Archive for the 'Juventus' category

Juve e Lazio Crescere

January 25, 2008 2:49 am

(Juve and Lazio Grow)

By now hopefully everyone has heard that Manchester City is loaning striker Rolando Bianchi to Lazio.  Don’t worry though – I’m not writing about it to inform you of the move.  Instead, I’d like to point out that this is the first step forward Lazio have taken since they went friggin’ mental after crashing out of the Champion’s League.    Sure, they managed to pick up a match here and there, most notably today against Fiorentina, but behind the scenes, things could’ve been better with their two best players: loseWeight Exercise him.”>Pandev and Rocchi.  Now… Lazio are in such bad shape that you’d think they’d be promising the world to their two best guys while simultaneously tacking on a few acquisitions to fight off the relegation ghosts, but there they sit in 14th place, moving on nothing. Nobody. Zero. Niente.

Enter Bianchi.  Finally, they’re taking some action, but he’s one guy.  Hey Lazio… borrowing Bianchi is just a warm-up, right?

Up north, Juventus have shed Criscito and Olivera, but it sounds like they’re about to bring on Sissoko, the used-to-be-amazing controlling midfielder whose form (according to a Liverpool-loving friend of mine) has been very so-so as of late.  Actually,  until further notice, let’s call him so-so-Sissoko.  Today, another midfielder from the ‘Pool is yapping about Juve, leading me to speculate regarding his motives.  Why Juve?  Why not that other place where all of the Argentine dudes follow the Swede Piper?  Is this guy buddies with so-so?

Alright. Now, I have something totally unrelated for you… but I mean that in the best possible way.  Some of you might remember that just before Christmas, I posted a incomprehensibly stupid video about English dudes who voluntarily allowed Wayne Rooney – who I think looks like a Cabbage Patch Kid, and who Marco tells us is one ugly dude – to freakin’ blast shots right them.

Well, apparently they let Italy’s own Rino Gattuso have a go, and although I’m not sure if he shells these clowns as thoroughly as Rooney, I was amused by the concept of Gattuso training with a pit bull.  Anyway, here you go:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

(In case you’re wondering, there are two other renditions of this stupidity, one with Malouda and the other with Frings. Both are on YouTube.)

Del Piero mi dà mal di testa.

January 19, 2008 6:02 am

(Del Piero gives me a headache.)

Would somebody please tell Alex Del Piero that silence is golden… please? First he makes presumptuous demands of the nazionale, then he’s calling out his goals Babe Ruth-style, and now… now he’s pointing the finger (while saying he’s not pointing the finger, of course) and making some stupidly obvious statements.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this doesn’t sound like a very leader-like way to talk, does it?

Maybe some players have given more than others.

What? Sorry, but I don’t think any professional should ever say anything of the sort, no matter how true.

And how about this? Can you say Captain Obvious?

Inter are stronger than the other sides in Italy. They have a deep squad and they have consolidated the players that they have.

I guess that explains how Inter got to the top of the table, right? They’re stronger? Also, having Hernan freakin’ Crespo as a backup is a slight bonus, right?

Perhaps Alex is preparing the Juve faithful for a crash-out against Inter in the Coppa Italia, now that both sides are through. Who knows. If Juve are going to give Inter a hard time, I’d rather see them do it during the Scudetto hunt.

Oh yeah… about that whole Scudetto hunt thing – The most interesting matches this weekend are Inter – Parma (on the outside chance that Lucarelli comes in at some point, though it’s highly improbable Update: Parma’s coach isn’t ruling the big man out! LINK), Roma – Catania (because Roma have a pretty thin back line at the moment, though the last time Catania visited Stadio Olimpico, the Giallorossi put on a show), and Milan – Udinese (because of the versatile “Di Natagliarella” attack facing off against the Ka-Pa-Ro samba trident).

Regarding that last one, as much as I’d love to see Milan crank it up a notch and climb into a Champions League spot eventually, I am not crazy (in case you haven’t guessed) about their current Brazilian obsession. In contrast, I really like both Quagliarella and Di Natale, and I’d like to see them open it up against someone… anyone (except Roma).

About Milan’s strikers: You might remember that two posts ago, I said that Gila needed to look for another job. Well, although Gila’s agent denies it, it’s probably true. Gazzetta dello Sport say that Gila wants to either play or bounce, and Corriere dello Sport are saying that a Milan-Fiorentina (Gila-Frye) swap is in the works, although I’ve heard something else debunking that one.

C’è qualche verità?

January 8, 2008 2:15 am

(Is there any truth?)

Sifting through the garbage pile that is the calciomercato hyperbole-fest is like watching a mediocre movie with a predictable ending. You sit there, somewhat interested in what’s going on, but with an underlying feeling of dissatisfaction… because you just know what’s going to happen in the end. But still, you finish watching the movie because on the outside shot that you’re wrong this time, you don’t want to miss it.

In the case of transfer rumors, you just know that most of the time, what you read or hear is more or less fabricated by some caffeine-fueled sports journalist who wants to be the first to report about (insert rumor here), even though he knows he’s broadcasting conjecture as fact. But still, you read all that you can, on the outside shot that there’s a grain of truth somewhere in the pile.

Today is no exception; rumor pile sits before us, and we’re sifting through it looking for fact, but not expecting to find any. Perhaps it’s futile then, that I’ve pulled what I felt was notable from what’s out there – fully aware that most of it is (probably) complete trash. Nonetheless, we’ll take a very cautious look:

  • Roma’s backup ‘keeper, Curci, wants to play more. (That much is probably true. Also true is the fact that Roma fans want to see him play more. Just ask the gang over at the Roma Offside Blog.) Unfortunately however, Roma’s primary ‘keeper, Doni, sees the bench very rarely. Perhaps as a result, Curci may be entertaining the idea of a move. Corriere dello Sport is mentioning Parma and Sampdoria in connection with the ‘keeper, although they don’t specify why they’re mentioning those two clubs, specifically. Update: Curci getting antsy makes sense, as Doni is supposedly extending his contract.
  • Goal.com is reporting that Zambrotta may be headed back to Juve. While this would be sensational news if it were to pan out, this is not the first time we’ve heard the “Zambrotta wants to return to Italy” routine. Update: This rumor’s been shot down already. That was fast.
  • I’ve said before that Fiorentina are hurting for players, and I was hoping that Maniche would be the answer. Well, the Viola-Maniche connection is becoming less and less of a likelihood by the day, it seems. Not only were the Viola allegedly *just* going after a different midfielder (who’s apparently taken himself off the radar already) but it’s being said (true or not) that Maniche is only interested in Inter, and that Figo is actively lobbying to get his countryman on board.
  • More Roma – It appears that very recent rumors about a Manchester City / Roma deal don’t hold water. It was said that Roma would give stepover-stepover-stepover-stepover-stepover Mancini to City in exchange for Italian (yes!) striker Rolando Bianchi. Unfortunately, Bianchi’s agent is now saying it’s not true. That would be in line with what Spalletti is saying about “not expecting reinforcements.”
  • OK. This one’s not a transfer rumor, but it made me laugh. – Would you want to see a 40 year-old Panucci playing? As much as I like the guy for his service on Roma and the nazionale… 40!?!?!??!?!?! Dude, this isn’t bowling.
  • This one’s not a transfer rumor either. – Blatter’s making sense again! It seems that I’m not the only one who thinks that it’s a bit odd that England has a thing for non-English coaches.

By the way, in case anyone’s wondering when this whole mercato mess ends, it’s over on January 31. (Coincidentally, I’m going away on the 31st, so serieAmerica will be inactive from the January 31 until February 5 or thereabouts.)

Buffon e Del Piero 3 – 2 Lazio

December 16, 2007 12:23 am

Two days ago, I said that “…Lazio… free from Champions League duty, will be focused solely on Italian matches.”

After today’s performance, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that yeah… Lazio look pretty damn focused.  So focused, in fact, that Juve were lucky… and they know it.

Simply put, Lazio played with the energy of kids just let out of school for the summer.  Free from homework, free from essays, free from the difficulties of their Champions League schedule, they appeared rejuvenated, and the numbers show it:

Shots (on Goal) 

  • Lazio – 14(9)
  • Juventus – 10(3)

Time of Possession

  • Lazio – 63%
  • Juventus – 37%

Saves

  • Lazio – 0
  • Juventus – 7

Unfortunately for the Biancocelesti, the statistic that matters the most (der… goals?) went in Juve’s favor, thanks to the heroics of Buffon, and yes, that guy Del Piero. (For more on the match, check out Martha’s write-up.)

Still though, there are 22 weeks left in the season – certainly enough time for Lazio to cause problems for other squads, assuming they can stay healthy.  Looking ahead, March is their tough month, as they face Milan, Udinese, Roma, Fiorentina… and Inter.  That said, if they come out of March with more than three points (Livorno’s in there too somewhere), Lazio are the real deal, boys and girls. Until then, just watch out for them at the playground.

Other Stuff:  From Foggia to Mancini to Berlusconi

Alright. We know that Cagliari has recently played host to WWE-style drama involving top-kid Foggia, but the news today is that said drama is probably responsible for his exclusion from the squad this weekend.  So yeah. Cagliari are closing the door on their best player on the eve of a match with Inter… as if chances of a Cagliari upset weren’t slim enough.

Speaking of Inter (aren’t we always?), Coach Mancini has played down Milan’s efforts in the Club World Cup, calling the length of the tournament “absurd,” while likening it to a friendly-fest.  Whether or not I agree with Mancini, it seems petty for him to be belittling what he knows is Milan’s primary focus this season.  At least Berlusconi was more diplomatic in his response, as usual.

ESPN: Roma e Juve hanno una probabilità.

December 13, 2007 11:26 pm

(ESPN: Roma and Juve have a chance.)

If ESPN is to be commended for one thing in relation to their calcio coverage, it has to be positive thinking.

They’re reporting that Juve and Roma have a “chance to close the gap” with Inter this weekend. While I would absolutely love to share their optimism, a quick look at their analysis has me thinking that their gap closing conclusion may be based upon a foundation of quicksand.

First of all, they point out, either explicitly or in passing, just about every factor that goes against Roma and Juve’s chance at closing the gap with Inter. For instance:

  • Juve have won only once away from Turin this season, and they visit Olimpico this weekend.
  • At Olimpico, Juve face Lazio, who, free from Champions League duty, will be focused solely on Italian matches.
  • Juve will be without Camoranesi until January.
  • Roma, who have had less rest due to Champions League duty, play Torino, who will be raring to go after taking a 4-0 pounding from Inter last weekend.
  • Matrix is fit enough to start again, as evidenced against PSV.
  • Barring an upset that would have me shedding tears of joy, Inter are sure to snag three points from Cagliari, who sit at the very bottom of the table.

So… yeah, ESPN, what were you saying about closing gaps again? The only news I’ve seen that could hinder Inter’s dominance in the near term centers around their list of injured players; ESPN is reporting that Viera, Figo, Dacourt, Jiminez and Stankovic are all injured. Oh – I almost forgot – The Great Zaltan is suspended, apparently. Yeah. Too bad he’ll probably be backed up by friggin’ Hernan Crespo. Oh. What a relief for Cagliari. It’s only Crespo. From Cagliari’s point of view, this has to be like Ken subbing in for Ryu in Street Fighter II.

Now that I’ve gotten all of the doom and gloom out of the way, here’s something… else. (What? I’ve already likened him to a Street Fighter II character. Is this that much worse? OK. Yeah. It is. The Great Zaltan can take it though, I’m sure.)

One more (unrelated) thing before I go… All Lucarelli needs is a buyer, and he’s back. I know, I know. We all pretty much knew it was going to happen, but it’s good to hear straight talk right from the player. I can’t wait to see where this guy ends up.

La Notizia – Settimana 15

December 8, 2007 3:20 pm

(The News – Week 15)

[I'm going away this weekend, so please excuse today's brevity/format!]

Alright, we’re still not quite halfway through the Serie A season, but we’re getting there.  Of course, that means we’re terribly close to the January transfer window, and as a result, rumors are flying all over the place.  There’s a ton of news (both real and speculative), and I’m going to do what I can to pluck out some of the more interesting (or alarming) pieces. Here goes:

  • A while ago, I posted something about a well-known German being considered by Juve. Now, it appears as though Juve may be considering an equally well-known Englishman. Interestingly enough, both are from Chel$ea.  The Channel 4 article claims that “just” £700K is stalling negotiations.  Just? Am I the only one that thinks that’s a lot of money?  Tuttosport seems to think it’s basically a done deal, money aside.
  • Boy… it seems that Milan want somebody… anybody from Barcelona. First they’re talking about Zambrotta, then they’re talking about Ronaldinho, then they’re talking about both. Now Eto’s name is being thrown into the pot. My question is, what the hell will Barcelona want in return?  I haven’t read a thing on that. *cough*GiveThemRonaldoForFree*cough*
  • This next one is being filed under “F’n alarming.Lippi is being linked to the vacant England coaching position, and Corriere Della Sera is stating that he’s already “said yes.” In the past, Lippi has shunned talk of a trip to England, stating that it would be impractical due to the language barrier.  Here though, it seems like he’s wanted badly. I mean… Mourinho and Capello visited the FA, but the FA is sending a guy out to Lippi.  Please, England… with all due respect, kindly look within your own borders.
  • This isn’t a transfer rumor [collective sigh of relief], but I found it interesting: Quagliarella says he’s not going to celebrate if he scores in this weekend’s Udinese v. Sampdoria match.  I think it’s a fair gesture, but it’s also easier said than done.
  • OK. This last one has slid under the radar of plenty of news outlets… either that, or they just don’t care: Real Madrid wants Mutu and Vucinic.  It sounds to me that Roma aren’t in too much danger of losing Vuci; Lecce and Roma co-own him, and Lecce is being pretty good about warning big-brother Roma about Real’s prying eyes.  Mutu, on the other hand… 17M plus Diarra? Hmmm…

Empoli? Stai scherzando?

December 7, 2007 2:16 am

(Empoli? Are you joking?)

Call the neighbors! Wake the family! Empoli, who are currently hanging out at the very bottom of the Serie A table with a goal differential of -13 (as in negative 13), have defeated Juventus in a Coppa Italia match!

To be fair to Juventus, I should note that A) the Bianconeri were without Buffon, Camoranesi, Trezuguet, Nedved, Chiellini, and Zanetti (although Del Piero and Palladino were started), and B) Empoli will probably receive a beat down like no other when the two teams face eachother in the January 16 return leg in Turin.

Nonetheless, congratulations to Empoli, who will henceforth be taken a little more seriously.

Capello to England?

Those visiting serieAmerica from the UK (and yes, there are some who do so regularly) probably know more about this next gem than do I.

I thought that after their last non-English coach, the FA had learned its lesson, but apparently, they’re still courting a non-Englishman for the vacant spot at the helm of the English National Team.

Anyway, I am surprised to see that Capello is still in the running for the job; I expected the English to pick one of their own for the post this time around.

What’s the deal, my English friends? Do you seriously want Capello?  While he’s a good coach, I didn’t think he was your type, especially after Sven!