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Serie A In Crisis: Analysis And Perspectives Of An Isolated League
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Editor's Spotlight


04/04/2002. SERIE A EDITOR Andrea Rosselli believes boardroom strategy and an inherent desire to win at all costs put the Italian game out of touch with more entertaining European leagues:

For the second straight season, there won't be an Italian team among the Champions League quarter-finalists. Serie A is balanced, but there are few attractive matches anymore and a number of highly-rated Italian players are expected to move to Spain during the close which begs the question: Is "Il Calcio" in crisis? Most likely, the answer is yes.


This is a real slump, and not only a bad juncture: Italian soccer is bothered by plenty of problems, both on and off the pitch and these issues inevitably affect the teams.



NO LONGER THE BEST LEAGUE...


First of all, the naked truth - Serie A is no longer the "best league in the world". In the nineties, the Serie A teams dominated the European Cups, and this gave everybody the illusion that things would have continued this way. But what really happened was that the huge pressure brought by these results pushed the boards of the Serie A giants (Juventus, Lazio, Roma, Inter, Milan, Parma) on the wrong course.


Indeed, the wealthy owners thought that the only way to keep on staying at the top was spending as much as possible and boardrooms started building the rosters with only one word in their minds - winning. Not playing good football or entertaining the fans, which should be the foundation of a winning team. Find the way to multiply the income from the TV and the merchandising, and spend the money to purchase expensive (and often disappointing) foreigners: dating from the mid 90s, this became the rule.



MONEY RUNS OUT...


The consequences? Here they are. First of all, a huge financial crisis: TV revenue was not the milk cow everybody expected and those enlightened chairmen spent more than they could afford. But unfortunately the bad result of this incorrect mentality came on the sporting side as well. Italian teams simply killed the pleasure of good soccer, filling their rosters with plenty of "ball winners" specialising in only one thing - committing fouls. The average number of fouls in Serie A is around 50 per match, which is clearly unacceptable.



LACK OF ENTERTAINMENT...


So it seems that calcio is centred around getting the three points at all costs. Losing is not the other side of winning, losing becomes a drama. In the other countries, the fans want their team to play an attractive game and winning is often a consequence of that. If an English or a Spanish team lose after playing a good match, the fans cheer at them. In Italy, this team would be booed, because only the win counts.



ENGLAND AND SPAIN MOVE AHEAD...


So meanwhile, the rest of the European countries, especially Spain and England, figured out what they needed to do in order to fill this gap and thanks to a better solution, they gave confidence to their nursery-grown youngsters and the expensive purchase was an exception, not the rule like in Italy. Now they are meeting with the deserved success of this wise work.


What to do now? The Italian game needs to rebuild itself. No more unknown and expensive foreigners, but confidence in the youngsters, possibly after having taught them how to stop and launch a ball, and not how to break the opponent's legs. And please, stop with this annoying defence and counterattacking mentality - it doesn't pay anymore. An example? In their Champions League key match against Liverpool, Roma knew that a draw would have been enough to qualify and played in Anfield with only one striker, while all of their most convincing outings of the season came with the 3-4-1-2 line-up. There is no need to recall how the match ended.


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LIGA EDITOR Stewart Coggin cites the Italian media as a cause of the malaise and argues that although Italy boasts the best defensive players, Spain hosts the most exciting attackers.



NO CONTINUITY?


Many believe the single biggest factor in Serie A's recent European slump is a lack of continuity. The likes of Lazio have undergone overhaul after overhaul in the last two years so no wonder their recent record in the European Cup leaves so much to be desired. And should they qualify for it again next season, can president Sergio Cragnotti really expect it to improve? The club will undergo yet another transitional period over the summer with numerous comings and goings set to take place. This would surely make the likes of Arsene Wenger cringe. For the Arsenal coach preaches team continuity and at the Rome giants there is a distinct lack of it. Lazio are by no means the only culprits but they are without doubt the main ones.


And does the intense media criticism really help the players? The Italian press scrutinises every aspect of their teams' tactical game to the point of obsession. Although Serie A coaches would claim not to be influenced by the press, such pressure must have an effect. Perhaps it's time for the the likes of the Gazzetta dello Sport to give the Italian game a break.


Can we also not just accept that Spain currently has four very good sides who rank amongst the top six or seven in the world at the moment? In terms of counter-attacking, there are few better than Valencia, Deportivo and Barcelona. Valencia, especially, tend to soak up pressure for long periods and then break with such pace that opposition defences are left wondering what has hit them. Witness the Ches' recent Uefa Cup semi-final first-leg clash with Inter Milan. A goal down and a man down after the sending-off of Kily Gonzalez, Valencia appeared to be posing little threat when a swift move up field resulted in one killer ball from Miguel Angulo and an instinctive finish from Francisco Rufete. Bang, 1-1.


Serie A may still boast the best defenders in the world but when it comes to the leading midfielders and strikers, they have fallen behind. The likes of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Rivaldo, Juan Veron, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Patrick Kluivert, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Diego Tristan have all either played or been linked with moves to Serie A but the fact is that they all ply their trade in Spain and England. Serie A of course, still has it's attractions (Francesco Totti, Andriy Shevchenko and Manuel Rui Costa to name but a few) but the days when it attracted the world's very best, are well and truly gone.



LEAGUE OBSESSION...


Could it also not be that for some Italian clubs, Serie A is simply more important? For Real Madrid and Barcelona the Champions League is an obsession, but the feeling is that Serie A's finest regard the Scudetto as top priority. Hector Cuper's Inter have not won the title for 13 years, and there is little doubt that if you put the Champions League and Scudetto trophies in front of them, they'd choose the latter. It may just be that to Serie A's top brass, the honour of being the best team in Italy, outweighs that of being the best in Europe.


Despite Serie A's woeful recent record in the Champions League, there is no reason to believe that Italian football won't emerge from this current slump and return to their former glories. The current trend seems to be to kick Serie A while it's down. Everyone from Ivan Helguera to Patrick MBoma have stuck the knife in of late, criticising what they perceive not to be the best league in the world but the most arrogant. However, it is surely a little early for the Premiership and La Liga's finest to start celebrating the demise of Serie A and crowning their own championship as the world's best. The tide could soon turn.



STUDY:

PLAYERS LINKED WITH MOVES AWAY FROM SERIE A:


Juventus:


Montero - Possibly to Real Madrid.

Thuram - Perhaps more likely to some EPL team, but Spain is a definite chance and in any case he's expected to leave Juve.

Davids - Probably to Barcelona.


Lazio:

Mendieta - Back to Valencia?

Nesta - Most likely he will stay at Lazio but everybody
knows that Real want him...


Milan:

Shevchenko - Same thing as Nesta, he should stay but Real want him

Josè Mari and Javi Moreno - both didn't get fully accustomed to the Serie A and should be back in the Liga.


Roma:

Batistuta - most likely to the EPL, in any case he should leave Roma, especially if they buy Tristan, and some Liga team might be interested in the veteran.



PLAYERS WHO LEFT SERIE A: PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS:


Zinedine Zidane - The mercurial Frenchman took a couple of months to settle into La Liga and Real Madrid's style of play after a £48 million move from Juventus, but since then he has returned to his bedazzling best. He may have some of the world's best round him but the fact that he has already scored as many league goals for Real this year as he did in any season at Juventus would suggest that he is finding goals a lot easier to come by.


Although he excelled in Serie A, people often tend to forget his lacklustre, lethargic performances where he contributed very little to the team cause. These displays were the exception to the rule, but one rarely leaves a Real match these days without feeling that the Frenchman has given them their full money's-worth.


Vagner - the Brazilian has excelled for Celta Vigo this season, with he and Peter Luccin forming one of the best midfield partnerships in La Liga. The 29-year-old had a desperately disappointing time of things at Roma after failing to fit into Zdenek Zeman's disciplined team formation. He played just 11 league games for the Giallarossi before being shipped out to Vasco da Gama and Sao Paulo on loan. He moved to Galicia in 2000 and is now flourishing in the less pressured surrounds of La Liga. He's a player who likes to express himself and has actually scored three goals in his last two games.


Savo Milosevic - The Yugoslav striker has returned to former club Real Zaragoza after a miserable 18 months in Serie A with Parma. He scored nine goals in a season-and-a-half with the Giallorossi compared to 37 in 72 league matches with Zaragoza in the previous two campaigns. Here is a player who basks in the penalty box freedom that he never really got in England and Italy.


Darko Kovecevic - Milosevic's fellow-countryman is in the same boat. After scoring an impressive 41 goals in three seasons with the modest Real Sociedad, he earned himself a move to Juventus where he found the net just 11 times in two seasons. In his defence he found it difficult to secure a regular starting place with the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet preferred. After a terrible spell at Lazio -he featured just seven times- he has returned to Sociedad where he's scored five times in 12 games to help the Basques move away from the relegation zone.


Roberto Ayala - Last season, the Valencia defender was named as the best defender in the Champions League as the Ches took Europe by surprise for the second time in two seasons and reached the final. The Spanish League has been the making of the Argentine international and he is now rated as one of the top five or six defenders in the world.



CONCLUSIONS:


There is little doubt that La Liga, along with the Premiership, is the world's most attractive league. Few other countries are treated to the mesmeric skills of Djalminha, the cunning of Luis Figo and the brute power and force of the world's best left-back Roberto Carlos. But why is it that La Liga is now such a haven of attacking football?


Well, for a start, despite Spain's fine recent record in Europe, many of the sides still trail behind their Italian counterparts when it comes to the art of defending. Valencia, apart, La Liga's finest still have a lot to learn about the defensive aspects of the game. While the Spanish League can boast the likes of Roberto Ayala and Patrik Anderson, this pair are very much the exception to the rule. Alessandro Nesta, Fabio Cannavaro, Walter Samuel, Lillian Thuram and Ivan Cordoba are amongst the top six or seven in the world and all choose to ply their trade in Italy. La Liga simply isn't getting the cream of the crop when it comes to world class centre-backs.


Real Madrid, Deportivo La Coruna and Barcelona have all been found wanting at the back at regular intervals over the last 18 months. Real's 'if they score three, we'll score four' attitude may be easy on the eye but is unlikely to be found in the Serie A book of coaching. Barca, meanwhile, conceded an amazing 57 goals last year under Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, although they found the net 80 times- one less that champions Real Madrid. Serra Ferrer is, in many ways, a symbol of Spanish football- entertain at all costs and worry about the consequences later.

On a regular basis we are treated to some of the most appalling defence cock-ups that you just don't see in Italy. Italian goalkeepers like to punch but at least they do it to good effect. Earlier this season Las Palmas' Nacho Gonzalez somehow managed to punch the ball into his own net from a Deportivo La Coruna corner when under no pressure whatsoever. The Argentine has not been the only keeper guilty of such a lapse. This type of thing is seen all to often within the confines of La Liga. Young Iker Casillas at Real has found himself out in the cold in recent matches due to some increasingly error prone performances. This was a young man who was dubbed as the best goalkeeper in the world just a year or so ago.

Andrea Rosselli/Stewart Coggin

Soccerage
 

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Yet there is no mention of 2 italian teams in the uefa cup semi's.
The fact that they beat valencia one of those "great teams"

"NO LONGER THE BEST LEAGUE... "
Maybe not in terms of sucess in CL, but we still have the best leauge. Here, Inter cant rest half their team play away to atlanta and win, where as Manu U do this on a regular basis.

"MONEY RUNS OUT... "
Funny isnt it in england where ITV collapsed, and owes money, havnt seen it happpen in italy yet, this writer is really keeping up to dat on affairs

"LACK OF ENTERTAINMENT... "
Well im sorry if u cant appreciate a great tactical battle, or even those boring "counter-attacking strategies", which ironicallly Valencia uses and there ass has been licked sufficently in this topic. But there are plenty of fans who arnt intrested in seeing 10 goals a game all of them due to goalies who cant keep their hands closed, or even better those that pass the ball to the opponent strikers *COUGH* MAN U *COUGH*

"ENGLAND AND SPAIN MOVE AHEAD... "
And how so, just cause they have some succes in europe, wonder why full strenght arsenal cant beat a bunch of juve reserves, better yet why cant valenica at home beat a bunch on inter bench warmers.

"LEAGUE OBSESSION..."
Ironic isnt it that we are obbsesed with a boring, leauge isnt it.
WE ARE IDIOTS! :rolleyes:

"Players who left spain"
Mendieta-was god now cant even start for lazio
Jose Mari- touted as great potential, cant hit an open net to save his life
Moreno-top goalscorer in la liga, has yet to make see how he can score when he is being marked, maybe he is dependent on goalies punching the ball into their own nets
Contra-God in la liga, and really good here, so why did he leave?
Tristan- going to roma, why owuld he go to italy when its so much better in spain

And this is in the last year and a half

"CONCLUSIONS"

This author is baised, blind and has problems seeing major shortfalls of his own leauges.

And this situation is more blown up than the baywatch cast

Lav
 
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Funny isnt it in england where ITV collapsed, and owes money, havnt seen it happpen in italy yet, this writer is really keeping up to dat on affairs
No it's just that you haven't got your facts right, ITV hasn't collapsed, it's just that it wants to pay the "lower" leagues in England less money.

It doesn'tr effect Premiership clubs.

Hang on a minute, you are an Italian fan and you say that you haven't seen it happen in Italy yet? Where have you been in the last ten years?
 

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DeJackal said:
Hang on a minute, you are an Italian fan and you say that you haven't seen it happen in Italy yet? Where have you been in the last ten years?
MAybe your mommy can brin u up to date on that one


Lav
 

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Dejeckel, your such an idiot:D:D
You mocked him for typing one letter wrong and you yourself made a typo:dielaugh:Oh mercy, thats a good one:D:D
 

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It's ITV Digital that's on the verge of collaspe. ITV's sports channels, which show pay-per-view matches, hasn't attracted enough subscribers.
 

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Thats an excellent article. Thanks for posting it for us kc11 :)

I don't think anyone can dispute anything that was said it in despite Lav's feeble attempt.

Italian football is very weak at the moment. Very weak. They just buy a few big names and think that will be enough to win but it doesn't work like that.

Pathetic team spirit - where was the passion yesterday when Milan were trounced by an average Dortmund side?? And when Inter went 1-0 down at home to Feyenoord where was the onslaught to get a goal back????

Pathetic passion amongst fans - half empty stadiums every week - don't blame the fans either. Most of Serie A's fans seem to be based abroad where they jump on the bandwagon of the big names that join the club rather than love the club itself. Mainly armchair fans who can't be bothered to travel to see their team play away games but judging by the quality these days thats understandable.

Pathetic league - well, we know that already. Manchester City would probably be a top 6 side in Serie A. And I'm not joking either.
 
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romafan53 said:
Dejeckel, your such an idiot:D:D
You mocked him for typing one letter wrong and you yourself made a typo:dielaugh:Oh mercy, thats a good one:D:D
I never mocked him for typing one letter wrong and as you can see he made a number of mistakes.

MAybe your mommy can brin u up to date on that one

Can't you see that this is not standard English, also he never put a full-stop at the end of his sentence. If I ever called my mother "mummy" then I would spell it that way.

:cool:

It's ITV Digital that's on the verge of collaspe. ITV's sports channels, which show pay-per-view matches, hasn't attracted enough subscribers.
Yes, that's because Sky Digital is better than ITV Digital. Sky Digital owns Premiership rights, while ITV Digital prefers to broadcast the Nationwide league.
 

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Dan said:

I don't think anyone can dispute anything that was said it in despite Lav's feeble attempt.
Said the brit :rolleyes:

look at some facts my frend, u brits aint all that, and the awesome valenica got beaten so wow, i bet your world came crashing down


de jackal, man i love u, cant refute something so u ignore make comments bout my spelling,
first of: u = you, its shorter to write
Second: i come to Xt to relax and talk football, not construct beautiful sentances, and use perfect grammar, i have enlgish for that.

Now as u brits say

"Sod off ya bloddy tosser"

Lav
 

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Dan said:
Most of Serie A's fans seem to be based abroad where they jump on the bandwagon of the big names that join the club rather than love the club itself. .
This just has to be the funniest comment ever in Xtratime. If it was meant ironic, my compliments, I laughed my ass off it...:happy:

The whole thing is like going to a zoo and seeing monkeys live in cages there. Then going to another zoo and seeing monkeys living in cages. From this you would probably make the conclusion that most monkeys in the world live in cages...
 

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Trying to be objective in this debate isn't easy around people like Dan and DeJackal whose judgements are so blinded by his pure hate for Serie A. It's also so typical of some british/american people to attack non english natives for their use of the english language. I think that's absolutely irrelevant and proves that these losers have no real arguments.

Ok, over to the real issues, which I hope we can discuss in an open manner.

First, the stats.

Liverpool, Arsenal, Roma and Juventus have one thing in common. They all got 7 points in the second group stage of the CL. They played in the same groups as well so the opposition was similar. So no one can say that Serie A sucks because of this. Especially since Juventus beat Arsenal and Roma beat Barcelona.

Obviously Parma and Lazio were in no condition to play in the CL this season though... :( Premier League was fortunate enough to have all three teams participating also have good seasons in the domestic league. Serie A had only two.

In the Uefa cup Serie A have two teams in the semifinals. Spain and England have none. Call it a loser's cup or whatever but it's still a testament that Serie A have a wider width. Also remember that Inter kicked out Valencia.

All in all I don't think Serie A has been earning all the sh!t it's getting right now. Obviously it's not up to it's usual superior standard and hasn't for the last couple of years. I think all this criticism comes from the fact that the rats now see the chance to make at least a semi valid attack. Now when they have the opportunity. I think everyone more or less knows that it's just a matter of time before Serie A rule Europe again. This is why Dan & co are so bitter and full of hate.

Having said that I must admit that the article makes a few valid points. Especially about the attitude of the boards. Too many changes are made each summer and the strategies are most often extremely short sighted. They start building on a new "plan" all the time and I think that's a very stupid thing to do.

I don't agree with the stuff about entertainment and playing style though. The italian NT is doing just fine playing a standard italian 3-4-1-2 tactic. So why can't the clubs to that as well? Personally I fail to see why not. Club boards in Serie A just need some patience and everything we'll be fine.
 

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First off dejeckel-u is a term that is quickly used instead of you, it saves time, now Lav did NOT edit his posts like you did, which would say to me that you made at least three to four typos, my point remains you are such an idiot;)
 

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Let's be honest here. I've followed Italian football for a number of years and generally enjoy it. But at the same time, there are far greater problems in Italian football which have been disguised only by the national team's good form.

I honestly think that the big downfall of Italian football has been the fact that many clubs spend excessive amounts of money on star players, don't do much to develop their own teams, and have a high annual turnover of players. This results in a loss of team cohesion, which is clearly showing. Ultimately this could have an affect on the Azzuri, if there is no room for regeneration (look at Germany...)
 
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It's also so typical of some british/american people to attack non english natives for their use of the english language.
So they don't speak English in miami?

First off dejeckel-u is a term that is quickly used instead of you
I know scumfan, sorry Romafan :tongue:.

romafan53 said:
First off dejeckel-u is a term that is quickly used instead of you, it saves time, now Lav did NOT edit his posts like you did, which would say to me that you made at least three to four typos, my point remains you are such an idiot;)
No, I edited my first post not insult lav too much :tongue: and I edited the other post to quote mikey.

Anyway, I thought this thread was an analysis on why the Serie A is in a crisis and not "is" Serie A in a crisis.
Personally I dodn't think Serie A is in a crisis, I just don't think it is the best anymore. Doesn't mean that it's crap either, because it is still one of the elite three or else it wouldn't have four slots for the Champions League next year.
 

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Can you remove that avatar jackass.

Thank you.
 

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DeJackal said:
So they don't speak English in miami?
Are u serious?

Maybe you should come down here and u'll find out


Lav
 

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Cafone, che cosa mi dici?

Haven't you seen Taxi Driver!

Azzurro the colour of pride, the most popular NT for sure, and i see new people discoveres it every day.
 
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