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The state of Italian Football


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When I was a kid Italian football (especially their domestic scene) was the maximum level a footballer could aspire to.  It was the Mount Olympus of the sport and if a player ended up there it was because they were ready to participate at the ultimate level of the game.

We all know Italian football over the past 10 years has had many many issues and like with many things in life it's very difficult to pinpoint the possible reasons behind the downfall as their are many theories which probably all have a credible reasoning in adding to it all... It's all been debated before!

But in recent years (maybe over the past 3 to 4 years) we've seen a kind of mini revival or at least what seems to be positiveness... For example, Juve have been to two Champions League Finals (although lost both convincingly) and continue to be competitive in the sense that even this season they've gotten to the quarters without too much effort.

But there's another way to look at things using the glass half empty method which isn't always a great way to do things as it's better to be positive.  The problem is that to advance and achieve in life, one must be auto critical and self evident...

  • Juve get destroyed in two Champions League Finals.
  • Italy's other high performing side, Napoli, are nowhere near being able to compete in Europe's elite tournament.
  • Italy's national side is a total shambles.
  • Italy's other great sides like Internazionale and AC Milan are a total joke (especially the latter).
  • Juve just got beaten with ease at home against Real Madrid (one of Spain's top sides battling it out against Italy's all powerful top side).
  • AS Roma have just been beaten 4-1 away to Barcelona in the QFs with Barça playing in 1st gear and with many errors.
  • In the Europa League Italian sides have been a shambles.

 

I could go on, but what football does in the think tank should end up being manifested on the field of play.  This isn't occurring with Italian football and it's slowly becoming a cult league with the possibility of it becoming or ending up like the Eredivisie... There is no reason why that can't occur!

So why is this happening and is it for real that Italian football, a once champion of champions is dying out for real.  What's the fix, where are the answers because you can't just use the club scene and its problems to explain it all because the national side itself is also a visible symptom of it all.

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38 minutes ago, Devon Von Devon said:

 

Are Italy and Netherlands in the same boat or both have different issues ?

When you listen to past players talking about the issues revolving both the Netherlands and Italy, both have one thing in common even if both footballing philosophies couldn't be more different historically.  Both pine for a return to the past without giving an ounce of thought that things have to change even if you can in some way hold onto some ideals.

Its a very complicated state of affairs and I would say each have their unique issues but both share others and it would be correct to say that there are various reasons as to why this has occurred.

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To be fair Juve was very unlucky, Chiellini and Buffon fucked up tremendously on the play that lead to Ronaldo's second goal. Also they played were well for most of the match and could have easily equalised and perhaps won. And i heard Barca was also very lucky vs Roma and that Roma got two pens denied so i feel it's not fair to base this on these results. But indeed Italian football it's not the same that it was back in the 90s, although i think it's slowly recovering thanks to all the new investors such as Inter's and Milan's and the better TV deal.

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I think they sort of missed the boat of that exponential wave of commercial success and revenue growth that came in the mid to late noughties, possibly off the back of the calciopoli scandal.

The size of their domestic market means they have a solid baseline for not dropping to eredivise levels but they have not advanced into being astute world class businesses the way many rivals have done. 

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England and Spain have leagues way ahead in terms of how they've been marketed. I don't think we can underestimate how damaging the match fixing scandal was for Serie A as they could have joined La Liga and Premier League in profiting from bumper deals.

Juventus are only just starting to recover to what they were but in the absence of the Milan clubs their nearest competitors have been Roma and Napoli who in this generation are pretty inexperienced when it comes to competing with elite clubs in Europe. 

Lazio are still in the Europa League to be fair and with a good chance to progress to the semi finals as they face Salzburg in this round.

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I think it's quite clear what's holding Italy back and largely it seems to be the stadiums. Juve were nowhere to be seen really before they moved into their current stadium, then all of a sudden they dominated Serie A and have reached two Champions League finals. If even just clubs like Roma (I know they've one on the way), Napoli, Inter, AC Milan could all improve their current stadium situation to the level Juventus have then they'd be so much better for it.

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2 hours ago, Danny said:

I think it's quite clear what's holding Italy back and largely it seems to be the stadiums. Juve were nowhere to be seen really before they moved into their current stadium, then all of a sudden they dominated Serie A and have reached two Champions League finals. If even just clubs like Roma (I know they've one on the way), Napoli, Inter, AC Milan could all improve their current stadium situation to the level Juventus have then they'd be so much better for it.

xD what

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21 hours ago, Berserker said:

To be fair Juve was very unlucky, Chiellini and Buffon fucked up tremendously on the play that lead to Ronaldo's second goal. Also they played were well for most of the match and could have easily equalised and perhaps won. And i heard Barca was also very lucky vs Roma and that Roma got two pens denied so i feel it's not fair to base this on these results. But indeed Italian football it's not the same that it was back in the 90s, although i think it's slowly recovering thanks to all the new investors such as Inter's and Milan's and the better TV deal.

There are two ways to look at this mate...

One way is to say as you have done that both results have extraordinary circumstances surrounding the final outcome based on luck in one case and based terrible effectively on the other with Juve.

But... Both results ended the same way, with the defeat of the two Italian clubs and convincingly.  With Real Madrid it was away from home and even though Juve had large spells of seeming dominance in terms of possession, they lost and they lost at home 0-3. When was the last time Juventus lost at home in Serie 'A' by 0-3?

With Roma, we can also say that Barcelona didn't get out of first gear and that in reality they didn't give Barça too much to think about which is why we had that display or even if we are more negative in regards to Barça and we just simply say they had a crap day and played badly, the result still ended 4-1 which is very very convincing indeed!

The results in both games (in terms of goals) are too long to ignore.

Juventus are by far and away Italy's top top club because how many games have they gone now winning on the trot without too many issues?  When was their last defeat?  At no moment did Real look like they were going to lose and even though in both games (Juve v Real and Barça v Roma) we still have the second leg to play, the likelihood of a turnaround is very slim indeed due to the experience both winning sides have in this competition.  Anything is possible, but not many are expecting a miracle.

I really thought Juve would've given Real a much tougher game.  I always thought Real would get through but I felt that it would be by a narrow margin with two hard fought games.  Nothing of the sort and I maintain that Jueventus have been getting gradually worse since that side that lost to Barcelona in the final a few years back... That Juventus side was much more superior!

As for Roma, they've done well but the point of the thread is taking two of Italy's top clubs and measuring them against the best of the rest in Europe... They are miles behind and I don't see progression or the progression that I thought was happening.

Look at Napoli's display in the Champions League this season... Napoli have been easily the second best side in Italy this year and yet they've been a total non entity in Europe which is what counts.

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4 hours ago, Stan said:

xD what

They won 6 titles after the ground opened, before that they'd not won a title in 6 years. Not to mention the last two European finals they've reached where as before they weren't progressing that far.

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8 minutes ago, Danny said:

They won 6 titles after the ground opened, before that they'd not won a title in 6 years. Not to mention the last two European finals they've reached where as before they weren't progressing that far.

This is true and stadium ownership is one of the issues but not the only one. Juventus are a different breed in Serie ‘A’ and always have been mate. Even in Milan’s dominant years Juve was the real giant. 

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Haha why do you guys bother talking about Italy's football state. Not even Italians give a crap as long as Serie A keeps them entertained. Napoli sacrificed their European journey just to focus on the championship like Europe meant nothing to them. The other big clubs of Italy (Milan, Inter) it's better for them not to play in Europe because they are not ready yet. You saw what happened to Milan when they faced the the gunners in Europa League... they got smashed! If it was the Milan of the past against Arsenal, the result would be quite the opposite. Italians need to find their old forsaken glory and that will only happen when they find capable players to replace the Legends who retired and left a huge gap behind them. In other worlds, Italian clubs will come back as mighty as other days when the Squadra Azzurra gets reassembled with players who will be able to lead following the Legacy that Heroes of the past left. So we are just waiting to see if the Italian Clubs can produce big players again.. (the sooner they produce those players the sooner they start earning European Cups again)

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Dalmore said:

Haha why do you guys bother talking about Italy's football state. Not even Italians give a crap as long as Serie A keeps them entertained. Napoli sacrificed their European journey just to focus on the championship like Europe meant nothing to them. The other big clubs of Italy (Milan, Inter) it's better for them not to play in Europe because they are not ready yet. You saw what happened to Milan when they faced the the gunners in Europa League... they got smashed! If it was the Milan of the past against Arsenal, the result would be quite the opposite. Italians need to find their old forsaken glory and that will only happen when they find capable players to replace the Legends who retired and left a huge gap behind them. In other worlds, Italian clubs will come back as mighty as other days when the Squadra Azzurra gets reassembled with players who will be able to lead following the Legacy that Heroes of the past left. So we are just waiting to see if the Italian Clubs can produce big players again.. (the sooner they produce those players the sooner they start earning European Cups again)

 

 

That’s very reliant on luck though isn’t it mate?

Also, I would say Italy’s football problems go a lot deeper than the waiting game which could be thrown at any big football nation when they go through low periods. Italian football’s problems are various and most of them based on stagnation in the 90s where arrogance made them think an old faahioned way of playing would continue to be successful. 

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On ‎4‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 04:36, Harry said:

I think they sort of missed the boat of that exponential wave of commercial success and revenue growth that came in the mid to late noughties, possibly off the back of the calciopoli scandal.

The size of their domestic market means they have a solid baseline for not dropping to eredivise levels but they have not advanced into being astute world class businesses the way many rivals have done. 

I think this is spot on. While the early 90s was a period where the Serie A was totally incredible, the TV money in the game increased and the two teams of La Liga and just the Prem (just generally) just have a hell of a lot more resources. Furthermore, Calciopoli rocked the Serie A's top clubs - I think there's a strong argument that Milan have never really recovered from Calciopoli coupled with some atrocious business decisions off the pitch.

I still like watching Serie A though.

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8 hours ago, SirBalon said:

This is true and stadium ownership is one of the issues but not the only one. Juventus are a different breed in Serie ‘A’ and always have been mate. Even in Milan’s dominant years Juve was the real giant. 

Yeah I'm not saying Roma etc could pull off as many league titles in a row as Juve have but just that the stadium has helped secure them their current dominance whereas before it they were going through a dodgy period.

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18 minutes ago, Spike said:

Serie A is in a far healthier spot than it was post-Calciopoli. 

Technically everything after Calciopoli is post-Calciopoli.

But yeah, the league is obviously much better than the immediate aftermath of Calciopoli, when Inter just piled onto on a castrated league. I still don't think AC Milan have ever really recovered though.

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17 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Technically everything after Calciopoli is post-Calciopoli.

But yeah, the league is obviously much better than the immediate aftermath of Calciopoli, when Inter just piled onto on a castrated league. I still don't think AC Milan have ever really recovered though.

You know what I meant. The immediate windfall. 

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2 hours ago, Danny said:

Yeah I'm not saying Roma etc could pull off as many league titles in a row as Juve have but just that the stadium has helped secure them their current dominance whereas before it they were going through a dodgy period.

Without a doubt Juventus owning their own stadium has helped them twofold, but the fact they were already a gigantic national and international entity pushed them along the way to becoming a self sufficient powerhouse.  But even then there's only so much they can do because football clubs are ultimately classed within the product they play in, i.e. in this case, Serie 'A' which failed to jump on the bandwagon of creating a marketable product in the early naughties. They've only started this recently about 2 years ago.... Do you see that I've already moved onto a different reason as to why Italian football has and is suffering which goes beyond club stadia ownership?

But owning your own stadium does make you more autonomous as a football club and nobody can dispute this.  In La Liga you need look no further than the very few clubs that still play in municipal stadiums (stadia owned by local government) where they have to battle a losing war in shuffling between marketing the club brand and at the same time not being able to own itself outright.  In Italy it's far worse because the overwhelming majority of football clubs play in state owned sport complexes called stadiums.

Italian football also has a strange insular psychosis in terms of not knowing how to let go of what they see as football heritage in terms of the way Italian football has always seemed to be perceived as... Defensive and mechanical football formats with the odd anomaly of a Fantasia player hitting each generation (like in more contempary times with Baggio, Del Piero or Totti). Only recently when Italy finally failed to qualify for this coming World Cup in Russia did the older voices (which have a lot of power in Italian football) state that Italy need to rethink and re-find themselves by returning to what they're good at!

Really?

So something that in real terms isn't actually a real physical living entity like a sport, HAS to possess a brand within the brand?  A make believe brand?  I say make believe because how you actually play is something subjected to interpretation and fundamentally something where humans are improvising... Shackling improvisation in today's generations isn't seen as something to be proud of and being singular and artistic is more of an action of pride where praise is bestowed upon from those that observe you. It's part of the reason attacking football and all of its tactical jargon has taken over the rigid and mechanical disciplinarian form.

But there are singular clubs that now feel more independent to work their football schools in a more regional and cultural manner which is why you're getting more Napolis playing a different way to what was once traditional in Italy.

Germany itself and how it's football had eternally been portrayed, changed.  They went through a MASSIVE change on the national team scale.  But yes, even though they are producing some of the most promising youngsters in Europe, their clubs are suffering massively compared to yesteryear!

Now, I don't have the stats and it would probably take one of our German members to give us this, but how many German clubs play in municipal stadiums?  How many own their own home!

For me another part of the answer to creating more competitiveness lies in the product of the league.  We live in a consumerist society in almost every walk of life and football has completely embedded itself into capitalism.  It creates interest and interest creates a big brand name which sells and then creates wealth, wealth to command and for others to obey... Wealth own what you want and buy a validation of ethics and superiority.  

Humans live in class wars and so does football now!  There's part of the big answer for me mate.  It's about buying yourself a more nose raising class promotion even though in reality none of this really exists.... But curiously and laughingly, it works.

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There was one twonk from the Bundesliga section who tried to insult me like a child for saying that Serie A is better than the Bundesliga.

Another year, yet more proof that Serie A is much better.

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17 minutes ago, Cicero said:

Monchi

How much of an impact he might have had? He just moved there this season and dont think he made any major changes to the team or anything upstairs within just 8 months. Or are you saying he brought in luck?

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16 minutes ago, Asura said:

How much of an impact he might have had? He just moved there this season and dont think he made any major changes to the team or anything upstairs within just 8 months. Or are you saying he brought in luck?

No idea, but it involves him.

They lose Salah, Rudiger, and Totti, yet they work with a poor budget and go beyond expectations. 

All too similar with Sevilla. Stars leaving yet scout and spend brilliantly.

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24 minutes ago, Asura said:

How much of an impact he might have had? He just moved there this season and dont think he made any major changes to the team or anything upstairs within just 8 months. Or are you saying he brought in luck?

I'd say it's definitely a notable impact, considering all of the points @Cicero just listed above. Lost 3 key players and yet here they are, knocking out one of the favourites for the CL.

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I get it that they knocked out Barcelona despite losing those three players but my question was did Monchi make any signings by himself to replace them or is this just a coincidence. I dont follow much of Italian Football so i dont know if he made those shrewd decisions and keep Roma ticking despite the tight budget and losing their good players. 

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