Evergreen striker Luca Toni capped another remarkable season in Italy’s top flight but was stopped from snatching sole possession of Serie A’s ‘Capocannoniere’ top-scorers’ award by Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi on Sunday.
Toni, a 2006 World Cup winner who notably played for Fiorentina (twice) and Bayern Munich in his storied career, scored for Verona in a 2-2 draw with champions Juventus on Saturday to take his tally to 22 goals for the season.
It put Toni, at the age of 38 and five days, two goals clear in his quest to become oldest top scorer in Italy since 35-year-old Dario Hubner scored 24 goals for Piacenza in 2001-2002 to share the prize with Juventus striker David Trezeguet.
But Inter Milan striker Icardi had other ideas, scoring twice in a 4-3 win over Empoli a day later to pull level on 22 goals and clinch a share of the spoils.
Considering Toni and Icardi finished with two more goals than Juventus striker Carlos Tevez, neither are likely to complain.
“It’s a great end of the season for me,” said Icardi, although with Inter and AC Milan failing to qualify for Europe next season the Argentine has hinted he could be tempted elsewhere.
“I didn’t expect to win (a share of) the title, but I always train hard and tonight the lads tried to set me up as much as possible.”
But it is Toni, who last year finished runner-up to Ciro Immobile, who has attracted the plaudits nine years after a 31-goal haul for Fiorentina ended a 47-year wait to see a player score more than 30 goals in Italy’s top flight and handed him his maiden Capocannoniere.
Toni’s 2006 feat secured his place in Italy’s World Cup squad and the big centre-forward notably scored twice in a 3-0 quarter-final win against Ukraine before Italy went on to beat Germany and France to clinch their fourth World Cup.
Toni’s international career, in which he scored 16 times in 47 appearances between 2004 and 2009, did not live up to his and others’ hopes however the veteran continues to show the league’s big spenders and younger strikers how to hit the back of the net at club level.
But despite finishing second behind Immobile last year and sharing the award with Icardi on his second season with Verona, Italy team bosses remain unimpressed.
Italy manager Antonio Conte left Toni out of his 34-man squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia and friendly with Portugal.