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Was it all down to Antonio Conte? Did signing Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal make all the difference? Could the contribution of the Juventus Stadium have been the key? Whatever your answers to all these questions, there is no doubt the Bianconeri were a team transformed when they picked up the Scudetto last season. And it set me wondering if their revival was the greatest ever seen in Serie A? So out came the almanacs to look at the biggest [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Sep - 3 - 2012 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Every parent has probably felt this way on at least one Christmas morning. They wonder why they ever bothered purchasing such a lavish present for their child, when they seem happier playing with the packaging. In these times of austerity, Italian football fans might well have to satisfy themselves with such simpler pleasures. When Milan, once the pin-up boys for purchasing power, are selling their crown jewels it is clearly a watershed moment. The days when Serie A presidents were [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Jul - 27 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

They may have looked about as nervous as a turkey with an invitation to a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, but in the end they made it. A jumpy, twitchy, seat-of-the-pants Italy display took them out of the group stages to the knockout rounds of a major championships. Some things never change. The Azzurri stepped into the last eight of Euro 2012 with probably their worst performance of the competition. The return to a 4-3-1-2 formation was supposed to bring familiarity [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Jun - 22 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Roberto Mancini is used to confounding the critics. They said Sampdoria could never win the Scudetto - but he teamed up with Gianluca Vialli to prove them wrong. Then his own Serie A colleagues questioned his coaching credentials - so he delivered silverware with every single team under his control. And now, in the most dramatic fashion, he has silenced those who thought he was not ready to manage in the English Premier League Back in his playing days, Mancio [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On May - 15 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

The stealthy sound of a bicycle tyre on the tarmac of the road behind you can be a terrifying sound. You know it means an imminent overtaking manoeuvre as you struggle on a gruelling uphill stretch. Then the mind tells you that you need to respond but - more often than not - the body is unable to do so. Right now, that is the kind of panic situation Fiorentina find themselves in. It has been a season when the [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Apr - 19 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

It all began with Inter against Birmingham City in 1955 and ended, for the time being at least, in a battle at Stamford Bridge last week. In between, there have been more than 200 clashes which have formed one of the major storylines of European football. When Italian and English clubs go head to head, you can usually turn the controversy meter up full blast. When you stack the stats up of their encounters in major competition, as analysts at [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Mar - 22 - 2012 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Health scares, multi-million pound on-off deals and the toppling of a prime minister. It has the makings of a political thriller that any dramatist would be proud off. Instead, it has been the script of Massimiliano Allegri’s awkward second season in charge of Milan. It is easy to forget just how rocky the waters have been in the background to his attempts to build on the foundations of a debut year Scudetto. The champagne had hardly dried on the carpets [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Feb - 14 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

The last time they finished first and second in Serie A has been cancelled from the record books by the Calciopoli scandal. Prior to that, you have to go back 16 years to find a time when they filled the champions and runners-up spot in the league table. So we should really give a warm welcome to a Juventus versus Milan Scudetto fight - it has certainly been a while. Of course, Udinese might have something to say this season [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Jan - 17 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

While the economy in Italy lurches from one crisis to another, there is an export market which shows no signs of a slump. Across Europe, it seems, there is a prized product of the peninsula which never sees demand dry up. An unerring rule of the football market appears to have been established: if you seek success and tactical acumen - go out and hire a Italian coach. The founding fathers of this global trade were the likes of Fabio [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Dec - 20 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

If you are ever planning a party, don’t invite Uruguay. They famously scuppered Brazil’s World Cup festivities back in 1950. And, on a much more minor scale, they burst the balloons blown up for the match to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification in Rome. It brought the Azzurri back down to earth after a victory over one of the hosts of next year’s European Nations a few days earlier. In truth, nobody was getting too carried away about [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Nov - 16 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

They are two of the games great executioners. Their preferred methods of delivering the coup de grace could hardly be more different, but they share the same efficient outcome. Back in 1998 it was Fabio Capello’s Milan who were on the receiving end of a cold-blooded calcio killing. If you want a masterclass in the respective abilities of Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi you need look no further. His Juve shirt billowing in the breeze, a fresh-faced Pinturicchio delivered [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Oct - 10 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

It just might be Serie A’s answer to a cold night at the Britannia Stadium. An icy December day at the Stadio Friuli is the kind of test that a pundit might think would be a step too far for a star foreign player, particularly a boy from Brazil. But, back in the 1980s, there was one golden player ready to prove them wrong. This was a time when the frontiers had not long reopened to Stranieri and Italy was [...]

Posted by Giancarlo Rinaldi On Aug - 26 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

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