Juventus will need to adopt a Paolo Di Canio level of self-belief if it hopes to overturn a woeful result against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.
Football school in Germany
It was a disaster for Juventus in Germany against Bayern Munich this week. The 2-0 score flattered the Italian side, which was dominated by its opponent to such an extent that the Bianconeri’s first shots at goal only came in the second half and caused no problems, anyway.
Juventus can garner some consolation from what transpired in the match between Bayern and Arsenal. The Germans won 3-1 away from home, but lost 0-2 at home, risking elimination. Such a miracle is, however, highly unlikely in the return leg in Turin next week, given the superiority shown by the German club.
Hopefully Gianluigi Buffon, the Juventus and national team goalkeeper, will be less generous than he was in Germany where he played the worst game of his entire career. But not even the most optimistic Juve supporter can imagine their club's strikers beating their opponent. Not to mention that it needs a 3-0 win to overcome the German side. So, the Bianconeri might as well look at the future that is next year's Champions League and Serie A.
In Italy, its superiority is such that only AC Milan is likely to pose any threat, but in Europe it's a different story altogether. Juve needs to strengthen its defence and, more importantly, its forward line. For a team belonging to the family that owns car manufacturer FIAT, extra horsepower is needed, particularly up front.
Modesty is a virtue
"I am not a racist nor a fascist nor a politician". These are the words of Paolo Di Canio after the controversy created by his appointment as Sunderland coach, a decision that has created much more than a ripple in England. Take, for instance, the resignation, in protest, of former Foreign Minister David Miliband from the Board of Directors.
After his clarification (see above), Di Canio has gone back to behaving like the modest and withdrawn soul he has always been, informing us that he likes Jose Mourinho a lot and that he intends following in the Portuguese's footsteps. With usual modesty, Di Canio has also provided journalists with a ready-made nickname. "If Mourinho is the Special One”, he said, “you can call me the Unique One". If only Sunderland’s results could match his self-belief.
Remember Felipe Melo? The Brazilian midfielder was deemed too unruly by Fiorentina and Juventus and left Italy. Well, he has found a new love – football-wise- in Turkey, becoming a key player for Galatasaray. He now lives in a luxury villa in Istanbul and commutes to and from the stadium in his Ferrari. It's not only the players you buy, but also the players you let go that makes a top team. A lesson not learnt by most club officials in Italy.
Clean sheets for Milan
AC Milan’s defence is considered the weak link of Massimiliano Allegri's team. This is because not many of us, myself included, check statistics properly. Believe it or not, Milan has not conceded goals in Serie A since the end of February and has beaten Lazio, Genoa, Palermo and Chievo, scoring 8 goals and collecting 12 points. Not bad for a team that, in the early stages of the competition, was in the relegation zone.
Tour of Italy
Cagliari continues its pilgrimage through various stadia in Sardinia and other regions in Italy. So much for professionalism. Having been kicked out of yet another location, the club is now negotiating with the Municipality of Terralba, 70 kilometres away from the Sardinian capital. It is interested in renting the local stadium for its home matches next season, solution that has "home" supporters up in arms already.
Siena needs all the encouragement it can get as it tries to avoid relegation. So it has come up with an interesting initiative for its home match against Parma, scheduled for Sunday. Every holder of a season ticket can take to the stadium, free of charge, one or two friends. The special price? Fifty cents – the price of desperation.
Inter loses special supporter
Inter Milan has lost a very special supporter. Maria Radaelli passed away near Milan, aged 104, this week. Last year an Inter representative was present at the celebrations for her 103rd birthday. When she died, she was on her bed, clutching a blanket. Nerazzurra, of course.
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Philip Micallef is a football writer with almost 40 years of experience. He has worked for News Limited and now SBS. He is a long-time follower of AC Milan.
A journalist with decades of experience on TV and radio, Tony is an expert on all things Italian - including football.