After marking a weekend winner against Juventus with an iconic 'Batigol' celebration, ACF Fiorentina youngster Pablo Daniel Osvaldo is gunning for guests Everton FC.
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After marking a weekend winner against Juventus with an iconic celebration, ACF Fiorentina striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo is gunning for Everton FC in the UEFA Cup.
The 22-year-old paid tribute to fellow countryman Gabriel Batistuta as he marked his added-time strike against Juventus with a revival of the Viola legend's trademark machine-gun celebration. "After the goal against Juventus I celebrated like Batistuta but it was a tribute to the Fiorentina fans and to Bati himself," said the Argentinian-born striker, who has represented Italy at Under-21 level.
Batistuta scored the winner in Fiorentina's 1-0 win against Arsenal FC in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League at Wembley, and Osvaldo, who will stand in for the injured Adrian Mutu, is hoping for a similar chance against a different English side. "It was fantastic to score the winner against Juve," he said. "So many people called to congratulate me. But I don't want to look back. I'm just focused on the game against Everton."
'Batigol', who represented Fiorentina between 1991 and 2000, casts a long shadow at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, and Osvaldo, a summer signing from US Lecce, was quick to point out that he was not inviting comparisons to the striking legend. "I'm sure he was happy for our victory but if I score against Everton I will not celebrate like him," he said. "I will stop doing it as I don't want to disrespect such a legend. I don't know him personally but I would love to meet him one day."
Osvaldo has proved his ability with three goals in six Serie A appearances this season, as well as one in four UEFA Cup games, and feels he is being given a fair chance by coach Cesare Prandelli. "Our coach makes us feel important even when we are not playing," he explained. "I know I have a phenomenal player like Mutu ahead of me. I just hope to take my chances in the best possible way. Some days everything seems easy, I hope it will be like that against Everton."
If Osvaldo is to get the game he desires he will have to breach an Everton defence that has been in fine form, conceding just two goals in their last seven games. They are unbeaten in that period and have risen to fourth in the Premier League and to the brink of a first European last-eight appearance since their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph of 1985.
Manager David Moyes is under no illusions about the difficulty of the task at hand, however. "They had a really good result on Sunday so they'll have a lot of confidence and it'll be a really hard tie," he said. Moyes could be boosted by the return of midfielder Mikel Arteta from a groin injury while Yakubu Ayegbeni is likely to continue as lone striker with Andrew Johnson on the bench.