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Rodrigo Palacio: A surprise package

671   //    30 Nov 2012, 08:43 IST

In the summer after over 12 months of rumours Rodrigo Palacio arrived at Inter for around 12 million euros, odd pony tail and all. After netting 19 goals for Genoa in 33 appearances which was his best season since his time at Boca in Argentina he made the move further North to Milano.

This move was met with much criticism, with most Inter fans saying that’s he’s not good enough, and some were only bothered by the price tag. Me, I doubted the price tag. It’s a lot of money for a player I saw as a squad player when we are short on cash and trying to re build. As I said many times in the summer, we have got some good youngsters and decent experienced players but not a lot in between. That issue was addressed quite well by Branca in the summer, with signings like Walter Gargano, Gabi Mudingayi, Alvaro Pereira and of course, Palacio.  I just thought the money spent on Palacio, a player in his 30?s was perhaps a little too much. Palacio goal return was not bad at all prior to his arrival.  At a club that is often struggling, he carried them on his own.

At Genoa he always seemed a handful for the opposition, always seemed to find space and time on the ball, happy to sacrifice himself on occasions and drop deeper and work for the team and go out wide and work the flanks. Palacio just seemed to always be a part of the goals at Genoa, scoring goals,  providing assists or just playing a key pass or move that changed the game.

After his performances in pre season, I found myself a little disappointed when he got injured.  So I was obviously excited to see his ponytail swing around as he banged in another goal upon his return.

So far Palacio has stepped onto the field in an Inter shirt 15 times and scored 10 goals and assisted two: not a bad return at all.

When he signed for Inter I thought he would be a good squad player that will be useful on occasions when he want to sacrifice a little talent for a bit of hard work. After only 15 appearances and a pre season I find myself eating my words, I am not saying I am suddenly going to grow a Palacio style tail in homage to the guy but I’m impressed and little excited to see him on the field.

I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way and it makes me ask, in a day an age where the media and fans love an attacking player, how did he become so underrated?

Palacio’s disciplined performances against Juve was good to see. He reduced the space allowed for Pirlo and seemed happy to do so and got a goal for his hard work. Palacio’s movement for his goal against Cagliari was impressive, obviously the ball from Cassano was key but be found the space, moved into it and finished.

With a player like this available to the team when the odd star player is having a strop or being a little greedy, Palacio could be the key to success. Any successful side needs a strong bench for rotation and to have a player that will come on and score and be key to the team or play that midweek match to rest others is perhaps 12 million well spent.

At this rate, if he keeps on going will this be his highest goal scoring season?

With goals also coming from the likes of Cassano and Milito there shouldn’t be much of a concern on the goal front. Perhaps the only problem we may have which has been evident of late is getting the ball forward to the front men and keeping it there

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