Serie A’s leading marksmen go head-to-head this evening as Juventus tackle Lazio at the Allianz Stadium.
Ciro Immobile, 30, tops the golden boot rankings with 29 league goals from 32 games —form which has seen the Lazio hitman linked with Premier League big guns Manchester United and Chelsea.
Breathing down his neck with 28 goals from 29 appearances is Cristiano Ronaldo, 35, who needs just one more for table-topping Juve to become the first player to net 50 career goals in the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A.
If there’s one thing that drives Ronaldo on, it’s the chance to write his name in football’s history books.
This showdown is not only an opportunity for the hosts to flex their title-chasing muscle, it’s the perfect stage for their Portuguese talisman to prove he’s the No1 striker in Italy.
A few weeks ago, this fixture would have been viewed as a potential championship decider.
Lazio were serious challengers at the start of the year but a run of two wins from seven matches since the return of Italian football — and just one point from the last 12 available —has all but ended their interest.
Immobile’s form has also dipped. The Italian hit a purple patch from October to December, collecting 11 goals from eight games in all competitions for club and country.
But his return of two goals since the restart has seen him fail to score in each of his last three appearances.
Juve have also stuttered a little in recent weeks, with two draws and a 4-2 defeat by AC Milan, but Ronaldo has carried the fight with seven goals in his last seven games as he’s closed in on the right to be called the Capocannoniere, Serie A’s top scorer.
Draws over the weekend for both second-placed Inter Milan and Atalanta, in third, have left Juve firmly in control.
They could make a giant stride towards capturing a 36th Scudetto as a win this evening would extend their lead to eight points with just four games left to play.
Ronaldo’s fellow striker Gonzalo Higuain, 32, also has good reason to look forward to Lazio’s visit.
Although his strike in the 3-3 draw with Sassuolo last Wednesday was just his seventh in Serie A this term, he’s scored 12 goals in his 10 league games against the Biancocelesti.
Did you know?
Lazio won 3-1 when the clubs met in December. They last did the double over Juve in the same season back in 2000-01.
Juventus have kept five clean sheets in their last seven league games at home to Lazio.
Juve have conceded at least two goals in each of their last three Serie A matches. The last time that happened four games in a row was in March 1993.