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Monday, May 24, 2010

Diego Milito

Diego Alberto Milito (born 12 June 1979 in Bernal, Buenos Aires) is an Argentine footballer who currently plays as a striker for F.C. Internazionale Milano. He also plays for the Argentine national team.A prolific and consistent center-forward, Milito has statistically averaged just over a goal every two appearances, over the course of his 10 year professional career. Out of admiration for his exploits as a player in Serie A, he has been nicknamed Il Principe ("The Prince") by Italian fans and media.
Diego is married to Sofia and they have two children. He has a younger brother named Gabriel who is also a footballer, who plays his football at Barcelona.

Club career

Diego Milito started playing at Argentine first division Racing Club in 1999, where he won the 2001 Apertura tournament. During this time, his younger brother Gabriel played for Racing's main rival, Independiente.
At the beginning of 2004, Milito moved to Italian second division Genoa. After two very successful seasons, where he scored 33 goals in 59 matches in Italy, Genoa were relegated down to Serie C1 as a punishment for an alleged match-fixing case in the final match of the 2004–05 season. Due to this, Milito was forced to leave Genoa and he joined his brother Gabriel at Real Zaragoza. Diego again showed his potential in Spain, scoring four goals in the first semi-final of the 2006 Copa del Rey to beat Real Madrid 6–1. He finished the season as Real Zaragoza's top scorer with 16 goals in the Spanish first division.
Milito was the club captain at Real Zaragoza, taking over this role from brother Gabriel, who departed for Barcelona in 2007. Milito was one of the top scorers in the La Liga 2006–07 season. He scored 23 goals, two less than the top goalscorer Ruud van Nistelrooy and three behind European Golden Boot winner Francesco Totti. His goals helped Zaragoza to a sixth place finish in the league. As of January 2008, Diego was averaging higher than a goal every two games for Real Zaragoza, a statistic he also achieved with Genoa.
On 1 September 2008, just a few minutes before the transfer window closure time, Genoa completed the transfer of Milito from Zaragoza, after the Spanish team were relegated to Segunda División. His agent Fernando Hidalgo confirmed Milito chose explicitly to return to Genoa despite having received more lucrative offers from other major European clubs. He made his debut on 14 September against Milan. Genoa won this game 2–0 with Milito assisting the first goal and scoring the second. On 9 November, Milito scored his first hat-trick for Genoa in the 4–0 victory against Reggina. He finished the season with 24 goals in 31 league appearances, placing him second behind Zlatan Ibrahimović in the Capocannonieri scoring title.




Internazionale
On 20 May 2009, La Gazzetta dello Sport confirmed that Milito was transferred to Internazionale (alongside Thiago Motta).The transfer fees were undisclosed but Genoa got Robert Acquafresca, Riccardo Meggiorini, Leonardo Bonucci, Francesco Bolzoni and cash. He had an excellent start to his Internazionale career scoring two goals in a 2–0 World Football Challenge win over Milan.Subsequently on 29 August, in his first ever Milan Derby in Serie A, Milito assisted two goals and scored a penalty, his first league goal of the season, to cap off a 4–0 victory. Later, on 13 September, he scored his second league goal in a 2–0 home win against Parma. In the next league match against Cagliari he scored both goals for Inter in a 1–2 away win.These two goals placed him at the top of the all-time Serie A scoring charts for best strike rate, with 28 goals in 35 games, giving him an average of 0.8 goals per game. Milito continued his fine run of form with another goal in the next league match against Napoli, scoring the second goal after Samuel Eto'o scored in the first minute, a game that they won 3–1.
On 30 October, in a 5–3 home victory against Palermo, Milito, who had returned from an injury, came off the bench to make the result safe scoring Internazionale's fifth goal. In the next game, against Livorno he scored another goal, returning his strike rate so far as seven goals in nine league matches. Three days later, on 4 November, he scored his first goal in the UEFA Champions League in a 1–2 group stage win over Dynamo Kyiv, it was the equaliser which led to Wesley Sneijder's game-winner in the 89th. On 24 February, in another Champions League match, this time in a 2–1 round of 16 win against Chelsea, he scored another important goal, his second in the competition. Four days later, Milito scores the goal which would give Internazionale a 3–2 victory at Udinese, it was a thriller win for the "Nerazzurri". On 27 March, after missing a 3–0 win over Livorno with a hamstring problem, Milito returned for title battle at Roma, where he scored one goal in a 2–1 loss. On 31 March, in a 1–0 Champions League quarter-finals win against CSKA Moscow, he scored the winning goal which enhanced Internazionale's chances of reaching the semi-finals. Diego scored a vital goal in a 3–1 home win against Barcelona in a first leg Champions League semi-final win.
During the very last matches of the 2009-2010 season, Milito proved instrumental in Inter's winning of the first treble in the history of Italian football. The Argentine first scored the only goal in Inter's victory over Roma in the final of the Coppa Italia on 5 May 2010, enabling the nerazzurri to take home their first trophy of the season. Eleven days later, it was also Milito's goal which secured Internazionale's 18th scudetto when they beat Siena 1–0 on the final matchday of Serie A. With only two points separating the top two teams in Serie A, the goal lifted Inter to the summit of the table after being in a position to lose the league title to Roma at the half-time break as Roma, playing simultaneously, were winning their own match against Chievo at that point. Milito himself declared this goal to be the "best of his career",having been decisive in delivering a league title to his team. However, there was more to come from the forward and on 22 May 2010 Milito yet again proved vital as he scored twice to seal a victory in the Champions League Final over Bayern Munich. As a result Internazionale became European club champions for the first time in 45 years with a 2-0 victory and completed their historic treble championship season.
After the treble success many pundits took note of the fact that Milito had always been an effective and efficient striker, yet remained one of the most underrated players in world football because of his low-key manner and the fact that he had plied his trade for smaller, less competitive teams prior to joining Inter. Scoring goals on the biggest stages for a marquee team finally earned the striker the recognition merited by his skill and goalscoring record. Of the player and his two Champions League winning goals, The Guardian wrote:
“ Vision, timing, flawless technique and sangfroid – these two goals had everything a great striker needs, plus a sense of lyricism in the fluency of his movement. The 30-year-old Milito is hardly a fancy striker, not a Messi taking your breath away with a trick or a Tevez galvanising the stadium with elemental force, but his economy has been just as devastating. . . ”


International career

Milito scored four goals on his international debut against Uruguay in 2003, but appeared only intermittently during the following years, and was omitted from the 2006 World Cup squad.He played for Argentina in the 2007 Copa América tournament, gaining playing time after Hernán Crespo's injury in a group stage match against Colombia and he was also included in Argentina's final 23 player roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.



Career statistics

Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Genoa 2003–04 20 12 2 0 — 22 12
2004–05 39 21 3 1 — 42 22
Total 59 33 5 1 — 64 34
Real Zaragoza 2005–06 36 15 8 6 — 44 21
2006–07 37 23 3 0 — 40 23
2007–08 35 15 4 2 2 0 41 17
Total 108 53 15 8 2 0 125 61
Genoa 2008–09 31 24 3 2 — 34 26
Total 31 24 3 2 — 34 26
Internazionale 2009–10 35 22 5 2 11 6 51 30
Total 35 22 5 2 11 6 51 30
Career total 233 132 28 13 13 7 274 152
Statistics correct as of matches played 22 May 2010


Honours

Club
Racing Club
Primera División Argentina (1): Apertura 2001
Internazionale
Serie A (1): 2009-10
Coppa Italia (1): 2009-10
UEFA Champions League (1): 2009-10

(source:wikipedia)

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