If you’re only going to learn one word in German, make it ‘Tor!’
Luca Toni has evidently not learned much German in the eight months since he moved over the Alps a few hundred kilometres north of native Italy to the Bavarian capital of Munich.
With plenty of translators at his service and a wide range of fine Italian restaurants in Munich to pick from, there’s little need to spend time studying the difficult tongue-twisting language of Goethe and Schiller. His interviews in the German media are invariably translated from Italian.
But Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld revealed on Sunday that Toni has in the meantime enriched his vocabulary with at least one German term – Tor (goal).
“I asked him at half-time if he wanted to play the whole match or come off and he just said ‘Tor, Tor, Tor’,” Hitzfeld said after Toni had scored twice in the first half against Dortmund, by which time they were leading 4-0.
Toni, who came to Bayern from Fiorentina in the close-season, has proven that you don’t need to speak fluent German to understand what keeps your German employers happy. That one three-letter word “Tor” is enough.
He has 31 goals in all competitions and leads the Bundesliga in scoring with 18 goals with six matches left.
Even though he didn’t score a third goal against Dortmund (the match finished 5-0, but it was Andreas Ottl who got the fifth), Toni ended up playing the full 90 minutes on Sunday just three days after going 120 minutes (and scoring twice in the last five) in Bayern’s epic UEFA Cup tie at Getafe.
But it’s not only his goal-scoring that makes Toni such a watchable player.
“Even when his shots miss, the anguish on Toni’s face and the gesticulations with his hands are so expressive and so much fun to watch,” said one commentator on Premiere Television.
PHOTO: Toni scores his first goal against Dortmund during their Bundesliga match in Munich, April 13, 2008. REUTERS/Alexandra Beier