As Italian football lurches from one problem to another, one wonders when the glory days will return.
Speaking from the heart
“I cannot see an Italian club winning the Champions League for many years. There is a huge gap between us and the others”. Before you get excited and start abusing me, bear in mind that the assessment comes from Antonio Conte, the Juventus coach, after his team's elimination from the UEFA Champions League at the hands (and feet) of Bayern Munich.
“In other countries they make investments and study new projects. In Italy we talk about referees and which actress a player goes out with. We have to contend with clubs such as Real, Bayern, Barcelona, PSG and they have a budget of $500 million a year.
"I think we should all do our best to improve Italian football. And when I say “we” I mean coaches, clubs, players, supporters, media," Conte added.
Enough said by the most successful Italian coach of the last two seasons. Anybody wishing to disagree with him?
Like father, like son
Don’t you love family traditions? The son who followed in his father’s footsteps, and all that?
Problem is, imitating your own father may be troublesome when his name is Luciano Moggi. However, nobody told his son Alessandro.
Like his father he became a player agent, setting up an agency that got into all sort of troubles.
No sooner had Alessandro resumed his activity, after a lengthy suspension, than he got into trouble again.
Italy’s finance police went to his luxury home and checked his company records - to prove that junior Moggi had evaded tax.
However, he claims he is completely innocent. Let’s wait for the next chapter of the intriguing story.
The silent derby?
Another Roman derby, another law and order disaster. Supporters of the two teams clashed outside Stadio Olimpico, a few of them got injured and police arrested five people.
In other words, history repeated itself in a place that once was a cradle of civilisation.
One person who has had enough is the government representative in Rome, Giuseppe Pecoraro.
According to him, future derbies will have to be played during the day, when police can control the crowds without taking unnecessary risks.
Get ready for a revolution.
No love lost
I was under the impression that Fabio Cannavaro had retired a long time ago. But I was wrong, again. He is still organising his farewell game.
The match will take place in Naples but the date is becoming a problem.
The event was meant to delight us all on the 13 of May but Napoli chairman and owner Aurelio De Laurentiis does not want to make the San Paolo available since maintenance work is meant to be carried out.
The new date is 2 September but it remains to be seen how many of the invited world stars will be available among those who had agreed enthusiastically to join Cannavaro for his official farewell.
By the way, this is the latest example of the relationship between Cannavaro and De Laurentiis that is not exactly friendly.
Proceeds will go towards the reconstruction of the “City of Science”, which was recently destroyed by a fire that was lit by Camorra, the local branch of the Mafia.
A fitting tribute
A statue is being built in Udine for Antonio Di Natale in order to celebrate the 150th goal he scored for Udinese, against Pescara.
Club officials and supporters hope that reaching such an unprecedented achievement will convince Di Natale to continue playing after the striker announced his decision to retire recently.
His greatest supporter, his wife, wants him to give up football before he becomes as slow as the statue in his honour.
Can you believe this? The Chairman of FIGC, the Italian football federation, Giancarlo Abete, said Italian football does not require technology to assist match offiicials.
He made his statement a couple of days after one of the most disastrous rounds of Serie A, in so far as referee decisions are concerned.
One has to wonder what is behind this reluctance to adopt the technology now available.
English football will not observe a minute silence to remember Margaret Thatcher’s death. The decision was made by the English FA. And just as well.
Maybe Italy should follow suit and stop observing a minute silence every time the final whistle blows for any Tom, Dick or Harry remotely linked to football.
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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.