From big transfer news to more coaching changes, legends being snubbed and chairmen acting like kids, Italian football never ceases to amaze.
Dutchman's Turkish delight
Let's start with the latest news from the Italian transfer market. So far, the biggest name to change clubs is Wesley Sneijder. The former Inter Milan midfielder has moved to Turkish club Galatasaray.
He will earn about twenty million dollars in the next three-and-a-half years. In 2010 he won UEFA Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup with Inter.
Sooner or later we’ll find out the true reason behind his departure. In terms of the player’s value, totally unjustifiable. With the money Inter got for Sneijder (and the six million euros saved on his salary), the Nerazzuri will try to get Paulinho from Brazil and Schelotto from Atalanta.
It is also chasing Didier Drogba for whom it offered eight million dollars to his Chinese club.
Meanwhile, AS Roma signed Greece utility Vasilios Torosidis from Olympiacos. At Napoli, chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis is after a promising Serbian by the name of Josip Radosevic, currently with Hajduk Split, and already first choice for the Serbian national team.
Line up for jobs here
Italy's high unemployment rate cannot be attributed to local football clubs.
Just stop and think of the many coaches they provide with a salary at the beginning and during the season. The latest casualty is Genoa’s Luigi Delneri who was hired to replace Di Canio.
He will be replaced by Davide Ballardini who coached Genoa in the 2010-2011 season. Don’t ask me why he was sacked a few months ago but is a saviour now.
The Diving Ponytail has enough
Tough time for Roberto Baggio. He has just resigned from his position as head of the so-called-technical sector of the Italian Federation.
The reason? Nobody read his reports nor did anything about them.
The last straw? He was kept waiting for five hours when he went to the Federation headquarters in Rome in order to present his latest report!
He will probably end up heading the youth sector at second division Brescia.
Former Napoli player Francesco Montervino has been playing for Salernitana in the fourth tier this season. Enough to frustrate the most sedate of players. Which Montervino is not.
In a match against Aversa Normanna he celebrated his team’s winning goal by insulting opposing supporters and, for good measure, spitting at them. He has been suspended for six games. The judiciary did not accept his version that “it was all a misunderstanding”.
Slow wheels of justice
In Southern Italy the links between football clubs and the Mafia (and its derivates: Sacra Corona Unita, 'Ndrangheta and Camorra) have been well documented over the years.
The latest chapter of a very long book was written a few days ago by the Naples tribunal, which charged the chairman of second division Juve Stabia, Franco Manniello, with involvement - surprise, surprise - in the buying and selling of matches.
Mr. Manniello, believe it or not, welcomed the opportunity to prove his innocence, and is happy that matters have come to a final chapter after inquiries that have lasted four years. Italian (in)justice is somewhat slow.
Sticking by the wrong man
Chairmen of Italian clubs are, in most cases, distinguished, and successful, businessmen. The only problem is that, now and then, they lose their temper. Particularly at election time for the Serie A League Council.
At the last meeting for the election of the chairman, all hell broke loose. Ignoring common sense, and the wishes of Juventus, Fiorentina, Inter and Roma, the other clubs voted for retaining as Chairman a guy by the name of Maurizio Beretta.
He’s been there for over a year, has been at the centre of various controversies, has got a very demanding day job but is clinging to the Lega chair as if his life depended on it.
And at the end of the voting, Catania chairman Pulvirenti described Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, the youngest in Serie A, as “hysteric spinster in an abstinence crisis”.
Just as well Pulvirenti did not choose a career in diplomacy.
Fans behaving badly
“Vesuvius, wash them with fire!” was the charming invitation by Juventus supporters to the local volcano in Naples to deal with Napoli fans.
The Disciplinary Committee of Serie A, obviously, missed the joke, and sentenced Juventus to pay a fine of 10,000 euros. A mild decision, taken in consideration of the great effort by Juventus officials to stop the hooligans.
A bit of perspective
Spare a thought for Carmelo Imbriani, the 36 year-old former Napoli player. He is in a Perugia hospital battling a rare form of cancer. He wrote a letter to his former supporters, friends, coaches and fellow players
“It’s tough. It’s really tough – he wrote - I would have never thought that I would have had to play a match so difficult to win, but I want to try”.
Let’s think of him next time we are about to argue over a doubtful off-side or a penalty decision.
On another sad note, let’s remember briefly the former Sampdoria chairman Riccardo Garrone. One the rare gentlemen in Italian football, Garrone passed away this week after a long illness. The club will be run by his sons.
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