Ciao tutti…an interesting read for lunch time….and google Errol Flynn, what a canny lookalike. â€œOn comes Turinâ€™s Errol Flynn,â€ quipped the ESPN commentator in seeing Juventus striker Marco Borriello preparing to be introduced as a substitute during his sideâ€™s Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Milan last month.
Sporting a neatly-cropped, swept back hairstyle matched with a fine-trimmed pencil moustache, the comparison was most notable for the resemblance between Flynn and Borriello, but it wasnâ€™t just for that.
Married three times, a reputation for womanising and with a string of controversies related to his personal life, Flynn is perhaps as remembered in Hollywood for his personal life as for his movie star status in the first half of the 20th Century.
Approaching 30 and on a run of just two goals scored from his last 35 appearances in all competitions across the past 14 months, Borriello â€“ during perhaps his last chance at a big club â€“ is also threatening to be remembered more for activity undertaken off the pitch, than for any achieved on it.
Since arriving in Turin during the January transfer market in a move that angered more Bianconero fans than it pleased â€“ Borriello had reportedly turned down a very similar opportunity some 18 months prior â€“ the striker has yet to end a desperate run of form on the pitch.
His latest opportunity to win over the black and white support and indeed prove his worth to those considering making the move permanent came in Week 30â€™s home game with Napoli. Having watched Milan drop two points the evening before, this match represented a significant chance to climb right back into the title race. That it was against the side that posed significant questions in the reverse fixtureâ€™s 3-3 draw earlier in the season and that they would face in Mayâ€™s Coppa Italia Final meant that it would be a match to sort the men from the boys.
That it was Leonardo Bonucci and Arturo Vidal who took the first two goals of the night was perhaps most apt, in capping not only fine individual performances themselves, but also a less-than influential one for their teammate Borriello. That Mirko Vucinic was applauded off when being subbed when Borriello was whistled and that substitutes Alessandro Del Piero and Fabio Quagliarella instantly combined for a memorable third somewhat compounded the matter, and really did leave the No 23 as the only negative mark of the night.
For a player an inch above six foot, with broad shoulders and weighing a hefty 73 kilos, Borriello represents a physical threat to defenders â€“ and more of one than any of Antonio Conteâ€™s other forwards, perhaps explaining his initial selection on the night. He has the potential to wrestle his way past defenders, to occupy a threat from set-pieces, to provide an option with a well-timed run in the box or to make space for his teammates. However, none of that was on show last night, nor has it been in consistent bursts for the past year.
In a game dominated by Juveâ€™s defence â€“ that restricted Napoli to five attempts at goal, none of which were on target â€“ and its midfield â€“ that through Claudio Marchisio and Vidal had movement and discipline in both phases of play â€“ the Bianconeri visibly struggled to understand their teammate, who should otherwise be an ideal reference point.
The fact that in 20 minutes Quagliarella managed half as many touches as Borriello did in the previous 70 â€“ and that Del Piero also did in just seven minutes played â€“ highlighted the inability of the Juve players to involve only Borriello. It is a statistic that is echoed through previous appearances this season. Against the Vesuviani in a team performance that was otherwise top level, for Borriello there were few crosses on his line of run, few times did teammates pass to him when he came short and not once did Andrea Pirlo loft a ball over a high Napoli back-line for a type of chance that is a characteristic provision for the likes of Alessandro Matri and the on-running midfielders.
There has been a long-standing theory about Borriello as to why Milan released him to Roma in 2010 that may also explain this inability to get involved at Juve â€“ that he simply cannot cut it at the highest level. For instance, when in the running for a spot in Marcello Lippiâ€™s Italy squad with some sharp form for the Rossoneri in 2009-10, it was pertinent to note the few times his goals came in games against top-of-the-table sides.
Borriello has remarkably often found himself with the kind of chances to prove such doubts wrong â€“ when Milan, Roma and Juve have needed another option, they have all turned to him in recent seasons. Yet, as his performance on the pitch last night highlights, when under pressure, he has so far failed to deliver. Until that changes, his achievements off the pitch, where he seemingly is delivering under pressure, will continue to grab more attention.