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.
During the quietest moments of the offseason, when nothing is stirring, not even Mino Raiola’s double chin, major footie outlets, without fail, turn to three sources to provide some semblance of news: #1. Diego Maradona — he’s guaranteed to have said something controversial in the last few days. #2. Sir Alex Ferguson — he’s guaranteed to have waxed lyrical on Cristiano Ronaldo or torn into Manchester United in the last few days. #3. Ronaldinho — he’s guaranteed to have done something, anything in the last few days.
Approaching his 40th birthday, Italian shot-stopper Gianluigi Buffon has been open about his plans for the future over the summer. If Juventus fail to win the Champions League this season, Buffon claims he’s “99.9 percent” certain that he’ll end his professional career after the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
If Buffon is able to win that elusive Champions League title, his competitive nature would see him return to the field in an attempt to win the FIFA Club World Cup the following season.
Leonardo Bonucci has played in two Champions League finals, won six Serie A titles and captained Italy in the World Cup. He's faced so many elite attacking players during his career that I'm sure it's hard to keep track of them all. One, though, stands above the rest for Bonucci: Cristiano Ronaldo.
I hope you never feel the type of pain Luis Suarez feels here after bumping into Giorgio Chiellini. This video is tough to watch. There is real anguish in this man's eyes. His nervous system is on fire, crying out for an ice pack and some magic spray and preferably a direct free kick. You don't know what real pain is. Luis Suarez knows. He feels it here.
For years now, dedicated fans and wanna-be designers have been mocking up jerseys that are infinitely better than what Nike, adidas and the rest continually roll out. It’s the fans that pay around $100 for these annual threads, but it often seems like jersey manufacturers go out of their way to mess things up.
“You guys always wear vertical stripes? Okay, we’ll make them horizontal.”
“The jersey is always just predominately red? Okay, we’ll throw in some black, white, yellow and blue for good measure.”
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.