just the right time.
Over the past couple of seasons, Pellissier’s goals have somewhat dried up but having reached 91 Serie A goals – the same number as legends Marco Van Basten and Gianfranco Zola – the Chievo skipper is adamant that before retiring he reaches the 100 goal milestone.
Whether he manages to reach his aim or not, Pellissier will always be seen by Chievo supporters as the legend who kept them flying.
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