Luca Toni

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Luca Toni
Luca Toni.jpg
Luca Toni in 2005
Personal information
Full name Luca Toni
Date of birth (1977-05-26) 26 May 1977 (age 39)
Place of birth Pavullo nel Frignano, Italy
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)[1]
Youth career
1990–1991 Officine Meccaniche Frignanesi
1991–1994 Modena
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1996 Modena 32 (7)
1996–1997 Empoli 3 (1)
1997–1998 Fiorenzuola 26 (2)
1998–1999 Lodigiani 31 (15)
1999–2000 Treviso 35 (15)
2000–2001 Vicenza 31 (9)
2001–2003 Brescia 44 (15)
2003–2005 Palermo 80 (50)
2005–2007 Fiorentina 67 (47)
2007–2010 Bayern Munich 60 (38)
2009 Bayern Munich II 2 (0)
2010 Roma (loan) 15 (5)
2010–2011 Genoa 16 (3)
2011–2012 Juventus 14 (2)
2012 Al Nasr 8 (3)
2012–2013 Fiorentina 27 (8)
2013–2016 Verona 95 (48)
Total 586 (268)
National team
2004–2009 Italy 47 (16)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.


Luca Toni, Ufficiale OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [ˈluːka ˈtɔːni]; born 26 May 1977) is an Italian former professional footballer who played as a striker.

Something of a footballing nomad, at club level, Toni played for twelve different Italian teams throughout his career. A late bloomer, he spent several seasons in the lower divisions of Italian football, as well as promising spells with minor Serie A clubs Vicenza and Brescia, before finally making his breakthrough with Palermo: he helped the team to Serie A promotion during the 2003–04 season by winning the Serie B title, and was the league's top scorer with 30 goals; the following season, he helped the club qualify for Europe, scoring 20 goals in Serie A. After two prolific seasons with Fiorentina, Toni also spent three seasons with German side Bayern Munich, where he helped the club to a domestic treble during the 2007–08 season, also reaching the UEFA Cup semi-finals; after falling out with the club's manager during his third season with the team, and being demoted to the reserve squad, he later returned to Italy on loan with Roma in 2010, and subsequently had spells with Genoa and Juventus. In 2012, he played for Al-Nasr Dubai SC, in the UAE Arabian Gulf League, but returned to Fiorentina for a season later that year. He retired in 2016, after three seasons with Verona, the last as team captain.

At international level, he represented the Italian national team on 47 occasions, scoring 16 goals. He made his international debut in 2004 and took part at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2008, and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup with Italy; he most notably contributed to Italy's 2006 World Cup victory, as he scored twice and was elected to the tournament's All-star team.

A prolific goalscorer, Toni scored over 300 goals throughout his career, and is one of the top-five highest scoring Italians in all competitions.[2] In addition to the team medals he has collected, he also won several individual honours: during his first spell with Fiorentina, he won the Capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer) award during the 2005–06 season, in which he scored 31 goals (the most goals in a Serie A season since 1958–59), which also earned him the European Golden Shoe, becoming the first Italian player ever to win the award; he was also the league's joint top scorer in the 2014–15 Serie A season, in which he became the oldest player to win the award at the age of 38, with 22 goals. Toni also finished as top scorer in the 2007–08 Bundesliga, with 24 goals, and in the 2007–08 UEFA Cup, with 10 goals.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Toni started his professional career at Modena. This was followed by a number of seasons spent around Serie B and Serie C1 with teams such as Empoli, Fiorenzuola, and Lodigiani. After a Serie B season with Treviso in 1999, he moved to Vicenza, playing in Serie A for the first time. He then moved to Brescia, playing for two seasons under manager Carlo Mazzone, alongside Roberto Baggio and Pep Guardiola.[3]

Palermo[edit]

In 2003, he agreed to join ambitious Serie B club Palermo, being one of the main factors behind the winning team campaign that brought the Rosanero back to Serie A after over 30 years, thanks to a record 30 goals scored during the season. He consequently gained his first cap for the Italian national team in a friendly match 18 August 2004 lost 2–0 to Iceland in Reykjavík, which also marked Marcello Lippi's debut at the helm of the Azzurri.[4]

In the following season, Toni confirmed his prolificity by scoring 20 goals in Palermo's first Serie A campaign, leading the Sicilian club to a historical first qualification to the UEFA Cup.

Fiorentina[edit]

Toni playing for Fiorentina.

Toni's move to Fiorentina was marked by controversy as the fans dubbed him a traitor for his departure.[5] La Viola paid €10 million to sign him.[6]

During his first season in Florence, he scored 31 goals, making him one of the most prolific Serie A strikers of all-time (the most goals ever scored in a season being 35); this was also the first time in 50 years that a Serie A player had scored more than 30 goals. Toni was awarded the European Golden Shoe for this feat, the first Italian player to win this award. His goal scoring ability brought Fiorentina to heights never seen since the late 1990s, when the Argentine Gabriel Batistuta was playing for them. They clinched fourth spot and qualified for the Champions League.

This league position, however, was revoked in the courts during the Calciopoli scandal. Italian courts recognized Fiorentina as culpable of shady dealings and convicted them to start the 2006–07 season with a 19-point deduction. Toni expressed his desire to leave the team several times during the summer to the press, but was eventually convinced by club President Andrea Della Valle to stay and help the club overcome its unfavourable position.

The following season was plagued by injury, limiting Toni's goals to a less considerable, albeit impressive, 16 goals. This was Toni's final season at the Florence club, as they agreed to sell him to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. Before he left, Toni promised Della Valle not to sign for any big Italian clubs, which is believed to be the main reason he went to Germany.

Bayern Munich[edit]

Luca Toni with Bayern Munich.

On 30 May 2007, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed that Toni had signed a four-year contract with the club after agreeing to a deal worth €11.58 million[7] with Fiorentina. On 7 June, Toni was presented at a Bayern press conference along with fellow new signing Franck Ribéry.[8] Toni was given the number 9 shirt.

Toni scored four goals in a 19 December 6–0 home win against Aris of Greece to help Bayern win their UEFA Cup group. On 17 February 2008, he scored his first Bundesliga hat-trick (a "perfect hat-trick": a goal with each foot and a header, all coming in one half) against Hannover 96. Bayern won the away fixture 3–0.

In a quarter-final second leg match in the UEFA Cup, Toni scored two dramatic goals on 115th and 120th minutes of extra time, in a game which finished 3–3 and lifted Bayern Munich past Getafe CF of Spain on away goals. Bayern eventually lost to Zenit Saint Petersburg in the semi-final. At the 2007–08 UEFA Cup, he shared the first place with Pavel Pogrebnyak from Zenit at the top scorers list with 10 goals.

He scored two goals in the German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund in a 2–1 win; his second goal was the winner in extra time to give Bayern Munich another cup victory. Toni finished as top scorer in the 2007–08 Bundesliga season with 24 goals. Overall, Toni finished the season with 39 goals and 12 assists in 46 matches.

Toni and Miroslav Klose against Hertha Berlin in 2009.

In the 2008–09 season, Toni maintained his high-standard of form for Bayern. In the Bundesliga, he started 13 games from January, in which he scored nine goals, a notable one being a late stoppage-time winner he scored against TSG Hoffenheim.[9]

Toni battled an Achilles tendon injury for most of the second half of the 2008–09 season, but still finished as Bayern's leading scorer in league play, tallying 14 goals in 25 Bundesliga appearances.

Recovering from his injury he appeared in two matches of the second team Bayern Munich II in the 3. Liga in September 2009.[10]

On 7 November 2009, he was fined for leaving the stadium during the match after being substituted at half-time.[11]

Following his fall out with Bayern manager Louis van Gaal, Bayern's President, Uli Hoeneß, stated on DSF Doppelpass that the player will be allowed to leave the club on a free transfer.[12] Eventually, Toni, by mutual agreement with Bayern, was loaned out to Italian club A.S. Roma.

Roma (loan)[edit]

On 31 December 2009, Bayern Munich confirmed the transfer of the Italian striker on a six-month loan basis to Roma,[13][14][15] which offered him pre-tax basic salary of €3.1 million.[16] He debuted for Roma against Cagliari on 6 January 2010. He scored his first two goals for Roma against Genoa on 17 January 2010 (for 2–0 and 3–0). Toni would go on to score five goals in total for the Giallorossi during the remainder of the 2009–10 season, including the winner against Internazionale[17] to cut the Milanese club's lead in Serie A to a single point ahead of Roma.

Genoa[edit]

On 16 June 2010, Bayern announced the termination of Toni's contract.[18] In the same month, after some days of speculation, it was confirmed that Luca Toni had found an agreement with Genoa for a two-year contract, reportedly at a net salary of €4 million per season,[19] as subsequently confirmed by club Chairman Enrico Preziosi. The player, who was presented to the press on 1 July, took on the number 9 jersey.[19]

Juventus[edit]

Luca Toni playing for Juventus in 2011.

On 7 January 2011, a statement in the Juventus official website announced that Luca Toni would be joining i Bianconeri on a free transfer deal, until 30 June 2012. Toni scored his 100th goal in Serie A with a brilliant header from 16 meters against Cagliari, which was also his debut goal for Juventus. Toni also scored the first goal at the new Juventus Stadium against Notts County on 8 September 2011.[20]

Al Nasr[edit]

On 30 January 2012, Juventus confirmed that they have agreed a deal for Luca Toni with Emirati club Al Nasr.[21]

Return to Fiorentina[edit]

On 31 August 2012, in the closing hour of the transfer market, Fiorentina announced that they completed the signing of Luca Toni, after he had been previously linked with a move to Siena. Toni made it a goal-scoring return for La Viola when, after coming on as a 64th-minute substitute for Adem Ljajić, he scored with his first touch the second goal in a 2–0 win over Catania in the Stadio Artemio Franchi on 16 September 2012.[22]

Verona[edit]

On 5 July 2013, Toni signed a one-year contract with newly promoted to Serie A club Verona.[23] On 17 August, Toni scored his first goal for Verona in a 1–0 victory over Palermo in the Coppa Italia.[24] In his Serie A debut for the club on 24 August, Toni scored twice as Verona recorded a 2–1 home win over Milan on the opening day of the season.[25] Toni displayed fine form for Verona and after scoring two as well as assisting a goal in successive games [26] there were calls for him to return to the national squad with Toni stating "I am thinking about doing well. Then it is for Cesare Prandelli to decide. For me, it would be a pleasure and an honour to go to the World Cup, but whatever happens there would be no issue".[27]

He ended the 2013–14 season with 20 goals, making him the second-top goalscorer in Serie A at the age of 37.[28]

During the 2014–15 season, he maintained a high standard of performance, scoring his 300th career goal in a 2–1 win over Udinese on 14 December 2014.[29] He finished the season with 22 goals, which took him to the top of the Serie A goalscoring charts, along with Mauro Icardi, at the age of 38 becoming the oldest Capocannoniere in Serie A.[30] In 2015, France Football rated him as one of the 10 best footballers in the world who are over the age of 36.[31]

Toni's third season with the club was less successful, as injuries and clashes with the club's manager Luigi Delneri saw him struggle to gain form and playing time.[32][33] After Verona was seen relegated from the 2015–16 Serie A season, Toni confirmed his retirement from football on 4 May 2016.[34] He scored his last ever career goal on his final match from the penalty spot in a 2–1 home win over Serie A champions Juventus, with a Panenka style penalty, and later also started the play which led to Verona's second goal; this was his 23rd appearance and sixth goal of the league season. In the 85th minute, a visibly emotional Toni was substituted and received a standing ovation from the fans. In total, he had managed 48 league goals for Verona during his three seasons in the Italian top division with the club, 157 career Serie A goals in 344 league appearances, and a career total of 324 goals in all competitions (with 659 appearances and 306 goals at club level, and 47 appearances and 16 goals with the Italian national team).[32][35][36][37] Toni explained his decision to retire after the match, stating that he would not be playing in Verona's final match of the season, in an away fixture against his former club Palermo, as he wanted to play his final career match in his team's home stadium.[35]

International career[edit]

Toni has scored 16 goals in 47 appearances for the Italy national football team.[38] He received his first international call-up in August 2004 under manager Marcello Lippi,[39] and subsequently made his debut for the Italian national team as a substitute on 18 August 2004, in a 2–0 friendly defeat against Iceland.[40] He scored his first international goal in a World Cup Qualifying match against Norway on 4 September 2004.[41]

On 17 November, Toni made his first international start in a friendly match against Finland. On 11 June 2005, he captained the Italian squad for the first time in his career in a friendly match against Ecuador due to the absence of Fabio Cannavaro and other experienced players. On 7 September, Toni scored his first international hat-trick in a 4–1 victory against Belarus in a 2006 World Cup qualifying match, becoming the first Fiorentina player ever to do so.[42][43]

Toni was selected to Italy's 2006 World Cup squad, and was given the number 9 shirt. In Italy's opening match against Ghana, he hit the crossbar as Italy won 2–0,[44] and he later scored two goals in the quarter-finals against Ukraine on 30 June, his only goals of the tournament, as Italy won 3–0 to advance to the semi-finals against the hosts Germany.[45] In the final against France, he hit the crossbar with a powerful header and later netted another header, although the goal was disallowed as the attempt was incorrectly ruled offside.[46] Italy eventually defeated France 5–3 on penalties, after a 1–1 draw following extra-time, to win their fourth World Cup title; Toni finished the tournament as Italy's top goal-scorer, alongside Marco Materazzi, with 2 goals, also producing 20 shots and hitting the crossbar twice.[47] For his performances, Toni was named to the 2006 World Cup Team of the Tournament.[48]

Toni scored two goals in Italy's 2–0 win over Scotland in a Euro 2008 qualifier.[49] Due to the aforementioned foot surgery, he missed Italy's next two qualifiers against the Faroe Islands and Lithuania. He returned to the qualification games against Georgia, and assisted Fabio Grosso, who scored the final result (2–0). On 17 November 2007, Toni struck in the first minute of a 2–1 qualifier win over Scotland at Hampden Park, which secured Italy's place at the final stages. Four days later, he scored the second goal against the Faroe Islands, as Italy closed with a 3–1 win. He finished the qualifying round as Italy's top-scorer with 5 goals in six appearances.[49]

He was called up to the Italian squad for UEFA Euro 2008, but his form in the tournament was disappointing, with his only goal against Romania being incorrectly disallowed for offside, as Italy drew the match 1–1.[50] Toni's main contribution for the team was winning a decisive penalty kick in the final group match against France, which ended 2–0, and allowed the Italians to progress to the knock-out round.[51] Italy then bowed out of the tournament on penalties to eventual champions Spain in the quarter-final.[52]

Despite the Euro 2008 disappointment, Toni was called up by coach Marcello Lippi for Italy's first two 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Toni also scored an equaliser in a 1–1 draw against Greece, in an international friendly on 19 November 2008, which was his final international goal.[53] He was subsequently named to Lippi's 23-man Italy squad that took part at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa,[54] although Italy disappointed, suffering a first-round elimination.[55] Following the tournament, he was no longer called up to the national team,[56][57] and he was not included in Lippi's provisional 30-man Italian squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup final tournament.[58]

Toni's goalscoring form with Verona in 2014 saw him become a popular potential candidate for a place as a reserve in Italy's 23-man 2014 FIFA World Cup squad,[59] although he was later excluded from Cesare Prandelli's final team for the tournament.[60][61]

Style of play[edit]

A prolific goal-scorer,[62] Toni was a traditional centre-forward,[63] who excelled in the air and acrobatically; although in his youth he was known for his attacking movement, which allowed him to play anywhere along the front-line or off of his team-mates, he mainly operated in the penalty area in his later career, as he lost his pace and his work-rate decreased.[64][65] Although naturally right footed, he was an accurate finisher with both feet,[64][65] and an excellent penalty taker.[66] Although his physical, opportunistic, "goal-poaching" style of play was at times criticised as unrefined and unorthodox, due to his lack of notable technical skills, he also drew praise throughout his career for his leadership and ability to utilise his height, solid first touch, and strong physique to win aerial challenges, hold up the ball for his team-mates, and provide them with assists when playing with his back to goal, in addition to his ability to score goals himself.[64][65][67] His strength, aerial prowess, and power saw him become one of the best ever headers of the ball in the Italian League.[62][64][67]

Writing for The Guardian, Tom Mason has said of his play, "His retirement marks the end of not only a remarkable career, but of a whole breed of striker...he seems to be a relic of an out-dated and discredited ideology. In a world where forwards are the first line of defense, where high-intensity pressing and sharp bursts of energy are a prerequisite for strikers, there seems to be little room for players in the mold of Luca Toni. Ill-equipped for a fast-paced counter-attack, unlikely to trouble defenders in behind, his domain is the 18-yard box and little outside it."[68] In the final season of his career, Toni was described as “the last great Italian centre-forward” by Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.[32]

Goal celebrations[edit]

Throughout his career, Toni was known for celebrating his goals by looking at his team-mates and rotating his right hand next to his ear, as if to say, "do you realise what it is I have just done?"[65]

Personal life[edit]

Toni is engaged to the Italian model Marta Cecchetto. Their son was stillborn on 1 June 2012.[69] Their daughter Bianca was born in June 2013.[70] On 30 July 2014, a second son, Leonardo, was born in Florence.[71]

In March 2015, German authorities sued Toni for €1.7 million in unpaid taxes to the Catholic Church.[72] That July, he sued his former tax adviser for the same amount, claiming that he had been registered without prior knowledge as a Roman Catholic in Germany and thus had paid taxes to the Church in conflict with his own beliefs.[73] In December, he received a payout of €1.25 million when the court found in his favour.[74]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

[75]

Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Modena 1994–95 Serie C1 9[a] 3[a] 9 3
1995–96 25 5 25 5
Modena total 34 8 34 8
Empoli 1996–97 Serie B 3 1 0 0 3 1
Fiorenzuola 1997–98 Serie C1 26 2 4[b] 2[b] 30 4
Lodigiani 1998–99 31 15 2[b] 1[b] 33 16
Treviso 1999–2000 Serie B 35 15 4 1 39 16
Vicenza 2000–01 Serie A 31 9 2 0 33 9
Brescia 2001–02 28 13 4 1 2 0 34 14
2002–03 16 2 0 0 16 2
Brescia total 44 15 4 1 2 0 50 16
Palermo 2003–04 Serie B 45 30 2 0 47 30
2004–05 Serie A 35 20 1 1 36 21
Palermo total 80 50 3 1 83 51
Fiorentina 2005–06 Serie A 38 31 4 2 42 33
2006–07 29 16 0 0 29 16
Bayern Munich 2007–08 Bundesliga 31 24 4 5 11 10 46 39
2008–09 25 14 2 1 8 3 35 18
2009–10 4 0 2 1 2 0 8 1
Bayern Munich total 60 38 8 7 21 13 89 58
Bayern Munich II 2009–10 3. Liga 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Roma 2009–10 Serie A 15 5 2 0 0 0 17 5
Genoa 2010–11 16 3 2 4 18 7
Juventus 2010–11 14 2 1 0 0 0 15 2
2011–12 0 0 0 0 0 0
Juventus total 14 2 1 0 0 0 15 2
Al Nasr 2011–12 UAE Pro-League 8 3 2 2 3 0 13 5
Fiorentina 2012–13 Serie A 27 8 1 0 28 8
Fiorentina total 94 55 5 2 99 57
Verona 2013–14 Serie A 34 20 2 1 36 21
2014–15 38 22 1 1 39 23
2015–16 23 6 2 1 25 7
Verona total 95 48 5 3 100 51
Career total 586 268 44 24 26 13 658 306
  1. ^ a b Includes 2 appearances and one goal in the relegation playoffs.
  2. ^ a b c d Coppa Italia Serie C matches

International[edit]

[76]

Italy national team
Year Apps Goals
2004 5 1
2005 10 6
2006 11 3
2007 5 4
2008 11 2
2009 5 0
Total 47 16

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first.[38]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Palermo[77]
Bayern Munich[77]

International[edit]

Italy[77]

Individual[edit]

Orders[edit]

  • Friedrich Order.png
    Collar of Merit Sports: 2006[89]

References[edit]

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