Juventus ace Amauri will never forget Palermo
After a scratchy start, Amauri has proven Juventus' sometimes reluctant moneymen they were right to fork out over £14 million to Palermo for his signature last summer. The centre-forward began the season slowly, but with the turn of the year has firmly established himself as one of Europe's brightest new attacking talents. Tall, powerful and mobile, Amauri is being compared favourably with Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bayern Munich's Luca Toni. His move to Juve has raised his profile and with that, greater admiration from Europe's biggest clubs.
But at 28, Amauri is happy to keep his feet on the ground. The striker's career has been a slow-burn, knocking about Italy's lower leagues before winning his move to Palermo in 2006. It was in Sicily where his career finally took off - and he's always quick to turn the conversation to the Rosanero when in the middle of interviews.
"I always say the same thing and that is because it is the truth: I am grateful to everyone at Palermo and I thank them for everything, even for the reception when I came back with Juventus," said Amauri. "I will always keep everyone connected to the club close to my heart.
"Of course I knew they would have a good season," continued the striker, "absolutely.
"They have signed a coach who is doing tremendous things and giving new belief to players who last year played only a few times. I believe in and I am happy for Palermo, the city and the club that have given me so much and that I follow with my heart.
"You talk about Ballardini, we can see his value with how well Fabio Simplicio is playing. Simplicio is thriving in his new position in midfield and Ballardini has given him a new sense of self-belief.
But apart from the way he's playing, I'm happy that Fabio, among other things, will become a father for the second time. With him, we often speak to eachother, in fact we have a pact that whoever scores on the weekend must call the other one during the week."
On another former teammate, Edinson Cavani, Amauri says the young Uruguayan has all the ability to eventually lead the line at Palermo - just as he did for two years.
"This is a player who can make the difference anywhere on the pitch, both on the right or left. He is very, very generous in the way he helps the midfielders and this is important. I am glad for Edy.
"Initially, when I went away, everyone would ask me if Cavani would be capable of replacing me and I have always said that Palermo had a player capable of remarkable things. I am really happy for him and I hope he can still improve because he has some truly extraordinary talent."
Amauri also admits he misses playing alongside Fabrizio Miccoli, despite his developing partnership with Juve captain Alessandro del Piero.
He said: "Miccoli and Del Piero? These are two very great players. Alex for the continuity of all these years, has always proved to be a great champion, Fabri, beyond friendship which binds me to him, I have always said that he is probably the strongest player with whom I've played alongside.
"Fabrizio has some truly extraordinary talents, the only regret is that unfortunately the injuries have not allowed him to play like last year when we had a fantastic season together, but I can safely repeat that he is the best player with whom I have ever played."
Italy coach Marcello Lippi has declared this week that Amauri will be the last 'Oriundo' to be considered for the Azzurri.
Lippi caused controversy when he suggested Amauri would be welcomed once his Italian citizenship process is completed.
"It is wonderful that so many players have Italy ambitions, but we are focusing only on the Italians, who are numerous and talented," Lippi said.
"Every week I seem to hear a new name ready to come forward."
For his part, Amauri is refusing to declare whether he will commit to Italy or Brazil - and instead is only focusing on recovering from a thigh injury.
"I am not thinking about the Azzurri jersey. I am just focused on the Juve jersey and recovering from my injury," said Amauri. "We will see later about the other things."
- Courtesy Mediagol.it.