This was the first week of the new Serie A season. Things seemed to go according to plan. Juventus won. Fiorentina played like a bunch of hastily assembled strangers. Napoli played free flowing, attractive football and almost undid itself in the end. Everything went according to plan. So, there’s not really a result that stands out from the rest in terms of demanding the attention. But that’s because there’s a new game in town.
Serie A is almost back. So close you can nearly taste it. So, while most of Italy is shutting down in advance of Ferragosto, we’re going to spend some time with our Serie A preview, making predictions for the season ahead. Prepare for all of these to look completely wrong in eight months’ time.
In his heyday, everyone detested playing against AC Milan and Filippo Inzaghi. Physically and technically there was nothing about Inzaghi that stood out. He didn’t possess incredible pace or sublime technical skill, but he was an absolute menace nonetheless.
The Serie A season starts in two weeks. The transfer window is open for another three weeks. Due to this strange arrangement, none of the squads are entirely set in stone. This week, we’ll examine some of the most interesting, important and lucrative transfers and assess whether there’s any chance they’ll happen before deadline day.
Clubs: Juventus to Barcelona
One of the best parts of the beginning of the European club season is CUP MAGIC. CUP MAGIC occurs when SMALL CLUBS DO BIG THINGS. The most common example of CUP MAGIC is a small club taking down a big club, but CUP MAGIC can happen in any cup match in which a small club happens to be playing.
In the Coppa Italia yesterday, Serie B clubs Bari and Parma faced off, and Bari's Cristian Galano demonstrated CUP MAGIC with an outrageous 90th minute bicycle kick winner.
Fiorentina is having a terrible summer. While many of Italy’s top teams have reinforced considerably, the Florentines have managed to decimate their own squad and infuriate their supporters in equal measure. To look at the summer as a whole, it’s awful. Dreadful. Rotten. But when you closely examine each wretched piece of business individually, things look even worse. So, let’s do exactly that.
The start of major European leagues looms and fans are anxious to see how their teams fare on opening weekend. But how much does the first match even matter? After all, it's a long season and teams have plenty of time to rebound from week one losses. Or do they?
Looking at the statistics, it appears that the first game can set the tone for an entire season. It can either give a burst of confidence or present an omen of troubles ahead.
As the first words were placed onto this page, Antonio Cassano had rethought his recent decision to retire. He was set to play another season at Hellas Verona, reuniting with Giampaolo Pazzini for a Serie A farewell tour. By the time we got to the final words of this very paragraph — barely the third sentence — he was going to retire again.
It didn't take Christian Pulisic long to show his new boss what he can do with the ball at his feet. In Borussia Dortmund’s first match of the International Champions Cup against renovated AC Milan in China, Pulisic had two assists and drew a penalty as the Germans cruised to a 3-1 win.
New Dortmund coach Peter Bosz will likely have few complaints with the 18-year-old American, who was subbed off in the 74th minute. Bosz was brought in from Ajax in June after guiding the Dutch team to the Europa League final.
Say this aloud, very slowly: Juventus sold Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan. Juventus (the biggest team in Italy and six-time defending champions) sold Leonardo Bonucci (one of the world’s best defenders and a future club captain) to AC Milan (a team rapidly shaping up to be a title rival in the coming season). Juventus. Sold Bonucci. To Milan. For €42 million. That would buy you roughly 70 percent of Kyle Walker. Say it aloud. Repeat it slowly. Juventus sold Bonucci to Milan. And still, it hardly makes any sense.