New Brazilian star in the making
His name is Amauri - Carvalho de Oliveira Amauri - and at 26 he seems to be peaking. He has already scored five times this season for leaders Palermo and could teach Adriano a thing or two about the footballing art of playing as a lone striker, although it's not Adriano's fault that Inter has very rarely used him as such.
Amauri scored in Palermo's 2-0 win at Milan and had two at Fiorentina on Sunday, the first a textbook-perfect bullet of a header from 12 metres out, the second - and the visitors' injury time winner - with a right footer from a tight angle after juggling his way past two Fiorentina players who really should have done better.
In the first half, again after shaking off two defenders, Amauri had provided a wonderful 30-metre crossfield pass with the outside of his right foot for David Di Michele to score Palermo's first, and his performances so far have been so impressive that the rumour on Monday was that Brazil coach Carlos Dunga would call him up for the November 15 friendly in Switzerland.
No phone call came, though, and now Amauri may choose to turn out for Italy once he gets his dual-nationality papers sorted out for good (he may be 55 by that time, if you know Italian bureaucracy, but perhaps not, as VIPs usually get preferential treatment here).
An astonishing ascent for someone who went through Napoli (in 2001), Parma, Empoli, Messina and Piacenza without leaving a trace, and only found his feet with Chievo last season, scoring 11 times in 37 appearances.
Once Chievo's Champions League campaign was brought to an immediate halt by Levski Sofia, he joined Palermo for 8 million euros on the last day of the summer transfer window, and has now clearly relegated former starter Andrea Caracciolo to the substitutes' bench.
In Tuesday's newspapers, his agent compared him to Aristoteles, a fictional, saudade-plagued Brazilian footballer in the 1980's cult movie 'L'allenatore nel pallone' who overcame his homesickness to became a star in the most important game of the season.