From the CEE Cup victory to the Serie A: Zirkzee nets his first goal in Italy
First appearance in the starting 11 culminates with his very first goal on his first shot on target – this is how Joshua Zirkzee presented himself to his Bologna supporters, all inside Napoli’s eclectic and recently rechristened stadium, the 'Diego Armando Maradona'.
This talented, 2001-class Dutch striker was one of the many young hopefuls who shone in Prague’s CEE Cup tournament before breaking into adult football. It was back in 2017 that Zirkzee flew to the Czech Republic with his Everton teammates and won the trophy thanks to a 2-1 win over Burnley in an all-English final.
The goal scored against Napoli represents a new beginning for the striker from Schiedam, a city of over 75,000 souls and just a stone's throw from Rotterdam. After a season as an absolute protagonist with Anderlecht, which saw him rack up an incredible tally of 18 goals and 13 assists in 47 appearances in all competitions, he caught Bologna’s eye. In fact, they decided to bring him back to Italy and the Serie A - after his experience at Parma - investing 7.5 million euros (plus a percentage on future resale) to buy him outright from Bayern Munich.
The deal is a clear demonstration of how much the Bolognese club believes in the talent of the 21-year-old Dutchman for the present and the future.
Scoring has always been a Joshua Zirkzee trademark. A product of Feyenoord’s nursery, very close to his hometown of Schiedam, he eventually made a splash at the CEE Cup’s 7th edition with Everton in the summer of 2017, convincing Bayern Munich to bet on him. In fact, the Bavarians didn't let him get away and took him to Munich, where he joined the youth sector of the Teutonic club.
The climb was rapid, from the youth teams all the way to the Under 19, in which he shone between the Youth League and the category championship, up until his debut in the first team.
It didn’t take long for Zirkzee to make his debut - thanks to Germany’s current coach, Hansi Flick - first on the 11th of December 2019 in the Champions League 3-1 success at the Allianz Arena over Tottenham when he was but 18 years-6 months-and-19-days-old and, following that, in the Bundesliga on the 18th of December in the away win against Freiburg.
Despite his young age, the time for Zirkzee’s big leap arrived, first with the Parma parenthesis, then the definitive explosion in Belgium with the Anderlecht jersey.
In Brussels, Joshua Zirkzee turned into a goal machine and a real driver for the team of Manchester City legend and Belgian team national, Vincent Kompany.
In the summer he received a call from Bologna, who decided to bet on him and investing a significant amount to do so.
At his first appearance in the starting 11, Joshua Zirkzee did not betray expectations. In fact, the Dutchman scored immediately, in the stadium that once was Maradona’s domain and that now bears his name.
“I want to prove that I am hungry and ready,” he told the DAZN reporter at the end of the match.
Truly a great beginning with the red and blue jersey, one that confirms the qualities we’d had opportunity to appreciate in Prague in 2017 by this Dutch talent who appears quite ready to conquer the Serie A.
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