Agnelli comments on bond and Spinazzola speaks

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The president Andrea Agnelli and the CFO Marco Re explained the issuing of the €175M bond: “We are very satisfied for the operation. It is a corporate bond, so we issued it directly, not through a vehicle. We have been the first club to do it, it is a senior and non-guaranteed loan. It is a move that confirm our ability to plan. We are trying to continue to grow, even though we are aware that the top teams are still distant.” The executive stated: “The dynamic of the debt is clear by the numbers, it was €310M in June, then we spent €160M in the summer window. Even with the ability to generate cash flow, it is set to raise, hence the bond. Our goal is sustainability and the route to do it is to replicate what we did with Adidas.” They recently renegotiated the terms of the sponsorship. Continue reading

Allegri’s presser ahead of Juventus-Frosinone

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Massimiliano Allegri talked to the press earlier today ahead of the Frosinone game: “Cristiano Ronaldo will play, why would not he? You are and everybody else are obsessed with Champions League. I am not, we are lucky to play in a round of 16 game in a new stadium basically a week from now. We have to focus on defeating Frosinone, because it would bring us one fewer win away from our goal. Then we will focus on Atletico Madrid. They have won three times without conceding on the road, we must not forget what happened two years ago. You can only win matches on the pitch, we will need professional performance in order to prepare in the best possible way.” Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 24

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Juventus-Frosinone: the Bianconeri quickly bounced back in Sassuolo after the 3-3 draw with Parma and have won four times in the last five fixtures, fortifying their lead in the standings. The Ciociari have been pesky recently and they are coming off a surprise win over Sampdoria, their second in a row on the road, and they are now within striking distance from the 17th spot. With Champions League just around the corner, Cristiano Ronaldo might be rested for the second time in Serie A, which would mean more scoring opportunities for Mario Mandzukic, Federico Bernardeschi and Paulo Dybala, or whoever will compose the front-line. Continue reading

From Hazard to Dybala and possibly Neymar Real Madrid need to buy big next season

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By their incredible standards Real Madrid have looked their most fragile and normal for the first time in a good decade. It has been a season of transition for the club who came into this season without Ronaldo and with Zinedine Zidane resigning. It has felt a little empty for a side who have won the last 3 Champions League trophies.

Let’s be honest something has felt off about the club, where was the mega signings? Because look around and you will see that Florentino Perez is still around, he who invented the original galacticos and made sure that Madrid kept signing the very best players- sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t- yes we all remember Thomas Gravesen.

This season was clearly a breather- so much had happened in such a short space of time at Madrid then everyone needed it. And yet the club find themselves just 6 points behind league leaders Barcelona, are in the semi finals of the Copa del Rey, have won the World Club Cup and have one foot in the quarter finals of the Champions League- things really are not that bad at the club, are they?

Madrid though will be having a summer of upheaval, there is no secret about that. Coach Santiago Solari is only staying if he is able to win a trophy and the Copa del Rey may not be enough for  a side who are used to winning bigger trophies. But it is the players that the club will be bringing in which is raising the most eyebrows.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Madrid have been flirting with each other ever since the World Cup ended last summer and Hazard has made no secret of where he would like to play next season. With his current club Chelsea looking like they might hit a meltdown under current coach Maurizio Sarri, Hazard may just be able to find the perfect excuse to leave. He is very much expected to leave what ever happens at Chelsea.

Paulo Dybala is another leading candidate to join Los Blancos, it what would be seen as more of a shock move after his successful career at Juventus, but Dybala the class player that he is should be able to fit into Madrid with few problems.

Then there is the real shock move which could happen this summer- the transfer of Neymar from PSG- could it really happen? Neymar would be gold for Madrid and a big loss for PSG. But what about the Barcelona fans? Last time a big name player switched clubs- Luis Figo from Barcelona to Real Madrid fans started a riot ending with a pigs head on the pitch.

Neymar would be the key for Madrid going forward, although Hazard may see Neymar as a threat as he wants to be the shining light at the club- One thing is for certain, this summer will be an incredibly interesting one at the circus that is Real Madrid.

 

Can Napoli threaten Juventus in Serie A this season?

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Juventus are in their usual spot of 1st place in Serie A as they go after an incredible 8th Scudetto in a row, no other team has won Serie A since Milan did so in 2011 and it has been a decade of utter dominance by the Old Lady.

Any team hoping that the good times were going to fizzle out for Juve were greatly let down when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo for 100m euros last summer. Together with an already world class squad Ronaldo has helped them back to the top of the league and is currently the leading goal scorer in his debut season in Italy. Everything is like a dream for Juventus at this moment, and then there is Napoli…..

The team from Naples have not won the league since 1990 when a certain Diego Maradona helped them to the title with his greatness and goals. Those days are long gone, but Napoli of the last 10 years have been a very impressive team. Take for example that they have finished runner up to Juventus in the 2010s on 3 different occasions and have at times really tried to push the Turin club. The problem is that Napoli keep losing the title and are being seen as the pretenders each season.

This one looks like ending the same, but Napoli yet again in 2nd place have not given up hope. Currently they have 52 points and are 11 points behind. They have messed up in recent weeks as they drew against both AC Milan and Fiorentina, but is there a way back for the side?

One way could be that Juventus get tied up in the Champions League. They have only won the competition twice in their history in 1985 and 1996, and have been a runner up 2 times from the last 4 competitions. It is the one trophy they are looking for this season and let’s face it it is the reason they signed Ronaldo in the first place, a player that has just won 3 of what they want in a row. Now could be the time.

So from Napoli’s perspective if Juventus get caught up in the competition inevitably they will focus on it, and should start dropping points. Well that is the theory. Let’s remind ourselves that this Juventus team are still unbeaten and it would take Napoli to win every game remaining of this season to have a chance for the title, that’s winning 15 games in a row.

It isn’t going to happen this season, Napoli have dropped the ball so to speak on too many occasions. But next season could be a real possibility and would also mark 30 years since they last won it.

Why Marotta deserves credit for handling of Icardi situation

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For millions of Inter fans across the world, the last 24 hours have proved to be rather tumultuous. Mauro Icardi has been stripped of his role as team captain as he once again finds his future at the club clouded in uncertainty. Indeed, the Argentine striker has also been omitted from the Nerazzurri squad which travelled to Austria to face Rapid Vienna in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 tomorrow night. Yes, the black and blue half of Milan once again finds itself in a state of absolute chaos. Continue reading

Spalletti backs Lautaro to thrive in Icardi’s absence

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Luciano Spalletti spoke to the media ahead of Inter’s crucial UEFA Europa League round of 32 match against Rapid Vienna tomorrow night. Here is what he said to the journalists who gathered in Austria this evening: “Rapid are a team with character, they won in Moscow against Spartak on a pitch that I know very well. They made it out of a really difficult group. We congratulate them on this but at the same time we’re here to win.” Continue reading

Juventus looking for ways to bring in cash

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Juventus are trying to solidify the balance sheets after the mammoth investment for Cristiano Ronaldo and, after the board of directors had approved it yesterday, the club announced the placement of €175M non-convertible bond due on February 19, 2024. The notes will be issued at a 99.434% price and will pay a fixed annual coupon of 3.375% and will be listed in the Global Exchange Market of Euronext Dublin.

Per the official statement, the decision aims at “providing resources for its general corporate purposes, streamlining the structure and the maturity of the debt.” The transaction attracted order in excess of €250M, receiving demands from Asia, Germany, France, UK and Italy. Continue reading

Can Gattuso make fallen Serie A giants AC Milan a force once again?

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There seems to be a buzz around the San Siro of late and that is due largely to AC Milan’s out going coach Gennaro Gattuso. Gattuso was always one to stuck on the field and that attitude hasn’t changed a bit as he intends to be outspoken outside of it. But you can only be that self confident and get away with it if you start producing results on the pitch and that is what Gattuso intends to do.

The past few years have been hard on AC Milan who were so used to dominating world football in the 80s and 90s and even in their declining years and the declining years of Serie A which gave up the great footballing names for La Liga in Spain, Milan were a force to be reckoned with. Witness their 2 Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007 as evidence of that.

But soon after the club were having to play in the Europa League and they haven’t won Serie A since 2011. Indeed apart from the Supercoppa Italiano in 2016, the clubs last major trophy was that Serie A title in 2011.

It is difficult to think that Milan who have won the European Cup (Champions League) on 7 different occasions are also rans in the competition now. They don’t even qualify for Europe’s premier competition and yet are one of the most successful teams to have ever competed in it. This is where Gattuso steps in and he wants to change the clubs losing mentality of the past few years and bring with it a new golden generation of players.

Gattuso is seen as a club legend having joined them in 1999 and stayed until 2012 making well over 300 appearances. He also has a lot of respect from the fans since after retiring he made his way up the managerial ranks, first as coach of the other 19 side and then took charge in winter of 2017 after the sacking of Vincenzo Montella.

His current win rate of 47% needs to be improved but he has still won 32 of the 67 games he has been in charge of and has impressed the Milan board so much that his contract has been extended until 2021. Gattuso could well be a success story at Milan, in short he is one of them which goes a long way.

This season Milan will not win the league and they are actually a whopping 24 points behind leaders Juventus. At the same time the club are in 4th place, which would be good enough to qualify for the play offs of the Champions League. But there are 3 clubs chasing them. Their next target is to overtake Inter, their fierce rivals in the league who have a 4 point advantage over them. Do that and Gattuso makes his statement to the club and fans that his team are going places. Next season could get very interesting for the old veterans of football.

Juventus announce Ramsey and Paratici discusses transfer market topics

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Eleven days after the end of the January transfer market window, Juventus announced the signing of Aaron Ramsey for next summer, which was secured weeks, if not months, ago. The Bosman move will cost the club only €3.7M in agents’ fees, while the midfielder has penned a four-year contract, with a reported €7M salary.

Ramsey has been a regular at Arsenal since 2010 and racked up 359 appearances with the Gunners, scoring 61 goals and providing 64 assists. In London, he has won the FA Cup and the Community Shield three times. The 28-year-old will be the third Welsh in the history of the Bianconeri after John Charles in the late 50’s and Ian Rush in the 80’s. Continue reading