Another round of European club competitions and another disaster for Italian clubs.
In the UEFA Europa League there was, admittedly, some good news. A very lucky Inter Milan defeated Partizan 1-0, scoring the winner only seconds after its guest missed a glorious chance.
And in Group J, Lazio is on top of the table after its 1-all draw away to Panathinaikos.
This is where the good news ends.
Udinese lost 3-1 away to Young Boys, not exactly a giant of European football, and Napoli was defeated by the same result in Ukraine.
It’s enough to seek a divorce from my Ukranian wife, and to question the wisdom of chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis’s policy of one team for Serie A, and a different one for Europe.
It’s provided disastrous results, given the second-string team struggles even against mediocre opposition.
Juventus’s draw in the UEFA Champions League match against FC Nordsjaelland in Norway is as bad as a loss, as club officials admitted themselves.
It looks as if the squad that’s dominating the Italian Serie A is not good enough for European opposition. Get ready for a major acquisition, probably from Brazil. And let’s hope it’s not going to be too late for Juve’s European ambitions.
Del Piero’s 800
Alessandro Del Piero will be playing his 800th professional match in the Sydney FC v Perth Glory match on Sunday. They are modest surroundings for an amazing achievement. What do we wish him? To manage to spend the last years of his career surrounded by real football players.
AC Milan crisis
Eleven matches played, six losses, two draws and three wins. And it’s not the record of a team used to struggling in the lower reaches of a minor league. It’s what AC Milan has achieved, for want of a better word, so far this season.
The forthcoming match against Genoa could be the final one for some of the technical staff, including coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Genoa, meantime, has already taken action after its dismal start to the season. Coach Gigi De Canio has been sacked and Luigi Del Neri has replaced him. And I doubt it was a wise decision.
Only two Italian clubs in the Champions League? Maybe three, considering Paris Saint-Germain. With Maxwell, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Marco Verratti, Jeremy Menez, Salvatore Sirigu, Javier Pastore and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all former Serie A protagonists. As well as Leonardo and coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Ibra, by the way, has found the house he was looking for - for a mere $50,000 a month. Fittingly for a “king” of football, the residence is in Versailles.
It's been a week to remember for Roberto Donadoni, the former AC Milan ace who is now coaching Parma. On the bright side, the club has extended his contract to 2015 and announced great plans (who doesn’t) for the years to come. Not bad at $1 million a season.
However, he will need some of the money immediately in order to pay the fine he was handed, not by football authorities, but for unauthorised work at his villa in Brindisi.
Another week, and another scandal in Italian football. This time the player involved is, of all people, Lazio captain Stefano Mauri. Would you use your parents to transfer nearly $500,000 to an account in Switzerland, if everything was above board? If your answer is a resounding “no”, don’t be surprised if Mauri gets a long suspension.
On a sad note, this coming Sunday Perugia – the city, the club and its supporters - will remember Renato Curi, 35 years after his death. The Perugia midfielder passed away with after suffering heart failure during a match against Juventus on October 30, 1977. The local stadium now bears his name.
Finally, a quick response to readers who find some aspects of this blog unpalatable.
There is only one criteria by which to judge its contents. True or false? We all know the answer, regrettably.
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