Is this going to be the year where the Serie A begins it’s resurgence into the global soccer spotlight? No of course not. Come on, did you actually think I was going to say yes? Let’s be honest the Italian 1st league is not what it used to be. There are 3 issues: the player star power is diminished, the dominant teams have dissipated and the overall perception of the league is bad.
The league’s leading goal scorer Edison Cavani departed this summer and going back a few years they lost the two biggest stars in the league in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto’o. This summer there were some strong signings that bring some bigger names back to the league but no real marquee headliner. The biggest splash was Juventus acquiring Carlos Tevez from Manchester City. Juventus being the reigning champions and adding a big time scorer could increase their position for advancing in the Champions League. Napoli in order to make up for Cavani leaving signed a Real Madrid trio of Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon. They also signed former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina. Lastly the middle of the table teams, AS Roma and Fiorentina signed Gervinho and Mario Gomez respectively. If you add all those new acquisitions along with Mario Balotelli’s arrival mid last season you have some intrigue in the league but not enough.
This summer in the International Champions Cup, a few of the world’s premier teams competed in an eight team pre-season tournament, which included Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan. Juve finished winless losing to the LA Galaxy and tying both Inter Milan and Everton. Inter Milan was winless as well losing to Chelsea and Valencia and tied Juve. Finally, AC Milan finished 2-1-0 giving the Serie A their only wins in the tournament. It wasn’t a ringing endorsement for the Serie A and clearly it’s not in the Top 3 best leagues in the world. Right now I would say England, Spain and Germany are the top tiers with Italy and France tied behind them.
The performance on the field is one thing but the perception of the league is bad, very bad. Between match fixing scandals and fan’s racism it’s quite repulsive the state of the Serie A. The heart of the racism lies with the club Lazio. Just days ago Juventus defeated Lazio 4-0 and every time a black player on Juventus touched the ball the fans booed, they also do the same to their own players.
A warning was issued over the loud speaker but nothing changed. Lazio fans are also notorious for making monkey noises during the game. Oh and did I mention that Lazio captain Stefano Mauri was suspended for 6 months for his role in a match fixing scandal. Yep a class act club as you can see. The issue is spread throughout the league it’s not just one club. It really makes you think why would any international players decide to play in Italy if this is the way they are going to be treated.
We are far from the days when it was standard for an Italian side to be in the Champions League final. The last Italian club to win the Champions League was Inter Milan in 2010, also the last team to make the Semi-Finals. Before that you have to go back to AC Milan winning in 2007 and then losing in 2005.
Season Starts: August 24th
- AC Milan
- AS Roma
- Carlos Tevez – Juventus (Last Season: Edinson Cavani 29)
- Marek Hamsik – Napoli (Last Season: Marek Hamsik 14)