Thursday, August 19, 2021
No euphoria in Italy
Sale instead of departure in Serie A
Italy’s national team triumphs at the European Championship in the summer. But before the start of the domestic league, Serie A, there is hardly any optimism in Italian club football. The pandemic has exposed years of mismanagement. The sell-off begins.
Italy’s penalty killer Gianluigi Donnarumma is still completely flabbergasted. “An unforgettable evening”, wrote the European champion on Instagram, not referring to the “Notte Magica” in the London football temple Wembley, but to his performance at Paris St. Germain. The 22-year-old moved from his training club AC Milan to Paris just two days after his heroics on penalties against England.
But not only because of the goalkeeper, the once coveted Serie A threatens to sell out the stars before the start of their 90th season on Saturday. In addition to Donnarumma, Inter Milan’s Achraf Hakimi said goodbye to the French capital at the beginning of July for 60 million euros. Hakimi’s previous team-mate Romelu Lukaku left the Italian champions for almost double in the direction of Champions League winners Chelsea.
While the national team under coach Roberto Mancini enraptured Europe this summer with successful and thrilling football, the league is losing more and more of the European leaders in terms of sport and finances. As a replacement for the Lukaku goal machine, Inter did not buy large, but has so far been content with the free transfer obligation of 35-year-old Edin Dzeko from AS Roma.
Like many Italian first division clubs, the Lombards are burdened with debt that has accumulated over the years. Inter’s Chinese club boss and investor Steven Zhang therefore ordered an austerity course. Coach Antonio Conte then took his hat because he did not get any reinforcements for his ambitious goals in the Champions League.
It will also be tight for Juve
There were prominent changes within the league – albeit similar to in Germany – especially in the coaching bench: Lazio Rom’s Simone Inzaghi took over for Conte at Inter, the vacant chair in the capital is now occupied by Maurizio Sarri. At Juventus Turin, the former master coach Massimo Allegri inherited the hapless Andrea Pirlo. In addition, Jose Mourinho was hired by AS Roma.
In view of the extensive personnel damage, Atalanta Bergamo also expects Robin Gosen’s chances of the first championship in club history. However, the national player is also toying with a farewell to Italy, preferably in the direction of the Bundesliga.
The former serial champion Juventus is meanwhile behind its own expectations, despite the promising change of Cristiano Ronaldo three years ago, the old lady has moved further and further away from the longed-for triumph in the premier class. Most recently, it even ended twice in the round of 16. On the other hand, there is great euphoria from the second division in the upper house. FC Venice rose back to Serie A after 19 years of abstinence, and club president Duncan Niederauer jumped into one of the port city’s world-famous canals, drunk with joy. The black and gold jersey in haute couture look was sold out online within a few hours.