Juventus must find a way to cope with Dortmund’s pressure

February 25, 2015

“The greatest aspect of top-level European competition is the opportunity to witness contrasting footballing styles face one another; pleasingly, despite the globalisation of football and the increased movement of players and coaches across borders, obvious differences remain between Europe’s best leagues. The obvious example from this week’s set of Champions League fixtures is the clash between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus in Turin on Tuesday night. Whereas some of the second round ties are frustratingly familiar — Manchester City vs. Barcelona, PSG vs. Chelsea, Schalke vs. Real Madrid — these two sides haven’t met since the European Cup final of 1997. The clash of styles should be fascinating.” ESPN – Michael Cox

Parma’s downfall pains a city and its people and there is little cause for hope

February 23, 2015

“Faustino Asprilla is not a man who prefers to dwell on the negatives in life. Not if his Twitter account is anything to go by, at any rate. A quick scan of his last 10 days online reveals a chaotic mix of Oscars commentary, support for Colombian athletes, and coarse visual gags. That and photos of himself grinning. Grinning at a carnival, grinning on a boat, grinning while surrounded by half-naked women (warning: the last one is not something to click on at work). On Friday he posted a photo of himself grinning on a football pitch, too, and wearing the colours of his former club, Parma. But for once, Asprilla’s accompanying words lacked their customary exuberance. ‘Very sad to see what’s happening to Parma,’ he wrote.” Guardian

Milan fans deserve your condolences, because their team is unrecognizable

February 15, 2015

“Last Saturday, soccer fiends across the globe were licking their lips at the line-up of matches in Europe. There was a North London derby, a Merseyside derby, a Madrid derby, and over in Italy, defending champion Juventus was hosting Milan. The Merseyside derby was an unspeakably dull affair, but it was still not as disappointing as the showdown in Turin. It was hard to watch Juve-Milan without a tinge of sadness. Milan — one of the most successful clubs in the sport, remember –wasn’t even at the races. This wasn’t just a case of Juve’s players being more motivated, or superior coaching, or even a one-off result for the ages. The bianconeri’s win over its once fierce rivals was much worse than a historic pasting. Sadly, the 3-1 win felt … routine.” Soccer Gods

Mediocrity in Milan

February 3, 2015

“Through 20 Serie A matches so far this season, AC Milan and Inter Milan have the same number of points. A few years ago, this would mean they were neck-and-neck for one of the top slots in Italy’s first division. I mean, these clubs are not only based in the same city but have also both won 18 scudetti, or Serie A titles. This season, as they sit 10th and 11th place, they’re knotted in mediocrity.” Soccer Pro

The decline of Serie A
“For football fans over a certain age there is no greater fall in modern football than what has happened in Italy during the past fifteen years. Serie A, the top division of Italian football, seemed like an unstoppable force throughout the 1990s. Shown live on Channel 4 in the UK and Ireland every Sunday the league brought glamour and entertainment to a sport slowly emerging from the disasters of the 1980s and was a huge contributor to what football has become today. Serie A in the late nineties was, arguably, the greatest football league of all time.” backpagefootball

Hellas Verona: The Brigate Gialloblu

February 3, 2015

“Few cities and even fewer teams, have the ability to pierce fear into the hearts of opponents. The combination becomes much rarer, when the city has been awarded the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the team has been on the fringes of its national league for quite some time. Welcome to Verona, the third largest city in northeast Italy, famous for being William Shakespeare’s setting for Romeo and Juliet and infamous for being a rat’s nest, when it comes to football. Verona, is a perfect example of the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the Italians.” Outside of the Boot

The story of Ernö Erbstein, who survived Hungary’s Holocaust to coach Torino

January 22, 2015

Ernö Erbstein, far right, lines up with his Torino team before the friendly against Benfica on 3 May 1949. Tragically the entire Torino team was killed the following day in the Superga air disaster.
“Ernö Egri Erbstein was a pioneering coach who created Il Grande Torino, the great side that won five successive Serie A titles. He was killed with the rest of his squad in the plane crash at Superga in 1949. Erbstein was part of the great Jewish Hungarian football tradition of the 20s and 30s and had begun to make a name for himself as a coach in Italy but when the Manifesto of Race was passed by Mussolini shortly before the second world war broke out, the newly appointed Torino coach was forced to flee the country where he had made his home. He eventually returned to Budapest with his wife, Jolàn, and his two daughters, Marta and Susanna, but their lives were devastated when, in March 1944, his homeland was occupied by Nazi Germany.” Guardian

Blood lust for power : The fascinating history of Inter Milan Ultras

January 22, 2015

“Even the most casual followers of Italian football are aware of the dark history of the rivalry between the Milan clubs. The peak of the violence associated with the fixture between the two may have been a long time ago but the Inter Milan Ultras are still very much in the forefront of matters. Joseph Solomon traces the origin and history of ‘organized groups’ of the Nerazzuri.” Outside of the Boot


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