Archive for the 'Lazio' category

Grazie, Udinese!

January 27, 2008 4:23 pm

Udinese 0 -0 The Great Zaltan and his Argentine Minions

Hey – it might not be a Nerazzurri loss, but the rest of Serie A will take it, as Roma now close the gap by two points, leaving only five between the Giallorossi and ArgentInter.

So thanks, Udinese!

Looking at ArgentInter’s form as of late, the words “turning point” come to mind; two draws (granted, against worthy opponents) preceded by a shaky victory against a side that sits at the bottom half of the table do not exactly inspire confidence. If we weren’t talking about the league-leading Nerazzurri here, you can bet your behind that the word “crisis” would be tossed around by the Italian media for sure. Of course, Mancini believes the cards are stacked against him, but the rest of us are just muttering “welcome to the club.”

After the next Coppa Italia fixture against Juventus, things will get a bit easier on Inter, as they face Empoli, Catania and Livorno in succession. When that’s over, however, that’s when things get interesting. ArgentInter will have to travel to Anfield where they face a rabid ‘Pool (a contest that’s sure to wear them down like no other) and then return home and square off against Sampdoria, and three days later… Roma.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Rolando Bianchi was on the field for all of five minutes before being booked and subsequently sent off in Lazio’s draw with Torino.

The Duck bagged his first brace for the Rossoneri, as Ancelotti lined him up in front of Seedorf in Milan’s win over Genoa. With Seedorf going buck-wild for Milan as of late, one wonders if Ka-Pa-Ro shouldn’t be shelved in place of See-Ka-Pa. (Yeah, my head hurts from that too.) Oh… and FatRon’s hurt again. [sarcasm]What a great investment![/sarcasm]

Cagliari showed that they’re more desperate than Napoli, in what I’m going to call a slight upset, though Napoli’s Hamsik definitely deserves honorable mention for his third goal in two matches. Oddly enough, Cagliari started out without Foggia again, bringing him on for Acquafresca in the 56th minute. Something’s going on behind the scenes there, although I’m not sure what; chances are, it’s related to chair throwing enforcers. Anyway, congratulations to Cagliari for their first three-pointer since freaking September.

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.)

Lucarelli, Maniche, Bresciano e Foggia

January 2, 2008 11:53 pm

Welcome to my Brazilian-free transfer rumor post!

Why Brazilian-free, you ask?

Well, quite frankly, I think we’ve heard enough about these guys and what they might do. Honestly, if I read one more Ronaldinho/Adriano/Ronaldo/Amauri “article” (if you even want to call the little paragraphs I’ve been reading “articles”), I’ll make like Samir from Office Space and “throw dees piece of sheeet out dee window.” (That would be bad, as I do not have a spare laptop.)
I know, I know. There are recurring rumors published about non-Brazilian players too. I’ll concede that. It just seems, however, like the ones about the Brazilians have been in circulation for far longer. Subsequently, I feel like these guys need to stop partying in Sao Paulo for five minutes and make some *&$%ing decisions.

Alright. Enough about the Brazilians.

Let’s talk instead about big man Cristiano Lucarelli. Goal.com and Calciomercato.com are both reporting that Parma and Torino are the two sides that seem most interested, although Goal.com mentions a few other squads as well, Napoli, Genoa and Milan (yeah, right) among them. Both sites are also saying that we won’t know anything until after January 7, as that’s when the striker returns from holiday. Once he’s back, there are supposed to be meetings with both clubs. As for which of the two clubs has a better chance, Calciomercato.com seems to think that the big man would rather play for Torino, while Goal.com is calling Parma’s bid “serious.” Meh. Whatever.

If Project Lucarelli doesn’t pan out for Torino, they’ve supposedly got their eye on the truly promising young’n Rolando Bianchi, who’s currently with Manchester City. Parma’s backup, on the other hand, is Uruguayan striker Pablo Granoche, who scored five goals in seven matches with Serie B side Triestina. (Does anybody else think that maybe these guys should be looked at as more than just backup plans?)

A couple posts ago, I mentioned Maniche, the Portuguese international who apparently wants out of Atletico. Well, Channel 4 is now reporting that he’s still available, although Juve and Milan have been omitted from the list of interested parties, leaving just ArgentInter and Fiorentina. I feel like I’m watching a horse race on this one. Come ooooooooooonnnnnn purple! Come oooooooonnnnnn Viola! Better yet, it’s like the movie The Goonies, when the kids’ houses were going to be bought out by the evil developers, and they had to find the pirate treasure to fund… er… save the day. So… yeah. Fiorentina are like the Goonies, while ArgentInter are the evil developers. (Who’s Sloth? Bobo?)

Just yesterday, I mentioned Aussie midfielder Mark Bresciano (who currently wears Palermo pink), although it wasn’t in the context of a transfer rumor. As it turns out, Lazio are interested. Wait… did I just say that? Lazio? The same Lazio that still haven’t settled Rocchi’s contract (to my knowledge), and who might loseWeight Exercise Pandev? They actually want to buy? All Lazio stone-breakin’ aside, I think Bresciano would fit in well… although that’s not saying much for Lazio, because I think this guy would fit in well anywhere, as he’s versatile and has a work rate that would make Gattuso smile.

Speaking of Lazio, they might want to think about calling back Pasquale Foggia, who’s been out on loan to (and getting into trouble at) Calgiari. Given Lazio’s lack of enthusiasm in renewing their best friggin’ player’s (Rocchi’s) contract, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if they let Foggia slip through the cracks… which Channel 4 thinks is a distinct possibility.

NataleMercato

December 27, 2007 2:36 am

As we all stumble out of our respective Christmas hangovers, so goes the calciomercato.

In other words, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s friggin’ slow in the calcio world. Still, slow is not dead, so there are a few items to discuss. Here goes:

Maniche = Available – Portugal and Atletico Madrid midfielder Maniche is apparently ready to leave his club – sooner rather than later, from the sound of it. (His agent has made it pretty clear that they’re entertaining offers now.) Goal.com is reporting that Inter, Juve, Fiorentina and Milan are all interested parties at this point. For those of you unfamiliar with Maniche, he’s only played 24 matches with Atletico, although he has been a frequent call-up for his country. So… no, he’s not the most consistent guy out there, but I still tend to think he may yet have something to offer the right side. If his asking price isn’t too ridiculous, Fiorentina in particular might want to take a look, given their depth issues this season.

Lazio Go Shopping – Everybody knows Lazio’s in trouble, and Coach Delio Rossi is quick to point out why: They need to buy reinforcements. While I’m not disagreeing, I was hoping that there would be a clear resolution to their Rocchi situation before I’d start reading about Lazio transfer rumors. More specifically, I was hoping they’d sort out their best friggin’ player’s contract before hitting the mall. Nonetheless, it’s Lazio, and Lazio makes no sense, so a-shopping they go. Word has it they’re looking at some dude with a name more suited to pro wrestling than calcio, as well as Sampdoria defender Lucchini, and Romanian ‘keeper Lobont, while Stendardo looks to be on his way out following a near kung-fu fight with Rossi.

Spalletti Wants “Substance” & Totti Wants “Change” – With comments that should earn him the nickname “Captain Vague” (or “Captain Obvious,” perhaps) Roma Coach Luciano Spalletti has thrown some vanilla comments out there, as usual:

On a pitch of 110 metres, technique is often not enough. You need running, strength and grit, as we’re not on a 5-a-side football pitch. The squad has been completed, and completed well, but it has not been improved enough, and at times when we miss some players, their absence is felt a lot.

Now… whether he’s making a case for A) more effort from his Giallorossi, or B) a little transfer action, is anyone’s guess, but I’d like to think it’s the latter. Roma can’t let Lazio have all the fun, right? In all seriousness, Roma may not have the depth issues of a Lazio or a Fiorentina, but they don’t exactly have Hernan Crespo coming off of the bench (like you-know-who) either. And yes, while everybody knows I’d love to see Mr. Christmas alongside Il Capitano, I realize that if it ever happens, it won’t be until the end of the season… so what to do now, during the January transfer window? I don’t know, but I heard that there’s some tall dude languishing in the frozen tundra of… well… the Ukraine, and he’s looking for a ticket back to Italy.

OK. So, I mentioned Totti earlier. About that: It seems that Er Pupone has been doing some thinking this holiday season. As a result, he’s calling for several changes. First off, he thinks there should be more than three substitutions per match. Second, he wants to do away with evening matches in the winter. Third, he wants random drug testing.

Regarding the random drug testing, I think it sounds fine. Random is probably better than scheduled anyway, so long as they’re still testing everybody, right? As for the evening matches in the winter, um… OK? I honestly don’t know. I’ve never been in Italy during winter, so I really don’t know what these guys are up against, but I have noticed that those neck-warmer thingies have gotten increasingly popular as of late. Maybe there’s something to it.

Now… regarding increasing the number of substitutions during a match, isn’t the international standard three? If nobody else is increasing theirs, why should Italy be any different? I’d hate to see Italian players get soft because they’re out there changing lines like a hockey team, while the rest of Europe is slogging it out for 90 minutes. Come on, Francesco. You already got out of Azzurri duty. Now you want Roma to sub you out more often too?

Kaka + Dida = Homies – Or at least… they must be. I mean, why the hell else would Kaka defend a mistake-prone diver? It must be a Brazilian thing. Speaking of Brazilian things, La Gazzetta dello Sport published a photo of Adriano and Ronaldo (and some fat rapper-looking dude) looking all buddy-buddy at some Brazilian concert, along with an article stating that Brazilian side Flamengo wants FatRon. I wasn’t a fan of FatRon coming to Milan to begin with, so I’m all for it. (By the way, that photo was apparently somewhat controversial.) Stay in Sunny Brazil, Ronnie. Get your pal Adriano to stay too, while you’re at it, mmmkay?

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.

Problemi a Roma – Come al Solito

December 12, 2007 9:23 pm

(Problems in Rome – as Usual)

What is it about Roma vs. Manchester that sets people off?

La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that today, seven fans (five Manchester supporters and two Roma supporters) were injured in clashes that took place in the vicinity of Stadio Olimpico. Thankfully, none of the injuries appear to be serious, although it sounds like there was quite a scene, with chairs, tables, bottles (from nearby bars), and smoke bombs, being thrown. Also, five people were arrested, four of whom were British or Romanian (the fifth presumably was Italian).

Update: Channel 4 Italia now has a piece about the incident, in which they specify that some of the injuries were stab wounds. Also, Ansa has upped the number of injured to nine. This next part is pure hearsay, but I did read in an Italian discussion thread that the Manchester fans involved in the incidents sought out the Roma supporters. I can’t find any articles to verify that, although La Gazzetta did point out that all went smoothly at all the stadium gates, including the one set aside for Manchester supporters. (See the video linked below. Obviously, La Gazzetta was wrong.)

Another Update: A police chief in the UK is running his mouth off, stepping light years outside of his jurisdiction.  He’s probably a Manchester supporter.  Here’s a video of the incident, after the stupid ad.  Things don’t look too calm at the gates after all.

In Other News…

loseWeight Exercise Rocchi”>Lazio must be stupid. (No offense intended to any Lazio tifosi; that comment is aimed squarely at the team’s management.) Having just crashed out of the Champions League with the grace of a three-legged water buffalo, Lazio need to be reminded that Tommaso Rocchi is (as far as I’ve seen) the best player on the squad. Perhaps before they start looking to sign new players, they should work to keep their current stand-outs.

Man, I hear ya, Giorgio. Chiellini has made some comments in agreement with those of Daniele De Rossi, remarking that it’s unbelievable pain in the a$$ to trail Inter. While at the beginning of the season, it seemed like the Nerazzurri were getting lucky here and there, now it appears that they’ve turned it up a notch, which I didn’t even think was possible. It’s maddening, and a look at Inter’s schedule doesn’t do anything to restore my sanity.

Speaking of Inter… they actually fielded three Italians today against PSV. I know – My jaw almost dropped through the floor too! In honor of this vast Nerazzurri achievement, I have refrained from calling them ArgentInter in this post. If anyone’s wondering what Italians they even own, Bolzoni and Matrix started, and Puccio came on late. Wonders never cease.