Author Topic: Serie A  (Read 183485 times)

Offline TSC

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2680 on: September 12, 2021, 09:42:33 pm »
Roma just scored a last minute winner and Mourinho went off on one of his sprints down the touch line to celebrate in front of fans.  Tool.

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2681 on: September 12, 2021, 09:51:54 pm »
Roma just scored a last minute winner and Mourinho went off on one of his sprints down the touch line to celebrate in front of fans.  Tool.

Fuck Roma.
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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2682 on: September 13, 2021, 03:26:51 am »
Rui Patricio had an absolute blinder for Roma.

Tough loss for Sassuolo - on another day they'd have won that by a couple.

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2683 on: September 13, 2021, 03:34:55 pm »
Milan -  Lazio was a team still trying to get to grips with a new coach's ideas versus a sharper,  more cohesive side ( Milan).  Leao had a lot of joy down his flank,  deserved win for Milan. 

Offline Drinks Sangria

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2684 on: September 14, 2021, 12:06:18 pm »
Milan -  Lazio was a team still trying to get to grips with a new coach's ideas versus a sharper,  more cohesive side ( Milan).  Leao had a lot of joy down his flank,  deserved win for Milan.
Agree with this and Leao always looks better wide rather than central, he needs space. Nuts to see Ibrahimovic still doing it at his age.

Genoa Cagliari was a fun game, Genoa coming from 2-0 down with just over half an hour left to win it 3-2. Always good to see Juve lose and my favourite Italian team, Fiorentina, surprised most by winning at an Atalanta side that's looking way off their usual clinical standard after 3 games played. Maybe a few too many key players have been allowed to leave. I'm sure they'll pull themselves together but can't see them being the threat in Europe that they were last season.

Vlahovic bagging another 2 for La Viola, to take his tally to 3 in 3 for this season, 2 of those penalties though.
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Offline DelTrotter

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2685 on: September 18, 2021, 06:04:30 pm »
Dumfries looking decent, Inter will be fun to watch this season.

Offline Hazell

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2686 on: September 19, 2021, 07:50:29 pm »
Milan a goal down in the 4th minute, defending like they were a goal down in the final minute.
We have to change from doubter to believer. Now.

Offline 67CherryRed

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2687 on: September 19, 2021, 07:51:20 pm »
Suicidal defending that. Was expecting a pull and red card, he seemed to have a nibble.

Offline Drinks Sangria

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2688 on: September 20, 2021, 05:24:29 pm »
A curate's egg of a result in Genoa - a Fiorentina win with multiple goals scored where Dusan Vlahovic doesn't get any. It's early doors but even after the Gattuso debacle, Italiano seems to have galvanised a squad that I predicted disaster for towards the back end of last season. I'm often fatalistic when it comes to La Viola though, and keeping Vlahovic as well as adding the exciting Gonzalez was a good summer. It's also a minor miracle that Milenkovic and Dragowski are still there.

Allegri continues to struggle to get a tune out of the Old Lady, who Rebic loves to score against. Atalanta struggled again but found a way past relegation candidates Salernitana and Napoli are away at Udinese tonight for those interested.

Oh, and check out Mourinho's face at full time after the defeat away to Verona - we've seen it a lot in recent years at Utd and Spurs, but it never gets old  ;D

One of the Milan clubs or Napoli this season. Juventus with their worst start in 60 years, winless and currently in the relegation zone. Of course they'll recover, but it's so sweet while it lasts.

This season is going to be so tight at the top and it's so hard to predict who'll win it. With the players that left the league though, Serie A doesn't have the quality or star power it did last season, but still remains one of the most watchable divisions.
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Offline disgraced cake

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2689 on: September 20, 2021, 05:33:54 pm »
At this stage I don't think Napoli will get a better chance. Juventus don't look like they have the capabilities this season but may improve under Allegri. AC Milan don't look ready to go all the way. Inter probably have a decent chance of retaining but probably won't be as consistent as last season. Good start for Dzeko in Milan though, he might have a big couple of years there, which could be his last at the stage of his career.
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Offline PoetryInMotion

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2690 on: September 20, 2021, 08:18:04 pm »
Osimhen scores for Napoli as they lead against Udinese

Offline OOS

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2691 on: September 20, 2021, 08:22:09 pm »
One of the best set pieces I have ever seen. Rare they come off!
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Offline PoetryInMotion

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2692 on: September 20, 2021, 09:00:06 pm »
Napoli are 3-0 up and are heading to the top of Serie-A

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2693 on: September 20, 2021, 09:02:04 pm »
A curate's egg of a result in Genoa - a Fiorentina win with multiple goals scored where Dusan Vlahovic doesn't get any. It's early doors but even after the Gattuso debacle, Italiano seems to have galvanised a squad that I predicted disaster for towards the back end of last season. I'm often fatalistic when it comes to La Viola though, and keeping Vlahovic as well as adding the exciting Gonzalez was a good summer. It's also a minor miracle that Milenkovic and Dragowski are still there.

Allegri continues to struggle to get a tune out of the Old Lady, who Rebic loves to score against. Atalanta struggled again but found a way past relegation candidates Salernitana and Napoli are away at Udinese tonight for those interested.

Oh, and check out Mourinho's face at full time after the defeat away to Verona - we've seen it a lot in recent years at Utd and Spurs, but it never gets old  ;D

One of the Milan clubs or Napoli this season. Juventus with their worst start in 60 years, winless and currently in the relegation zone. Of course they'll recover, but it's so sweet while it lasts.

This season is going to be so tight at the top and it's so hard to predict who'll win it. With the players that left the league though, Serie A doesn't have the quality or star power it did last season, but still remains one of the most watchable divisions.

It's intriguing this season. Proper title race again after years of Juve pissing it (and Inter ran away with it in the end last year).

Serie A needs a strong AC Milan and they seem to be getting back on track. A shame Inter lost key players and Conte, but in a way it opens up the title race this season. Then there's the likes of Roma, Napoli, Atalanta and Lazio who are all capable of a top 4 push.
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Offline whtwht

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2694 on: September 20, 2021, 09:05:17 pm »
Napoli looking decent tonight v Udinese. 3 nil up. 60 mins played
He'll win the league in the next 3 years. Quote me on that.
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Offline Drinks Sangria

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2695 on: September 21, 2021, 02:30:59 pm »
It's intriguing this season. Proper title race again after years of Juve pissing it (and Inter ran away with it in the end last year).

Serie A needs a strong AC Milan and they seem to be getting back on track. A shame Inter lost key players and Conte, but in a way it opens up the title race this season. Then there's the likes of Roma, Napoli, Atalanta and Lazio who are all capable of a top 4 push.
Good to see AC Milan back at the top table to an extent, it's good for the league as you say. Lazio, Atalanta and Napoli have all made failed title pushes in recent years, none getting particularly close in the end. Lazio and the boys from Bergamo will be more inconsistent than ever this season I reckon, reacting to losing key players, management and the change in the league. It's competitive for sure. Mourinho may improve Roma.

At this stage I don't think Napoli will get a better chance. Juventus don't look like they have the capabilities this season but may improve under Allegri. AC Milan don't look ready to go all the way. Inter probably have a decent chance of retaining but probably won't be as consistent as last season. Good start for Dzeko in Milan though, he might have a big couple of years there, which could be his last at the stage of his career.
It really is now or never. Juve won't falter for too much longer, they're far too big a club. Inter have been weakened and will probably continue to get weaker given their financial constraints, but still have a reasonable side. Napoli came so close for years, they need to win it now or maybe at a push next season, but I really think this is the year if they're going to do it. Looked very good in thumping Udinese away from home 4-0 last night.

Dzeko is an interesting striker. He was good in England but perhaps not glamourous enough for the City ego, but had a good record there, and now has a near 1 in 2 in Italy in around 200 games, joining Roma at 30 and now 35 and going strong. I'd be unsurprised if he kept it up for the rest of this season and even next.
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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2696 on: September 21, 2021, 02:38:06 pm »
Dzeko has done a great job prolonging his career, his drop off is expected but he's exceeded expectations given his age. His record in Italy has been great.

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2697 on: September 21, 2021, 02:47:23 pm »
Napoli looking decent tonight v Udinese. 3 nil up. 60 mins played
Elif Elmas would be such under the radar good signing for us.

Offline Drinks Sangria

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2698 on: September 21, 2021, 02:47:29 pm »
Dzeko has done a great job prolonging his career, his drop off is expected but he's exceeded expectations given his age. His record in Italy has been great.
It's probably not an equitable example because times have changed and we're so far removed from that era, but Italy is the land of the aged-Capocannoniere. Ibra, Di Natale, Milito, Toni, Maccarone, Del Piero, Totti, Hubner, Pellissier, Lucarelli have all had 20+ goal plus league seasons post 33, with Toni winning it at 38!

When Toni and Hubner were interviewed recently (because Toni broke Hubner's 15 year-old record of being the oldest golden boot winner), they agreed that despite the body aging, they both had the sharpest minds they'd had in their career because in their early careers and primes, the entire league was littered with world class defenders. Every week it would be a Thuram, a Cannavaro, a Nesta, a Vierchowod, a Costacurta or an Aldair to contend with. Year on year, the top teams had sensational defenders and even the lower sides had typically hardy, well-drilled and tactically disciplined defenders. So when the league started to significantly weaken post-Calciopoli (even more so post Mourinho departure) the older experienced strikers were able to still hoover up and be effective even when past their physical primes.
“Seeing these smiling faces is the greatest pleasure. They have been magnificent all season. They have been our 12th man. I have always said our fans are the best in England. Now I know they are the best in Europe too.” Rafa Benitez

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2699 on: September 21, 2021, 02:51:38 pm »
Dzeko, Ibra, Giroud (it seems he will do fine as well) etc these players deserve praise and credit for playing at that level despite their age but it seems like Italy is now a good spot for players who are at the end of their careers.

I can definitely see Immobile playing up to his late 30's in Serie A.

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2700 on: September 21, 2021, 04:20:11 pm »
Dzeko, Ibra, Giroud (it seems he will do fine as well) etc these players deserve praise and credit for playing at that level despite their age but it seems like Italy is now a good spot for players who are at the end of their careers.

I can definitely see Immobile playing up to his late 30's in Serie A.

Maybe Serie A will eventually become like the Chinese league. A place for players to go in the autumn of their careers?
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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2701 on: September 22, 2021, 06:37:10 pm »
Juventus 2-1 down to Spezia. I mean, they're right in a relegation battle now.

Oh well.
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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2702 on: September 22, 2021, 06:45:21 pm »
Rabiot is such an average player.

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2703 on: September 22, 2021, 06:46:13 pm »
Maybe Serie A will eventually become like the Chinese league. A place for players to go in the autumn of their careers?
It will help validate your British superiority complex, that's for sure.

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2704 on: September 22, 2021, 06:47:31 pm »
Rabiot is such an average player.

He always hiding for me and looks so scared of taking the game by the scruff of the neck. Frightened Rabiot, if you will.
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Offline gerrardisgod

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2705 on: September 22, 2021, 06:53:42 pm »
Chiesa’s boss.
AHA!

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2706 on: September 22, 2021, 06:57:00 pm »
"Our goalkeeper scored more goals in the Premier League than our back up centre forward" September 2021

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2707 on: September 22, 2021, 07:41:25 pm »
He always hiding for me and looks so scared of taking the game by the scruff of the neck. Frightened Rabiot, if you will.

Just awful... ;D
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Offline Hazell

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2708 on: September 22, 2021, 07:46:03 pm »
We have to change from doubter to believer. Now.

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2709 on: September 22, 2021, 07:49:38 pm »
You should be less rude :P

I'll try to get that down my Gullit...
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Offline Linudden

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2710 on: September 22, 2021, 08:27:47 pm »
Maybe Serie A will eventually become like the Chinese league. A place for players to go in the autumn of their careers?

That's way too much. Ibrahimovic is still a top athlete except injury-prone nowadays and never relied on pace. It still remains a very good league but obviously both Italy and Spain are feeling the ramifications of the respective economies not being what they used to be. Italian worker salaries are a lot lower than in France, who in turn have a lot lower salaries than Germany. An ageing population in combination with insane levels of casual tax dodging and a very high unemployment rate also renders problems on that front. There's not much money going around in Italy nowadays and that contributes to the football league losing relative strength. There's simply a lot less consumer demand than there used to be since the Italian population have a lot lower margins than they used to have, thus spending less and less money on football tickets and TV subscriptions.

Still, most Italian players tend to remain in their home country like they've always done and that's always going to form a very strong base for the league. French players are a lot more willing to move abroad than Italians are. Presumably the relatively low rate of English speakers discourages Italian players from wanting to move since they end up a lot more isolated in foreign clubs than French or Spanish-speaking players unless they've learned fluent English at school. I think that's part of why many players seem to flop abroad but immediately star when they get back home again like Immobile did. They just feel a lot more at home in their surroundings and since Italy has 60 million people; more than England; that's always going to lead to a pretty good league.

Being the best in the world again isn't going to happen though. The reason it happened was mostly a dick-swinging contest between Berlusconi and Agnelli regarding who was the biggest boss. Hence their nutcase bidding war for Gianluigi Lentini in 1992 ending with Milan setting the world transfer record for a decent Torino winger which never made any sense. Then with the Italian economy doing well at the time, financiers like Garrone at Sampdoria, Tanzi at Parma, Sensi at Roma and Cragnotti at Lazio who all thought they had more money than they actually did spent a lot into making more than just a couple of clubs contenders. Nowadays, there aren't people around like that who genuinely supported clubs as a kid and spend money just to win titles. That's another effect of the decline of the Italian economy.

With the Juve monopoly ending with the Ronaldo wages black hole at least from a competitive standpoint the league might get reinvigorated because it might become the most interesting top league where several clubs could win every year. So long as Juve don't return to the 2010's there's a future for Italian football in that sense. Ideally it could end in a scenario where the big six clubs are within 15 points of each other every year.  Roma and the Milanese clubs finishing new stadiums would also be crucial. Hopefully Napoli and Lazio could also get football-specific stadiums at some point. That would probably start building the league up from the dark place it's been stuck in for years now.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 08:31:44 pm by Linudden »

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2711 on: September 23, 2021, 03:52:11 pm »
Great post, Linudden, really interesting. I'm actually writing a book about the nuts owners in the Italian game - all those names above are included plus a few more.

The one thing I take exception to is calling Gigi Lentini an average winger - did he deserve the World Record Fee? No, but he was fast, strong, took up really good positions and was a nightmare to defend against. He worked hard too and produced bucket-loads of assists. What's insane is that even after the accident, which took his best away from him, he still played professionally for a further 15 years, until he was 39.

After his accident, he had dizzy spells, memory loss, blackouts. His balance just went and he had to rebuild himself basically. Won 3 Serie As and a Champions League, would have done more if not for the crash.

Shame Juventus found a way to win last night.
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Offline Linudden

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2712 on: September 23, 2021, 04:13:48 pm »
Great post, Linudden, really interesting. I'm actually writing a book about the nuts owners in the Italian game - all those names above are included plus a few more.

The one thing I take exception to is calling Gigi Lentini an average winger - did he deserve the World Record Fee? No, but he was fast, strong, took up really good positions and was a nightmare to defend against. He worked hard too and produced bucket-loads of assists. What's insane is that even after the accident, which took his best away from him, he still played professionally for a further 15 years, until he was 39.

After his accident, he had dizzy spells, memory loss, blackouts. His balance just went and he had to rebuild himself basically. Won 3 Serie As and a Champions League, would have done more if not for the crash.

That book would be interesting  :wave

Lentini was clearly good, but obviously he was a victim of the circumstances both regarding his transfer bidding war and the subsequent car accident. It was simply Milan poaching a player they didn't really need at the time in order to prevent Juve from getting him and obviously Toro were quite happy to go along with that for obvious intra-city rivalry reasons. It wasn't really a knock on him to call him a 'decent winger' it was just the buy everything in sight cost what it may-mentality of Italian football in the early 90's that was a bit off! It's basically the equivalent of buying Jack Grealish for 100 mil today or whatever Barca paid for Dembélé. Just above the odds by a mile.

It always struck me that Dossena and Aquilani seemed very isolated and lacking social comfort at Liverpool, presumably because everyone was either speaking Spanish or English in the locker room and they were on their own. I think that common factor will remain for long and prevent many Italians from moving to more lucrative leagues.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2021, 04:15:49 pm by Linudden »

Offline Yorkykopite

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2713 on: September 23, 2021, 04:21:30 pm »
That's way too much. Ibrahimovic is still a top athlete except injury-prone nowadays and never relied on pace. It still remains a very good league but obviously both Italy and Spain are feeling the ramifications of the respective economies not being what they used to be. Italian worker salaries are a lot lower than in France, who in turn have a lot lower salaries than Germany. An ageing population in combination with insane levels of casual tax dodging and a very high unemployment rate also renders problems on that front. There's not much money going around in Italy nowadays and that contributes to the football league losing relative strength. There's simply a lot less consumer demand than there used to be since the Italian population have a lot lower margins than they used to have, thus spending less and less money on football tickets and TV subscriptions.

Still, most Italian players tend to remain in their home country like they've always done and that's always going to form a very strong base for the league. French players are a lot more willing to move abroad than Italians are. Presumably the relatively low rate of English speakers discourages Italian players from wanting to move since they end up a lot more isolated in foreign clubs than French or Spanish-speaking players unless they've learned fluent English at school. I think that's part of why many players seem to flop abroad but immediately star when they get back home again like Immobile did. They just feel a lot more at home in their surroundings and since Italy has 60 million people; more than England; that's always going to lead to a pretty good league.

Being the best in the world again isn't going to happen though. The reason it happened was mostly a dick-swinging contest between Berlusconi and Agnelli regarding who was the biggest boss. Hence their nutcase bidding war for Gianluigi Lentini in 1992 ending with Milan setting the world transfer record for a decent Torino winger which never made any sense. Then with the Italian economy doing well at the time, financiers like Garrone at Sampdoria, Tanzi at Parma, Sensi at Roma and Cragnotti at Lazio who all thought they had more money than they actually did spent a lot into making more than just a couple of clubs contenders. Nowadays, there aren't people around like that who genuinely supported clubs as a kid and spend money just to win titles. That's another effect of the decline of the Italian economy.

With the Juve monopoly ending with the Ronaldo wages black hole at least from a competitive standpoint the league might get reinvigorated because it might become the most interesting top league where several clubs could win every year. So long as Juve don't return to the 2010's there's a future for Italian football in that sense. Ideally it could end in a scenario where the big six clubs are within 15 points of each other every year.  Roma and the Milanese clubs finishing new stadiums would also be crucial. Hopefully Napoli and Lazio could also get football-specific stadiums at some point. That would probably start building the league up from the dark place it's been stuck in for years now.

Yes, lovely post.

I think after the English league, the Italian is by far the most interesting - historically speaking. There are no more than 3 great clubs in Spain for example, 3 in Holland, 3 in Portugal, and just 2 in Germany. France doesn't rate at all. But Italy has produced many great clubs, as well as teams. There hasn't been nearly as many league champions as there are in England (something like 25), but there have been quite a few.

From the outside however it appears to have been in slow decline for a while now. The crowds dwindled away, then the great players, then the European success.
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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2714 on: September 23, 2021, 04:54:15 pm »
Yes, lovely post.

I think after the English league, the Italian is by far the most interesting - historically speaking. There are no more than 3 great clubs in Spain for example, 3 in Holland, 3 in Portugal, and just 2 in Germany. France doesn't rate at all. But Italy has produced many great clubs, as well as teams. There hasn't been nearly as many league champions as there are in England (something like 25), but there have been quite a few.

From the outside however it appears to have been in slow decline for a while now. The crowds dwindled away, then the great players, then the European success.

The crowds thing is also related to Tessera del Tifoso (https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&u=https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessera_del_tifoso) which is a supporter ID card that made it a lot more difficult to attend football matches in the wake of the death of a police officer in Catania from a grenade in 2007. A lot of supporter clubs decided to boycott games once it was introduced and that further dwindled the stands.

One further problem Italian clubs have been facing is that due to the 00's hooliganism only the ultras remained because it became a hostile environment for casual fans who found it a lot more comfortable to watch the games on the TV instead. The issue there is that the ultras are often made up of social and political extremists of either persuation. Several clubs like Cagliari, Lazio and Verona have these problems where local neo-fascists have hijacked the stands which has resulted in horrific scenes of racial abuse towards players and further pushed normal people away from attending. We also shouldn't forget the Livorno ultras' annual Stalin banners on his birthdays which are very untasteful as well.

It's been a vicious cycle for many years because if there's one thing Italian clubs need to help eliminate racism in their stands is that normal people attend games in place of those ultras groups. Then said racist thugs hide inside the crowds, making them hard to spot and thus the clubs have to work very hard to get them out. In turn, that also means black players are less likely to choose an Italian club over English ones (Demba Ba spoke about it publicly) and that further pushes the level of the league down. Back in 2001 Inter were desperate to sign Sol Campbell but he turned it down over the racial abuse black players tended to receive and sadly it's not gotten much better since.

So, in many ways, the horrendous racism in the stands and the inability to fight it off has definitely also contributed to the decline of Italian football. Hopefully this young TikTok star that's doing the rounds (like 110 million followers?) now will help Italian society to be more tolerant towards people of colour but it remains to be seen. Sadly, Balotelli not succeeding was a missed opportunity for Italian football in general. Had he become one of the Italian greats he could've had a tremendous impact and helped social change in that sense. Had he fulfilled the potential he had back in his teenage years and been the best striker in the world for a decade I don't think there would've been scenes like there still are in the Italian grandstands. Which is such a shame  :-\

The even greater tragedy is that it would take a footballer succeeding for a footballing culture to realise racism is never okay. Sadly, I don't think there's any other way than a black Italian superstar conquering the world to win that battle against racism in Italy at this moment in time.

To end on a lighter note, it's true that Italian football has generally always been very competitive like you said. That's why the Juventus dominance was rather devastating because even back during the Milan dynasty there were titles for Napoli, Sampdoria and Juventus sprinkled in there and between 1999 and 2002 there were four different winners in a row (Milan, Lazio, Roma, Juventus), which is rather unthinkable even in England with all the well-financed clubs around. Hopefully it remains like last year so it doesn't revert back to the pre-2020 shambles of Juve sweeping everything.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2021, 05:13:22 pm by Linudden »

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2715 on: September 23, 2021, 05:18:29 pm »
Brilliant contributions to this thread, Linudden.

In regards to league 'Golden Ages', I'd argue that 1986 - 1994 Serie A is maybe the greatest football league of all time and if not, Serie A 1998 - 2004.

The Premier League had some dominance in the mid-late 00s, but not the massive swathe of quality across the league that was late 80s/early 90s Serie A.
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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2716 on: September 23, 2021, 05:27:11 pm »

To end on a lighter note, it's true that Italian football has generally always been very competitive like you said. That's why the Juventus dominance was rather devastating because even back during the Milan dynasty there were titles for Napoli, Sampdoria and Juventus sprinkled in there and between 1999 and 2002 there were four different winners in a row (Milan, Lazio, Roma, Juventus), which is rather unthinkable even in England with all the well-financed clubs around.

Although it did happen in England between 2012-16 when Man United, Man City, Leicester and Chelsea were consecutive champions.

And for all the recent worrying issues around Man City's financial doping no club in England has ever got beyond 3 Titles in a row. (Huddersfield & Arsenal between the wars, Liverpool & Man United since the Second World War). 
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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2717 on: September 23, 2021, 05:47:10 pm »
Although it did happen in England between 2012-16 when Man United, Man City, Leicester and Chelsea were consecutive champions.

And for all the recent worrying issues around Man City's financial doping no club in England has ever got beyond 3 Titles in a row. (Huddersfield & Arsenal between the wars, Liverpool & Man United since the Second World War).

Good point, but Leicester winning was definitely not in the logic books but fair play to you and them  :wave

What essentially did happen back then in Italy though was that four true world football powerhouses alternated to win the league and finished it off by an all-Italian final at Old Trafford in 2003. On the other hand, 2013-16 was a very bad age for English clubs in Europe instead. Those were the days when the mighty Ludogorets came to Anfield and didn't look out of place so to speak. Paradoxically though, prior to the Old Trafford final between Milan and Juventus, the Italian clubs had come from a few poor years in Europe, arguably because the domestic league took so much juice out of the teams. The most embarassing was when Inter got knocked out by Swedish relative minnows Helsingborg (!) in the 2000 Champions League qualifiers.

Helsingborg's Champions League run and the 'San Siro miracle' (technically Meazza yah yah yah  ;D) is a funny anecdote by the way because then their Scanian rivals Malmö were in the second tier, but crucially had a young Zlatan (very much connected to the Serie A obviously). As a result of Malmö selling Zlatan for £6 million the year after, they built a foundation enough to be in the Champions League 21 years later... with Helsingborg in the second tier and nearly bankrupt. Funny old game sometimes.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2021, 05:56:57 pm by Linudden »

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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2718 on: September 23, 2021, 05:54:16 pm »
The crowds thing is also related to Tessera del Tifoso (https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=it&tl=en&u=https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessera_del_tifoso) which is a supporter ID card that made it a lot more difficult to attend football matches in the wake of the death of a police officer in Catania from a grenade in 2007. A lot of supporter clubs decided to boycott games once it was introduced and that further dwindled the stands.

One further problem Italian clubs have been facing is that due to the 00's hooliganism only the ultras remained because it became a hostile environment for casual fans who found it a lot more comfortable to watch the games on the TV instead. The issue there is that the ultras are often made up of social and political extremists of either persuation. Several clubs like Cagliari, Lazio and Verona have these problems where local neo-fascists have hijacked the stands which has resulted in horrific scenes of racial abuse towards players and further pushed normal people away from attending. We also shouldn't forget the Livorno ultras' annual Stalin banners on his birthdays which are very untasteful as well.

It's been a vicious cycle for many years because if there's one thing Italian clubs need to help eliminate racism in their stands is that normal people attend games in place of those ultras groups. Then said racist thugs hide inside the crowds, making them hard to spot and thus the clubs have to work very hard to get them out. In turn, that also means black players are less likely to choose an Italian club over English ones (Demba Ba spoke about it publicly) and that further pushes the level of the league down. Back in 2001 Inter were desperate to sign Sol Campbell but he turned it down over the racial abuse black players tended to receive and sadly it's not gotten much better since.

So, in many ways, the horrendous racism in the stands and the inability to fight it off has definitely also contributed to the decline of Italian football. Hopefully this young TikTok star that's doing the rounds (like 110 million followers?) now will help Italian society to be more tolerant towards people of colour but it remains to be seen. Sadly, Balotelli not succeeding was a missed opportunity for Italian football in general. Had he become one of the Italian greats he could've had a tremendous impact and helped social change in that sense. Had he fulfilled the potential he had back in his teenage years and been the best striker in the world for a decade I don't think there would've been scenes like there still are in the Italian grandstands. Which is such a shame  :-\

The even greater tragedy is that it would take a footballer succeeding for a footballing culture to realise racism is never okay. Sadly, I don't think there's any other way than a black Italian superstar conquering the world to win that battle against racism in Italy at this moment in time.

To end on a lighter note, it's true that Italian football has generally always been very competitive like you said. That's why the Juventus dominance was rather devastating because even back during the Milan dynasty there were titles for Napoli, Sampdoria and Juventus sprinkled in there and between 1999 and 2002 there were four different winners in a row (Milan, Lazio, Roma, Juventus), which is rather unthinkable even in England with all the well-financed clubs around. Hopefully it remains like last year so it doesn't revert back to the pre-2020 shambles of Juve sweeping everything.

Great posts, Linudden. Just wanted to add that although having high-profile players of color is obviously fantastic, it unfortunately cannot solve racism or even move the needle significantly. People are excellent at compartmentalizing and making exceptions. The battle against racism in Italy and everywhere else is really a battle to revamp the entire global socio-economic system. But thank you for your insight, it's really interesting to read.
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Re: Serie A
« Reply #2719 on: September 23, 2021, 05:57:47 pm »
Good point, but Leicester winning was definitely not in the logic books but fair play to you and them  :wave

What essentially did happen back then in Italy though was that four true world football powerhouses alternated to win the league and finished it off by an all-Italian final at Old Trafford in 2003.

I remember the final. Amazing first 20 minutes and then both sides - characteristically? - decided they'd play for the 0-0 draw. Which is exactly what they got!

And to be fair, that final aside, this was not a good period for Italy in the Champions League. In the previous three tournaments only one Italian team ever got to the knock-out stages of the Champions League (Lazio got to the quarters in 2000).
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