Rodrigo Palacio has always been dynamic. From his early days at Huracán- Tres Arroyos to an incredible run at Boca Juniors where he became one of the most sought after jewels (therefore his nickname) of Argentine football at the time. His final days at Boca were mired in a scoring malaise where his confidence was affected greatly and that helped in his significant drop in form.
Palacio could have gone to a big European club, but the reality of that form seemed to have dealt him a cruel hand. Between his stock falling that final season as fast as his scoring and confidence, being in the relative anonymity at Genoa despite still offering some interesting numbers in his three seasons there.
This third season we are seeing him now truly emerge as a top goal scorer in Serie A. Yet at 30 years of age, Palacio is now one of the biggest threats in the league and is doing the greatest amount of damage to the opposition with the most minimal amount of support. His 15 goals in 24 matches makes him one of the most dangerous offensive options in all of Serie A. Unfortunately for Palacio, he is the only offensive threat that has been effective in the first two-third of the season. What makes matters worse is that the former Boca man is one of the players that is most depended by his team to score.
As a matter of fact, Palacio is the lone bright spot in a side that finds itself in an eight-match winless streak. He’s been the team’s leading scorer during this dry spell with three out of the last six goals they have only been able to muster up during this malaise. Porto loanee Fernando Belluschi has seen limited playing time. What is worst is that Genoa have one of the worst defenses when it comes to conceding goals allowing a whopping 51 so far this season.
Alberto Gilardino was supposed to be one of the main contributors to the club when he was sold by Fiorentina during the winter transfer market. Since his arrival all that he has to account for his four-and-a-half year deal. But it was Palacio’s goal in the final minutes of the encounter that helped his side obtain a point against Fiorentina last round.
So much is the Genoa dependency on the Argentine that you see his numbers stacked alongside some of the other leading goalscorers in the league and you his importance to the squad. Amongst the top ten scorers in Serie A, Palacio ranks third in percentage of goals he scores for his team (40.5). He is only surpassed Udinese’s Antonio Di Natale and fellow Argentine Germán Denis of Atalanta.
LEADING SCORERS: DEPENDENCY AND SUPPORT
Of course his numbers have opened a lot more eyes that were opened when he first arrived. Many forget that Inter was looking to obtain his services last summer as soon as there was talk of Samuel Eto’o departing to Russia. That move never came to fruition although his name could be mentioned by many sides come this summer despite Enrico Preziosi being quite adamant about wanting to see Palacio remain a Rossoblu for the long term. That could be easier said than done.
Even more obvious is the desire to Preziosi to want to keep him on board at the club. Palacio is the biggest goalscorer the club has had since Diego Milito terrorized defenses for the club just three years ago before moving over to Inter.
His stats leave no doubt that he deserves a callup from Alejandro Sabella. What they don’t tell you though is how much this club needs him in order to keep fighting for a spot in the top flight for the long term.
Now the big question is will Palacio be willing to take his fight further up in the table- at another club? He knows that he just might have to do it in order to have a chance to play in World Cup qualifying play as well as maybe in Brazil. This is the dilemma he will have and the drama will be very interesting to watch during the summer.