Ciro Immobile explained how he struggled to perform under Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and his relationship with the German coach.
An impressive breakthrough campaign in 2013/14 for Torino not only won Immobile his first Golden Boot in the Serie A, but led to several top European clubs to pursue him over the summer.
The Italian settled on an €18.50m transfer to Borussia Dortmund to replace the Bayern Munich-bound Robert Lewandowski. His prolific stats, on top of BVB’s need of a top goalscorer, set expectations alarmingly high.
He initially met them by embarking on a bright start to his Dortmund career, scoring four goals in six Champions League group-stage games in 2014/15.
But that proved to be the highlight of an otherwise disastrous stint under Jurgen Klopp, with Immobile bagging a measly three goals in 24 Bundesliga games.
“I think that I just moved to Dortmund at an inconvenient time as far as the team was concerned,” Immobile told Bild on his struggles.
“With Klopp, BVB became champions in 2011 and 2012 and then came second twice. After the first half of my season there, we were second from last in the Bundesliga.
“That meant young, foreign players being left out. I don’t think Klopp didn’t see any quality in me, but in this difficult phase he put more trust in players he already knew and could rely on.”
Dortmund crashed to a seventh-place finish, and Klopp left Signal Iduna Park at the end of the season. Immobile, on the other hand, parted for Sevilla before reviving his career back in Italy with Lazio later on.
Despite the way things played out, though, Klopp still left a lasting impression on the 30-year-old.
“Klopp leaves something behind for you. You don’t forget someone like him,” Immobile said on the now-Liverpool boss.
“I was lucky to be able to play under him. He’s a super emotional trainer. Someone for whom you fight for every ball.
“He demands that of you too, and you can see that in his behavior on the sidelines.”
Immobile won his third Serie A Golden Boot (aka ‘Capocannoniere’) with a record-equaling 36 goals in 37 games. He also beat Lewandowski to a maiden European Golden Shoe prize.
The former Juventus striker has since penned a new long-term deal at Lazio.