When preparing for life at his new employers Hellas Verona, Giovanni Simeone was in no mood to leave anything to chance.
“Last year I was certainly not at my best level,” the Argentina international explained a fortnight ago.
“After the end of the season, I gave myself a challenge – to give my best in all training sessions and all the matches. I started (preparing) immediately, on my honeymoon!
“I trained every day in the Maldives!”
Whatever Simeone’s new wife felt about his ferocious training schedule, we’d imagine that Hellas Verona coach Igor Tudor will have been thrilled to see that all those sacrifices have been worthwhile.
The Madrid-born 26-year-old, who was the subject of a loan-to-buy bid from West Ham United in June, has enjoyed a flying start to life Stadio Marc Antonio Bentegodi (Calciomercato).
In eight games, the son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has scored six times and set up another three – with all-but two of those strikes coming against Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio on Sunday.
Opening the scoring with a razor-sharp tap-in, Simeone Jr then lashed home a long-range volley and ompleted his hat-trick from the tightest of angles before grabbing the fourth of a delirious afternoon with a trademark bullet header.
“I hadn’t seen a performance like this for a long time,” beamed Tudor, the former Juventus defender.
“Not just for the four goals, but also his movement, his energy, his pressing… it was really impressive. I am happy, the goals come from the humility of these lads. If we continue along this path, we can get stronger all the time.”
With Simeone in the form of his life, do not be surprised if Hellas Verona better last season’s highly-impressive Serie A finish of tenth.
Bigger clubs than the Gialloblu were after Simeone last summer, but Hellas Verona is looking like a match made in heaven for a striker who sacrificed his honeymoon in pursuit of on-pitch success.