Scoring the fastest Serie A hat-trick in 17 years, beating Andriy Shevchenko, he has quickly become one of the best strikers in Europe, writes Sam May.
Belotti, 23, netted a seven-minute, second half quick fire treble in his teams 3-1 victory over Palermo. Shevchenko scored three times between the 69th and 76th minute for AC Milan back in 2000, during a freescoring spell in Serie A where the Ukranian bagged 117 league goals over a seven year period.
Scoring all three in a six-minute blast, Belotti helped his team to three points and took his goal tally to 22 Serie A goals for the season. The player has a €100 million release clause in his contract, which would potentially put off most suitors. However, if he continues in this vain of form, his release could be triggered by one of Europe’s elite.
He began his career playing for Gorlago and Grumellese, after failing to make the grade with Atlanta and later joined AlbinoLeffe. At 18, Belotti recalls when he wanted to party with friends but stayed in, following his father, who drilled it into him to that work ethic was key and would help him to reach to the top of football. It’s his relentless attitude – an attitude shaped by his family and background – that has underpinned his career path thus far. He has been likened to Gianluca Vialli by Alessio Pala, his former coach at AlbinoLeffe and Christian Vieri by Fabio Cannavaro.
Pala believes he would never of expected his former player to reach the top so quickly and lead the line for the Italian national team. Belotti failed to score in his first 10 games for Torino following his summer €7.5 million move in 2015, however a goal against Bologna in November changed everything. He has a stunning 24 goals in 27 appearances in all competitions.
Creating 39 chances, this is more than any other player in Italy. This sheer physical and mental force, also has a pass success rate of 78% which will only increase should he move to a bigger club in the future. With the shoulders of a professional boxer, a threatening aerial presence and a powerful style, Belotti’s game is reminiscent of the classic English centre-forward.
Arsenal had previously targeted the Azzuri international in January, lodging a £56 million bid, which was rejected. Expect a number of Premier League sides including both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool to interested. No doubt, the European giants will also be running the rule over the striker this summer.