35-year-old ex-Middlesbrough striker Maccarone nets 5 in his last 4 games, they needed him at the weekend

Former Middlesbrough forward Massimo Maccarone is enjoying a mini-renaissance in Serie A.

Former Middlesbrough striker Massimo Maccarone can't stop scoring in Serie A.

At 35, the attacker has been like a player reborn over the past month, and has netted five times in his last four games.

The Italian scored twice to lead Empoli to a 3-0 home win over Chievo at the weekend to lift his side up to 14th in the table.

His agent told website Tuttomercatoweb the forward was delighted with his recent upturn in form.

Paolo Fabbri said: "He was very happy. He will try to remain on these standards as long as possible.

"I'm just sorry for the many criticism on him until a month and a half ago, Now he is showing his real value."

Maccarone has now seven goals this season, having netted just two in his first 12 games of the campaign. His goals have been the driving force for Empoli to pull out of the relegation zone.

A shining player in Italy's under-21 set up more than a decade ago, Maccarone was signed by Middlesbrough for £8 million in 2002.

He even won two international caps, but was not able to live up to high expectations. He eventually left in 2007 with his role in Boro's run to the 2006 UEFA Cup Final the highlight of his career at the Riverside.

Maccarone has played for Empoli since 2012, and while he may be in the final stages of his career, Middlesbrough could have done with the clinical finishing he displayed against Chievo during their 1-0 home loss to Leeds this past weekend.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch