Ciro Immobile finished as the Italian Serie A's top scorer this season but the Torino striker knows he will have to continue to work hard to impress Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. Immobile, who made his Azzurri debut in an international friendly against world champions Spain in March, is currently training with Italy in Florence in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
The 24-year-old struck 22 goals in 33 league appearances to help Torino finish seventh in Serie A. "The only thing certain is death," Immobile said. "I will have to battle to be among the 23 players that will compete in Brazil. I have achieved my two aims so far, to finish as the capocannoniere (league's leading scorer) and to be included in the preliminary squad for the World Cup."
Immobile forged a potent attacking partnership with Alessio Cerci at Torino, with his team-mate notching 13 goals and setting up nine others in Serie A. Cerci, too, has made Italy's squad and they both face stiff competition to make the final cut.
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, who was Italy's leading scorer in qualifying with five goals, leads the attacking pack. Roma's leading marksman Mattia Destro, Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne, Giuseppe Rossi of Fiorentina and Parma's veteran striker Antonio Cassano are also in contention. "We are all working to be prepared," Immobile said. "It will be up to the coach to make the decision.
"We are all here with the intention of being able to play in the most important football competition there is and Prandelli will face a dififcult decision. I am determined to give 200 per cent. I want to prove that what I have achieved this season is not a fluke. My aim is to give everything and not have regrets if I end up not being selected. The important thing is that we are all ready."
I am determined to give 200 percent. I want to prove that what I have achieved this season is not a fluke.
Immobile spoke of how the Azzurri are preparing to deal with the heat and humidity levels they will face in Manaus when they take on England in their Group D opener on 14 June. "We are working in the sauna," he said. "That helps to get us used to the temperature in Manaus.
"You don't feel anything strange by being in the sauna, we just do specific training exercises in terms of breathing. We have worked with a lot of intensity in the past few days. We are preparing well in order to arrive to the World Cup in the best possible condition."
Immobile has raised plenty of eyebrows this season and not just in Italy, with German side Borussia Dortmund, who will play in the Champions League next season, leading the chase to sign him this summer.
"My agent is working on this," Immobile said. "After the good season I've had, it's normal that an ambitious player like I am wants to point to the highest. Borussia is a very important team and for me to play in the Champions League next season would be crucial in terms of growing professionally. Every player is ambitious and needs new experiences, for me that is to play in the Champions League."