On Sunday Edin Dzeko came off the bench to find the back of the net against Palermo – simultaneously securing the three points for the Giallorossi and notching his 30th goal of the 2016-17 campaign.
For the Bosnia & Herzegovina striker it was a notable milestone: he became just the fourth Giallorossi player in the club’s 90-year history to reach 30 goals in a single season … and it’s still only March!
The 30-year-old has a few months yet to add to his haul, and further write his name into the Giallorossi history books.
Here we take a closer look at his achievements so far...
The 30 Goal Club
Dzeko is just the fourth player to score 30 goals in a single season – forming a quartet of some of the most deadly players to wear the shirt.
Here is the complete list:
Rodolfo Volk (Italy)
32 goals in 1930-31
(in 35 matches)
Pedro Manfredini (Argentina)
32 goals in 1960-61
(in 40 matches)
Francesco Totti (Italy)
32 goals in 2006-07
(in 50 matches)
Rodolfo Volk was arguably the first great goalscorer in the club’s history, going on to score 103 goals in 157 games in the years following the club’s formation. Born in what is now Rijeka, Croatia (around 600km from Dzeko’s birthplace, Sarajevo), the tall, blond forward famously had the motto, “I don’t think, I shoot.”
He would hold the club’s all-time scoring record for much of its early history, until Roberto Pruzzo equalled him in the 1980s.
Manfredini, meanwhile, was an Argentina international who scored 76 goals in 130 games for Roma – with his 1960-61 season the most emphatic of all (helped by a run to victory in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup).
Totti, as many will probably know, won the European Golden Shoe in 2007 after his prolific campaign – during which he revealed as a ‘false nine’ in Luciano Spalletti’s innovative system.
Totti was widely praised for his interpretation of the role, a dramatic tactical shift that the Barcelona duo of Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi would later deploy to great effect.
Dzeko now joins them - and has a few months to score the three goals that would see him set a new club record for most goals in a season.
He will need a few more to break his own personal record - he scored 36 during the 2009-10 season with Wolfsburg.
Could Dzeko win this year’s Golden Boot?
Well, he’s certainly in the running, although he faces a fight on his hands from players both in Italy and in Europe’s other top leagues.
At the moment he is joint second in the Serie A Capocannoniere (top goalscorer) race, with 20 goals – level with Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi and two behind Torino’s Andrea Belotti.
Juventus’s Gonzalo Higuain and Napoli’s Dries Mertens are both on 19 – meaning it should be a tight race for the Italian golden shoe award over the final weeks of the season.
In the European Golden Shoe (which only counts domestic league goals) race, Dzeko sits seventh – three goals behind Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani are all also in the race.
How he has scored his goals...
The key statistics in brief:
- He has scored 15 goals with his right foot (one penalty), 13 goals with his left, and two with his head.
- His first goal came in his second game of the season - the 4-0 Serie A win against Udinese on Matchday 1.
- Dzeko has scored two hat-tricks this season – both in the Europa League. He put Viktoria Plzen to the sword at the Stadio Olimpico, and then followed that up with a memorable hat-trick against Villarreal at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
- Only Lionel Messi (11) has scored more than Dzeko's eight goals in UEFA competition this term.
- This season he scored in eight straight games (from the January 19 win over Sampdoria to the February 19 win over Torino) - a new all-time club record.
"At 30 years old, almost 31, I feel like this is the best season of my career. I definitely don’t feel my age: I’m in shape and ready, but it’s not a coincidence. I spend a lot of time before and after training to work."Scoring three goals in a match isn’t easy, so when it happens in Europa League I know I’ve done something special."
"Dzeko has started believing he's a top striker and that is a massive boost for us. He can feel the confidence of the club and his team-mates, who have improved with him and in turn fuel his confidence."Edin is an important player – he's had to suffer the judgements made about him last season. He's a smashing lad, loves the dressing room banter and trains well. He shows willing and he's humble, polite. He needed to discover his form. I told him that I had confidence in him and even flattered him a bit – that's necessary too."