Roma hold champions Juventus to a 2-2 draw despite Cristiano Ronaldo double

Roma held the best side in Serie A to a draw at Stadio Olimpico as the two sides drew 2-2 in a very entertaining game of football.

The home side knew from the beginning how important it would be to claim something in the game after their chaotic start to the season saw them default their first match and lose 3-0 to Verona after a mix up in their team selection (the actual game had finished 0-0). So a point at least here was needed, and they got it in the end although because Juventus were playing with 10 men after Adrian Rabiot was sent off Roma may feel aggrieved that they couldn’t find the 3rd goal to finish off the current champions.

Rabiot had a bad game to say the least and it was his handball which handed Roma a penalty after half an hour which Jordan Veretout converted, though the ball just squeezed in. But Juventus hit back just before half time, with the same procedure- a handball and that man Cristiano Ronaldo took the penalty and scored with ease.

Roma’s 2nd goal was classic counter attacking, right from the back and finished off sweetly again by Veretout. It was a goal that had so much skill in the build up it told you there and then that Roma will be in with a shout of a Champions League finish this season, there was a lot of quality in the goal.

Soon after Edin Dzeko who looked on the verge of signing for Juventus a week ago missed a good chance to put the game to bed, but his shot hit the post for the home side. And he would regret it as moments after Ronaldo made it 2-2 after a brilliant header where Ronaldo seemed to defy gravity and just hang in the air Pele style and still steer the ball past the goal keeper.

Roma now have a point on the board and come into their 3rd game of the season this weekend against Udinese away from home in 15th place although a win could take the club into the top 10.

Jordan Veretout has the most fantasy points for the club with 10. 

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca had this to say about the game: “Tonight was a wasted chance, I think we had a good match but I am not satisfied with the result. We had a good match that should’ve been won. I have total confidence in the club, the new president has arrived and we are constantly talking. We are working to find the best solution for the team.”

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How Andrea Radrizzani brought a new era to Leeds United

In May of this year Andrea Radrizzani was celebrating being in charge of Leeds United for 3 years, and what a time it has been for the club and the Italian owner.

There have been highs and lows but compared to the past 14 years that preceded him coming in the last 36 months have mostly been bliss for the club and the fans. Winning the Championship and gaining promotion back to the Premier League, the first time in 16 years is obviously the highlight, but after a few possible naive mistakes all the cards are starting to fit for Radrizzani and the club.

Those mistakes were infuriating the fans when the club sold Ronaldo Vieira who looked like the most promising player that the club had on their books for some time. Then there was the controversial change of badge. Not many owners can mess with a clubs traditional badge and get away with it. And his plan fell short when over 77,000 fans signed a petition that they were less than impressed.

But compared to the good times at the club since he came in and then bought 100% of the shares the above feel like small stories. A few managers came and went until Leeds found their balance and then two key figures arrived and they would be head hunted by Radrizzani himself.

The first was bringing in Marcelo Bielsa the eccentric but brilliant and detailed coach. The Argentinian arriving at the club was seen as a big surprise, one would think if Bielsa was coming to England it would only be to manage in the Premier League. But Bielsa recognised quickly how the history of English football and Leeds were joined at the hip, history always counts in football. He also took it up as a challenge.

The second key in the puzzle was the signing of Patrick Bamford, the striker came in for £7m which was the most the club had spent on a player since Robbie Fowler in 2001. Bamford has been exceptional with the club scoring 29 goals in all competitions for them, including 16 league goals in the Championship. This season in the Premier League was his big step up and he has already scored 3 goals in just three games.

Leeds have started the season well too. With 2 wins from their opening three games, and even when they were defeated it was away to champions Liverpool in a 4-3 thriller. There is something about Leeds under Bielsa and with Radrizzani behind the scenes the club will be hoping to capture the beauty, toughness and essence of their glory days once again.

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Inter kick off their Serie A season in thrilling style as they win 4-3 classic against Fiorentina

Most clubs had already played twice in Serie A, but this past weekend marked Inter’s first game of the season, and what a game it would be.

To think that at the San Siro against Fiorentina they were losing 3-2 with three minutes to go and won the game is incredible and it was a fantastic comeback by Antonio Conte’s men.

The game had started poorly for the hosts when Fiorentina took the lead after just the 3rd minute through Christian Kouame. A muddle up in defence led to one of the sloppiest goals Inter may concede all season, the back four were looking for an offside decision that never came.

Just after the brilliant Lautaro Martinez looked like he was fouled for a penalty but replays showed he wasn’t touched. Now whilst VAR can cause many problems this was an example of the system getting it right, Martinez clearly looked for the penalty. The referee changed his decision and didn’t give it, however one has to question why Martinez then wasn’t booked for simulation? This is a problem that still riddles the game.

On the stroke of half time though Martinez showed his absolute class and why Barcelona have been trying to sign him. His strike outside of the area was a thing of unstoppable beauty, that’s the side to Martinez’s game that everybody wants to see.

After half time Inter went 2-1 up courtesy of an own goal and from then on in it looked like we would only get one result, the home one. But Fiorentina were not done and equalised for 2-2 just a few minutes later through Gaetano Castrovilli.

One player who was really making his mark for the visitors was Franck Ribery, he was everywhere and played some amazing passes and he assisted to put the away side in the lead through Federico Chiesa, it was a superb pass to let the young man in.

As the game went onto its final stages it seemed that Inter would lose their first game of the season, and it wouldn’t be the first time that Fiorentina would be a thorn in the clubs side. However that man Romelu Lukaku after good build up play and slotted home an easy goal from a few yards out to make the game 3-3, but Inter wouldn’t be done yet.

Terrible defending at the far post would end up giving Inter an unlikely victory right at the end of the game as Danilo D’Ambrosio headed in and whilst Inter players peeled away in excitement the truth is Fiorentina only had themselves to blame.

The game was very open but you could argue that Inter shaded it or that a draw would have been justified. Inter had more of the ball and had 6 shots on target to Fiorentina’s four.

Inter Milan: Man of the Match- Lautaro Martinez

Martinez earned 4 points, alongside Lukaku that was the most of any player from the team. But his fantastic goal earlier on in the game was a thing of beauty and he always remained a threat, he has a bright future ahead of him.

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The new handball rule is outrageous and ruining football

The new handball rule has been affecting Premier League games of late as no one seems to know what is going on.

Goals have been disallowed and penalties have been given, too many it seems. There has been 5 already given adjudged for a player to have handled the ball, and we are in the first month of the league. Last season there was 19 the whole season. The rules have without a doubt changed what is happening on the pitch- but for the wrong reasons.

There were plenty of controversial moments just this weekend. The game that sticks out is Tottenham v Newcastle. The home side were pretty much dominant for the whole game, creating plenty of chances, although deep into injury time the score was only 1-0. That was until Andy Carroll headed the ball towards Eric Dier’s arm, Dier was looking away at the time, and whilst Newcastle appealed for a penalty, the referee waved it in. For him it wasn’t a penalty, and he had made what looked like to be the correct decision.

Yet a few minutes later, the game was recalled back because VAR had got involved. Once the referee went to the on screen monitor and checked again, he changed his mind. The question is did he change his mind because he was told rules are rules or did he change his mind because he genuinely thought he had got ti wrong? Newcastle got the penalty and scored- it was their first shot on target the whole game. They had been poor and deserved nothing from the game but because of the new rule which states even if a player handballs by mistake off of another attacker a penalty should be awarded.

There were other incidents too. Everton won the game at Crystal Palace due to the same incident at Tottenham. Yes there was handball but it was very clear that it wasn’t intentional. And then why was nothing said when Kai Havertz handled the ball in Chelsea’s run up goal which gave them a 3-3 draw at West Bromwich Albion?

It makes very little sense, if on one hand the rules stay and there not good for the game, then at least make them consistent. But that has always been the problem, and whilst the rules are mostly to blame so is VAR. Had VAR not got involved in the Tottenham game and respected the referee’s decision Tottenham would have won the game. And there are plenty of sides to the argument. For example if Tottenham were 2-0 up and the penalty was given, would this even be a story?

The IFAB who approve the rules need to take a long hard look at themselves. They and VAR should never be the star of the show, just like before VAR, the referee should be respected but never seen, it’s an art. Since when did we suddenly forget the job the referee does?

If this continues it seems clear that the referee’s job will be obsolete soon. No officials are complaining as of yet but as time goes on who wants to keep being overruled in the biggest decisions?

Last night there was a panic meeting where a back tracking IFAB admitted that referees and VAR could use leeway in how they judge their decisions for penalties from now on. Wrong decision, the new rule should have been abolished there and then, watch this space because the recent meeting will change nothing, in fact it will bring even more controversy.

One final harrowing thought is on cheating. We know that even the best professional players in the heat of the moment can cheat, mostly to wind up a player to get them sent off or dive for a penalty, we don’t like talking about it, but it does happen.

How long will it be until skilled players going for a header, choose to head towards a defender’s hand and not the goal, knowing that they can get a penalty from a useless situation? It is worth thinking about.

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Premier League’s Game of the Week: Manchester City 2-5 Leicester City

If any of Manchester City and Leicester were going to win 5-2 then 99% of the chance it would be Manchester City, at the weekend we saw the rule to that exception.

In a stunning result Leicester who have started the season in style put 5 goals past Pep Guardiola’s City side, champions in two out of the last 3 seasons as they sailed to a stunning 5-2 victory at the Etihad.

And no one could have seen it coming. In City’s first game of the season they made light work of Wolves beating them 3-1. Whilst Leicester had started well they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in midweek against Arsenal, though Brendan Rodgers was able to leave a few regulars out.

As for the game it looked over almost as soon as it had started as Riyad Mahrez the former Leicester player, who else? gave City the lead. This was now going to go to script surely and City were supposed to wipe the floor with the unbeaten Leicester, but that didn’t happen.

Leicester made their presence felt and James Maddison was all over the pitch, there was a sense that this game wasn’t all going to be about City. Then before half time Leicester were awarded a penalty and Jamie Vardy scored his 3rd goal of the season. The half ended 1-1, and still even with 45 minutes gone nobody could have predicted the outcome.

It was early in the second half that the change happened. Vardy scored again a brilliant flick that put the Foxes in the lead, and then just five minutes later it was another penalty, again for Leicester and in the space of 21 minutes Vardy- the top goalscorer last season had completed his hat trick.

At 3-1 the game wasn’t over and yet it felt it like the home side despite their quality had been winded. The game rolled on and City tried but the minutes ticked away and then the brilliant James Maddison smashed a long range shot right into the back of the net, it was 4-1, the game was over for City, but the game wasn’t over.

New signing for Guardiola’s team Nathan Ake got a goal back to make it 4-2 near the end, could there have possibly been a crazy comeback? In the Premier League you can really never say never but that wasn’t happening today.

A third penalty confirmed that when Youri Tielemans converted, the score was now 5-2. It was an incredible result and even though there were 3 penalties there was nothing controversial about the decisions, no one complained everyone accepted even Guardiola had to, his team had been well and truly beaten and he was right to be annoyed with his defenders after the game, basic errors at this level left viewers stunned.

With the win Leicester the 2016 champions are top of the league once more, they have scored an incredible 12 goals. For City this feels like deja vue in that they started slow last season and dropped too many points as their rivals Liverpool started strongly, the gap is already six points between City and the champions.

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La Liga: Best 11 Players of Matchday 3

It’s officially the 3rd week of the Spanish season but this was the first game that Barcelona were involved in and they didn’t disappoint as they swathed aside Villarreal 4-0.

Champions Real Madrid came back from a losing position to stun Real Betis and win 3-2 in a very entertaining game. But the man taking all of the headlines will be Luis Suarez, who scored 2 goals for his new club Atletico Madrid as they crushed Granada 6-1.

Let’s take a look below at the best 11 players this past weekend, did any of them make your team?

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Norberto Neto- Barcelona 7pts

Credit need to be given to Norberto Neto who usually doesn’t get much game time for Barcelona. He joined last season but this was only his 3rd game for the club. Barcelona were clearly the superior team as they demolished Villarreal 4-0 but Neto still had a job to do and kept composed and got his clean sheet.

Defender: Jordi Alba- Barcelona 7pts

Jordi Alba was part of a defence that kept a clean sheet as Barcelona easily beat Villarreal 4-0 at home. Alba also assisted in Barca’s first goal of the game, and their first of the season and it was another solid game for him.

Defender: Xabier Etxeita- Getafe 5pts

Xabier Etxeita earned 5pt as he helped keep a clean sheet for his club Getafe as they drew 0-0 with Alaves, he is valued at just 3m and could be a bargain pick if he can keep up his performances throughout the season.

Defender: Clement Lenglet- Barcelona 5pts

Lenglet was criticised last season in an overall poor season that his club Barcelona had. Of course this wasn’t all his fault and the defender put in an assured performance as he helped keep a clean sheet in Barca’s win over Villarreal which they won 4-0.

Defender: Ruben Duarte- Alaves 5pts

Ruben Duarte put in a good shift at home as Alaves were able to pick up a point with a 0-0 draw against Getafe. It wasn’t the best of games but Duarte showed his qualities and made a few very good interceptions during the game. Because he was in minus points before, these 5pts have helped him and he now has a total of 4pts.

Midfielder: Angel Correa- Atletico Madrid 8pts

Atletico Madrid were superb in beating Granada 6-1 and Angel Correa was at the heart of the action in midfield. Correa assisted in 2 of the six goals and was a constant threat in his position. He is valued at 7.5m.

Midfielder: Unai Lopez- Athletic Bilbao 8pts

Unai Lopez had a great game in midfield for Bilbao and scored both of their goals grabbing the three points as Bilbao beat Eibar impressively away from home by 2-1.

Midfielder: Portu- Real Sociedad 6pts

Portu had a solid game as he opened the scoring for Real Sociedad and made brilliant use of possession in midfield. Sociedad went onto beat Elche 3-0 at the weekend. Portu is valued at 8.5m and has an overall score of 8 points so far this season.

Midfielder: Marcos Llorente- Atletico Madrid 6pts

A brilliant game for Marcos Llorente in midfield who scored Atletico’s 4th goal in their 6-1 win over Granada. He was all over the pitch- in a good way and it was no surprise in the end that he also assisted in another goal.

Striker: Luis Suarez- Atletico Madrid 10pts

What a debut for Luis Suarez who signed from Barcelona just a few weeks ago. Not only did he see his new team score 6 goals in their first league game of the season, he scored a brace. What made his debut more impressive is that he only came on for the last 20 minutes. He is valued at 15m.

Striker: Anssumane Fati- Barcelona 8pts

Anssumane Fati seems like a striker worth keeping an eye on, he had a very decent last season and has started this one in great form. He scored 2 of Barcelona’s 4 goals against Villarreal and they were the opening two goals which effectively killed off the game. At just 5m Fati looks a steal for a great bargain.

Player of the weekend: Luis Suarez- Atletico Madrid 10pts

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Premier League: Best 11 Players for Matchday 3

Another 29 goals were scored at the weekend in the Premier League from 8 games, keeping a frantic and exciting goal average up since the beginning of the season. The stunning result was Leicester travelling to Manchester City and beating them 5-2, as a result Brendan Rodgers side are now top of the league.

Chelsea and Tottenham could only draw their games and West Ham finally put in a great performance to condemn Wolves to their 2nd defeat in a row.

So which players performed the best this past weekend, are they in your team, look below to find out.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Lukasz Fabianski- West Ham 7pts

Lukasz Fabianski didn’t have a lot to do but made some good saves and kept himself composed as he kept a clean sheet. He really got over his instructions to the back four also, and played his part in a fantastic win for the Hammers. He now has 3 points overall as was in the minus points after a poor start from the club.

Defender: Arthur  Masuaku- West Ham 7pts

With Masuaku earning 7 points at the weekend for his clean sheet in West Ham’s 4-0 win over Wolves he now has the most points for any defender at the club with an overall score of 6 points his value is 5.5m. Masuaku capped off a great match by assisting for the clubs 4th goal.

Defender: Jannick Vestergaard- Southampton 5pts

Not many clubs are keeping clean sheets in the league this season, but Southampton did and they won their first game by beating Burnley 1-0 away. Vestergaard was clearly the best defender for the Saints and earned the most with 5pts, in an important victory for the club.

Defender: Liam Cooper- Leeds United 5pts

Leeds had conceded 7 goals before this game and so it was a surprise to see the club keep a clean sheet. Liam Cooper really rose to the occasion to keep Sheffield United quiet and Leeds marched on with back to back wins. Cooper is valued at 6m.

Defender: Aaron Cresswell- West Ham 5pts

It’s been a nightmare time for West Ham, so beating Wolves 4-0 was very welcome. Cresswell was able to keep a clean sheet in the process and made some very daring tackles and set the play up well as the game went on.

Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez- Manchester City 6pts

Manchester City had a nightmare losing 5-2 against Leicester but one bright light was Mahrez’s performance. He scored the opener for the home side and assisted in the clubs 2nd goal, of course by then the game was over. Mahrez is valued at 9.5m.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 5pts

Bruno Fernandes was one of the best players for Manchester United last season. He has started this one slightly quiet but made up for it this past weekend as United beat Brighton 3-2. He scored an injury time penalty which was the winning goal, assisted in the clubs 2nd goal, and got booked though which lost him a few points.

Midfielder: Lucas Moura- Tottenham 4pts

A controversial game saw Tottenham draw 1-1 with Newcastle who were clearly the second best side. Lucas Moura got the goal to put Tottenham ahead and he will hope this is the first of many to come this season.

Midfielder: Jack Harrison -Leeds United 4pts

Jack Harrison had a solid game in midfield for Leeds and capped off his day by setting up Patrick Bamford to get the only goal and winning one for Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the 88th minute. Harrison now has 8 points overall and is valued at 5.5m.

Striker: Jamie Vardy -Leicester 14pts

Easily one of the best Premier League strikers of the decade, Jamie Vardy like a fine wine just keeps getting better and better defying his age. Vardy was remarkable as he scored a hat trick against the mighty Manchester City away from home. Two were penalties but he still had to put them away and then scored a cracking goal in between. Vardy earned a huge 14pts and now has 5 goals already this season.

Striker: Callum Robertson- West Bromwich Albion 8pts

Callum Robertson had a fantastic game as his side took on Chelsea and ended up drawing 3-3. He will feel disappointed given that he had given WBA a 2 goal lead, but the final result shouldn’t distract from his fantastic performance and he makes the team of the weekend. He is valued at just 3.5m.

Player of the weekend: Jamie Vardy- Leicester 14pts

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What is Brazilian legend Ronaldo’s ultimate goal with Real Valladolid?

In 2018 when Ronaldo, the 1990s Brazilian version became the majority owner of Spanish club Real Valladolid it certainly raised eyebrows.Why would Ronaldo become president of a club who were used to either being relegated or fighting in a relegation dog fight? The answer is the challenge and of course the affordability of the club, Ronaldo now owns 82% of the team, but is his project go after 2 years?

In Ronaldo’s first season of ownership Valladolid came 16th and just 4 points was the difference between staying in La Liga and playing their next season in the Segunda. Everyone at the club was obviously relived. They also made it to the quarter finals of the Copa del Rey which was no mean feat but all in all it was a season with a few highs and one to forget.

The next season saw an improvement in the league when they finished 13th but they had only ironically finished with 1 more point than the previous season and had only won a lowly 23% of their games.

This season marks the clubs 90th in existence. The objective of course is to improve and keep moving forwards. The club lost Mohammed Salisu to Premier League side Southampton but got a small fortune for him 12m euros. Transfers in and have been mostly free ones, though Fabian Orellana from Eibar catches the eye.

The project this season is to try and reach 50 points and finish in the top 10 and then for the season after qualification for the Europa League- this would be the best case scenario. But when Valladolid aren’t playing well one could just imagine that Ronaldo would love to rip off that suit, go back in time 20 years and get on that pitch pronto. The club lose a lot of games and that includes home ones, and this will be a frustrating role for Ronaldo before it gets better, and the fact is football can be cruel, it may never get better, especially if the club are relegated.

Valladolid played four pre-season games losing 2 of them but gained a decent 2-2 draw away to Portuguese side Braga in their last game before the La Liga season kicked off on September 12th.

In the league the club have played two games, starting with a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad at home and then a defeat away to Real Betis losing 2-0. Michel, the attacking midfielder has scored the clubs only goal so far.

It will be a long and testing season for the club with such limited funds, their next game is on September 27th when they will play Celta Vigo at home. Home games will be so important for the club, and they must pick up points here, that is going to be key for survival for the 3rd time in a row under Ronaldo.

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Roma begin Serie A season in chaos as their first league game is awarded to Verona

After all the pre-season build up and the chaos endured by the Coronavirus over last season which is clearly affecting this season too, Roma, in the end, shot themselves in the foot.

The club coached by Paulo Fonseca thought that they had earned a point away to tricky opponents in Verona as the game had ended 0-0. Not so, there was more drama to come.

Verona were awarded a 3-0 win in the end that is standard practice in football due to the other team either cheating or make a terrible error- in Roma’s case they made a terrible error. A wrong player selection. The case of Amadou Diawara to be exact who was added to the Under 22 portion of Roma’s squad even though he turned 23 in July. That is a serious no no and Serie A sporting judge Gerardo Mastrandrea officially awarded the win to Verona and the game’s original result effectively null and void.

Pantaleo Longo Roma’s secretary has handed in his resignation and Roma have lost a point and been made to look foolish, though of course it was just human error but rules are rules.

It leaves Roma in 19th place, not exactly where they want to be as they have been seen this season as genuine title challengers to the all conquering Juventus. Without the mix up Roma would be entering their 2nd league game in 9th place, 10 places above. The good news of course is that there is plenty of time to make those points up.

As for the game Fonseca’s side lined up with a formation of 3-4-2-1 packing the midfield. New signing from Arsenal Henrikh Mkhitaryan played the lone striker.

Roma enjoyed more of the possession and had 15 attempts on goal, though only 7 on target which was the same as Verona.

Goalkeeper Antonio Mirante collected the most points earning 7pts for his ‘clean sheet’ of course whether that will stand long term is unclear in the fantasy rankings. The best outfield player on the day was defender Ibanez who seemed to be everywhere and cover so much ground, his value is 6m to add to your team and he earned 5pts.

The other big news coming out of the club this week is that striker Edin Dzeko looks very likely that he will join Juventus. The deal will be for 2 years, and that dashes any hope that Luis Suarez had of joining the old lady although he looks set for a move to Atletico Madrid.

Roma’s next game will be against the champions Juventus, they will be at home in a very early test for the club. The result remains uncertain but one thing is for sure and that is the team line ups will be checked and checked again.

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Inter prepare for new Serie A season in style amidst claims Lionel Messi will arrive soon

Serie A kicked off at the weekend though without Inter Milan whose first game will take place this Saturday at home against Fiorentina.

Inter will be one of the favourites to challenge for the title although a few levels above them of course will be Juventus who will be determined to become champions again and win their 10th title in a row.

By next year it would have been 11 years since Inter last won the league when they swooped up not only that but the treble by winning the Coppa Italia and Champions League. Those days are long gone but on the evidence of last season Inter are getting back into challenging for honours under coach Antonio Conte.

In pre-season the club have scored an incredible 19 goals. However there is a catch of sorts given their opponents. With the pandemic hitting back again Inter had no choice but to keep games local and not to travel large distances. Their first match was against Lugano a local team right on the Swiss/Italian border and that match ended 5-0 to Inter. Lautaro Martinez a transfer target for Barcelona scored a brace to help the club on their way and Romelu Lukaku got the final goal.

Inter’s next game was against Carrarese a team who plays in Serie C so the final score shouldn’t have been much of a surprise as Inter ran out 7-0 winners. Lukaku and Martinez each scored a brace in a simple game for the club. Their final pre-season game was against Pisa and it was a repeat score, another 7-0 win with Martinez scoring a hat trick.

The games were too easy for Inter but at the same time it has been a good workout for the players and they needed some game time before they kick off their season proper.

The big news surrounding the club has been reports that Lionel Messi will move to Inter at the end of this season. And it doesn’t seem all tabloid talk either as those words came from ex Inter player and legend Nicola Berti. Berti said that he believes Messi will arrive next year, as Messi will be a free transfer by then and that Inter are a very strong team and can challenge for the league title.

If anything these do look like exciting times for Inter. They have a complete team now that should be able to give Juventus a run for their money. We will know much more where the club are at after this weekend.

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