Milito back to his best in Genoa

Despite being one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe over the past few seasons, Diego Milito has retained a relatively low profile among the armada of Argentinian strikers currently plying their trade on the Old Continent. Even in his own family, Diego has to take a back seat to younger brother and Barcelona centre-half Gabriel.

Nonetheless, Milito Snr is quietly forging a reputation for himself in Italian football. Currently Serie A's top scorer with 11 goals in 13 matches for Genoa, he has also served up five assists for his grateful team-mates. takes a closer look at a player who is as discreet and modest off the pitch as he is lethal in front of goal.

Diego Milito was born in the Bernal province of Buenos Aires and cut his footballing teeth with the Racing Club de Avellaneda. During his five seasons there, he managed 34 goals in 137 matches. That is an average return for a striker, but was enough to persuade Genoa, who were in Serie B at the time, to take a chance on him in January 2004. Il Principe - the Prince - as he was known due to his resemblance to the former Uruguayan international Enzo Francescoli, took an immediate shine to the European style of football.

Within the space of 18 months at Genoa, he had established the best scoring record in the club's history with an average of 0.62 goals per game thanks to an astounding 46 strikes in 74 matches.
Diego Milito on his aims.

Like the majority of Argentinian strikers, Milito is technically more adept than most, a skill that serves him well in front of goal. Chipping an on-rushing keeper and scoring from an impossible angle are part and parcel of his game, and he is happy to lead the line on his own, with his speed and stamina capable of tiring even the best defences.

In 2005, Milito went on loan to Real Zaragoza, where he played alongside his brother. His first season saw him find the back of the net on no fewer than 14 occasions, but it was in the Copa del Rey that he really made a name for himself, bagging a brace in the 4-2 quarter-final win over Barcelona and an incredible four goals against Real Madrid in a 6-1 semi-final demolition. Milito was even more impressive the following season, finishing second in the goal-scoring charts on 23, a mere two behind none other than Ruud van Nistelrooy.

There's a long way to go this season and we need to keep the same mind-set and our feet on the ground. Staying up is the main aim.

Those stats persuaded Argentina coach Alfio Basile to call him up for the Copa America 2007 but he had little chance to make his mark, even though he scored against Colombia soon after he came on as a substitute for the injured Hernan Crespo.

Milito remained in Zaragoza last season but could manage 'only' 13 goals in 35 matches, and those strikes were not enough to help the club to avoid relegation. As a result, Genoa saw an opportunity to welcome back their favourite striker, and Milito was similarly delighted to return to his former club. With the Genoan tifosi offering him their unconditional support, Milito is now back to his sharp-shooting best.

His best friend, Italian pop idol Eros Ramazzotti, is almost lost for words when asked to describe just how good Milito is in front of goal. "I am a Juventus fan so for me, Del Piero will always be the greatest. But Diego isn't far behind." High praise indeed, and one that will not go unnoticed by those in charge at the Turin giants, who will be keeping a close eye on the Argentinian's progress.

"The most important thing as far as I am concerned at the moment is that Genoa keep on winning," explains Milito. "There's a long way to go this season and we need to keep the same mind-set and our feet on the ground. Staying up is the main aim," says the international striker, who was by no means disappointed at not being given the chance to add to his four goals in 16 matches when Argentina recently played a friendly in Scotland.

He is full of confidence at the moment, "happy to be in Genoa" in his own words and not at all the type to make bold or brash statements he might later regret. Diego Milito is evidently the type of footballer who prefers to let his feet do the talking.