If Carlo Ancelotti was trying to give Fernando Llorente a perfectly timed confidence boost before Napoli’s Champions League clash with Liverpool in September 2019, the tactic worked perfectly.
A summer signing from Tottenham Hotspur, it took the veteran Spaniard just 46 minutes to open his account in baby blue.
Llorente put the finishing touches on a famous 2-0 win over the then-reigning European champions at a raucous Stadio San Paolo, reacting to a rare mix up in the visitor’s defence to clip home a ruthless stoppage-time finish.
“Llorente is here because he can be useful to us, he is an excellent striker,” Ancelotti said in his pre-match press conference, three hours before the striker was hailed a hero by arguably Italy’s most passionate fanbase (Tuttomercatoweb).
“But there is the risk of confusing him (as a one-dimensional target man). Llorente, while being tall, is a footballer. He is one who is complete.”
The fact Llorente swept a clinical shot into Liverpool’s net with his right foot rather than his head only made Ancelotti’s comments look even more profound.
And, after James Rodriguez and Allan were unveiled at Goodison Park, reports in Italy have linked Everton with another Ancelotti favourite.
AreaNapoli believes that, at 35, Llorente could be set for a third spell in the Premier League, with West Ham also keen on the former Spurs and Swansea hitman.
If Ancelotti is the charming grandfather of European football, Llorente, like Allan and James, is just one of his many favourite sons.
Just imagine. Allan uses his renowned reading of the game to break up an opposition attack and feeds James, who channels his inner-Galactico to float an inch-perfect pass into the unrushing Llorente.
Is Ancelotti’s dream about to come true?
Everton’s opening fixtures of the 2020/21 season
West Brom (H)
Crystal Palace (A)