Italy improving under Mancini, but supporters must pump the breaks


After banging in the stoppage-time goal at the back post thanks to substitute Kevin Lasagna’s initial glancing header from the corner, Fiorentina’s Cristiano Biraghi’s late-game heroics were enough to see Italy past Poland 1-0 on Sunday, escaping relegation from Group 3 in the UEFA Nations League.

The 26-year old celebrated his first international tally by throwing up a “13″ towards the heavens in honor of the late Viola captain Davide Astori. Surely, it was a unifying moment for Italy and Italians everywhere who swarmed the match-winner and finally had something to rally around after 12 months of heartbreak.

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The brillance of Juventus’ Douglas Costa might be lost in his fiery temper

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Douglas Costa is a wonderful football player, watch him, study him and it is like witnessing Garrincha from the 1950s play with the ball. He zips in and out, runs fast, dribbles fearless like Lionel Messi circa 2010 and has one of the fastest thinking heads in football so why isn’t he a household name? This past weekend answered that.

The truth is for every chance, turn on the ball and making world class defenders look silly there is the other side. A player that kicks out, that uses his head and that spits point blank into the face of the opposition.

Quite rightly Costa was sent off at the weekend for Juventus a team who officially bought him this season after a loan period from Bayern Munich. The reason? Was all of the above. Against Sassuolo’s Frederico Di Francesco starting a long running feud where Costa elbowed and then headbutted the player. Incredibly that wasn’t enough for Costa to get a red card, he had somehow gotten away with it, but then the two players came face to face exchanged words and that is when Costa went for the triple whammy and spat in his face from a few inches out. Now the referee had no other choice but to send him off.

The question now is will Costa face a lengthy ban? There have been calls to add 3 more games to the normal ban and make it 6, with some even believing that he should receive a 10 game suspension. What is clear is that Juventus manager Max Allegri has confirmed that Costa will receive a big fine for what he has done. Another question must be posed and that is what did Di Francesco say to Costa for the Brazilian to act in such a way. Was it simply tackles and fouls that led Costa to act like this or was it something else? Of course no matter what it was Costa’s reaction was and will always be inexcusable.

For a player that is now 28 years of age he has played less than 30 games for Brazil and seldom gets picked for the big games. And this is the real tragedy of Costa’s career so far because he really is that good when he is on his game. Witness when at this summers World Cup he was manager Tite’s secret weapon and was finally brought on when Neymar’s skills had stalled against Belgium in the quarter finals. With Brazil 2-0 down he dazzled on the right wing and the Belgians could simply not handle him. Before long it was 2-1, and they almost made a comeback before running out of gas. But still Costa had made a huge difference, and was the only player in yellow that night thinking outside of the box.

Why was it then that Tite did not deploy him and make him a regular instead of warming the bench? Hopefully this isn’t the answer but it could be that he knew Costa had this anger inside him that could come to the forefront in pressured environment like the World Cup knock out games.

Costa reminds one of other super talented Brazilians that couldn’t keep their emotions in check and whose careers suffered because of it. Edmundo in the 1990s again in Italy for Fiorentina was simply breath-taking on the eye but collected his fair share of red cards, Denilson who was all set to be the worlds best player could not live up to the hype and then there was the many troubles of Adriano. Costa still has time to turn it around and it would be a sad loss if he was to follow these other players reputations after the abundance of skill that he has born into those two feet.



Juventus should be considered Champions League favorites

RonaldoIt is early August in Turin, and Juventus have enjoyed a successful transfer campaign. Perhaps, the most successful in their history as they landed Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best player in the world. At the very least, he is considered top two.

The Serie A season is right around the corner, but Juventus are not concerned with that. They know that they would have been the favorites to win Serie A for the eighth consecutive year with or without Ronaldo. That was not the purpose of the move.  Continue reading

Does Leonardo Bonucci’s return make sense for Juventus?

bonucci.milan.2017.18.capitano.750x450The big transfer story out of Serie A for the past week or so has been the potential return of Leonardo Bonucci to Juventus. Just one year ago, Bonucci shook Serie A by leaving the Bianconeri in order to join rivals AC Milan, and now he seems to want to reverse that decision.

The deal, as has been reported, will see young Italian defender Mattia Caldara and Gonzalo Higuain join the Rossoneri in exchange for Bonucci. Caldara is an interesting inclusion into the deal because the youngster was just brought back to Juventus after two season on loan to Atalanta.  Continue reading

Transfer uncertainty for Atalanta ahead of Europa League kick off


Although the Serie A season is not set to begin until mid August, Italian side Atalanta begin their competitive campaign tonight in the Europa League.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side take on Bosnian club FK Sarajevo at the Mapei Stadium, as they bid to enter the Europa League group sages for the second successive season.

A seventh place finish last season, combined with a run to the round of 32 in the Europa League, capped an impressive campaign – however their start to the 2018-19 campaign has been hampered by some bizarre transfer dealings.

Italian international Bryan Cristante was vital for them last season, on loan from Benfica, as the second part of an eighteen month loan from the Portuguese side.

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Will Fiorentina Gain A European Place Next Term?

Fiorentina are still waiting to hear whether or not they will compete in the Europa League next term, Stefano Pioli’s men likely to be awarded the place of AC Milan after they were expelled from the competition for violation of Financial Fair Play Rules. Continue reading

Viola Pride Despite Defeat

They wanted to do it for Davide Astori. As Fiorentina huffed and puffed versus Cagliari on Sunday, it was clear that this young side were almost trying too hard to obtain the desired result that would see them finish in the Europa League places with rivals AC Milan still to play next weekend.

Supporters had packed the Stadio Artemio Franchi in order to cheer their team onto victory, but the harder the players tried to please those who turned out to see them, the harder it became.

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Best Strikers in Serie A – Week 11


With further chapters in this season’s Serie A story having been written, Napoli’s lead at the top of Serie A was cut to a single point with Juventus breathing down their necks. Continue reading