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Posts tagged Juventus

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Gabriele Marcotti talks to Richard Hall about the Serie A season ahead

Journalist, author, TV Pundit, podcast host, European Football expert and all round nice guy Gabriele Marcotti, very kindly took some time out to talk to me, about the upcoming Serie A season.

The season seemed some distance away, this being July but I still wanted to know Gabriele’s initial thoughts as to how the season in Italy could pan out. Speaking about the summers events I shamefully asked Gabriele for his predictions.

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(Richard) Antonio Conte has walked away from Juventus and Massimiliano Allegri has arrived. Do you think Juventus’s domination of Serie A will suffer because of this, or will it be business as usual?

(Gabriele) I’m answering these questions in late July and as we’ve seen in the past A LOT can happen at the end of the calciomercato. So take that as a caveat. But in general I think Conte is a big loss. Juve still probably have the best squad (either with Vidal or - if Vidal goes - with whoever they bring in) but there will inevitably be a drop off with Allegri. His time at Milan was more successful than people realize, but there’s a big difference between coming in after a so-so year and following a guy like Conte with his three straight. Juve are still the team to beat, but Conte is a massive loss and I think it will be a lot tighter this year. 

(Richard) Both Milan clubs has a torrid time of it last season for their lofty standards. Who do you think is best equipped to deal with the new season?

(Gabriele) I find both Milan and Inter very tough to read at this time. I might suggest Inter are marginally better off simply because they have solid ownership and with Mazzarri you know what you get. (Which may not be great, but at least there’s a solidity there). That said, there seems to be a huge amount of confusion — do you really want Vidic to learn a back three at his age?  But Milan is a roll of the dice. It has been a bad summer. The treatment of Balotelli, the way Seedorf was ditched, the  fact that the Galliani-Barbara issue remains unresolved… it just feels like the medium-term is dire and even a good season this year won’t change the facts.   You either go with youth or you try to win now.  You can repackage Menez and Alex all you like, but they are what they are.  Are the guys you really needed or do they just eat up minutes that could otherwise go to youngster you want to develop?  Inzaghi worked with a lot of the kids and some of them do look really good (Cristante and Mastour above all) but will he get a chance to play them? And if and when Galliani finally goes - this is one situation where I think the Ultras are correct - what will it mean for Inzaghi? Too many questions and it’s sad to see Milan - long one of the best-run clubs in Serie A - in this situation.

(Richard) Palermo, Cesena and Empoli have arrived in Serie A this term. Do you think that any of these teams has a good chance of surviving in the division after this season?

(Gabriele) Palermo are clearly on a different level from the other two in terms of size of club and budgets. They have a very good shot at staying up.  Empoli and Cesena will struggle, I get the impression (and again, as I write this, there’s plenty of mercato to go) that Empoli will push kids and Cesena look for value signings. 

(Richard) Last year ended with the unfortunate scenes in the Coppa Italia final between Napoli and Fiorentina. In your opinion, was this a one off incident caused by an individual and is Serie A in a better place than in recent years?

(Gabriele) I think we hit rockbottom some years ago and we’re in the long, slow climb back. I really do. Despite the many media members, FA executives and politicians who tried to use what happened for their own ends, we do know there WAS NO negotiation with the Napoli Ultras. And the shooter was already a pariah among the mainstream Roma curva as, frankly, any Ultra would be who would consider carrying a firearm.  I look at the reaction and I’m not sure it would have been so vehement a decade ago. I see it as a positive though, obviously, the incident itself and the shooting were dreadful.  But it was precisely because it was so rare and so  unusual that it got so much attention.

(Richard) Zdenek Zeman is at the helm at Cagliari. Do you think this is an exciting new dawn for the club? Or is Zeman tactically outdated now in his approach?

(Gabriele) I wouldn’t describe Zeman as outdated because it implies his football is obsolete because others have got wise to it. That’s not the case for the simple reason that nobody else plays that way so there is nothing to get wise to. I do wonder though to what degree it’s sustainable for an entire season.  And whether the new Cagliari owner is simply looking for a cheap publicity stunt


 
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(Richard) Juventus disappointed in Europe last year by their own admission. Do you think any of the Serie A representatives stand a chance of succeeding in Europe this year?

(Gabriele) Sure. Once you’re in the round of 16, anything can happen.  Rafa Benitez remains one of the best in a two-legged knockout format. And Napoli were unlucky last year.  Roma are deeper and more talented. And I think Juve too are due.

(Richard) Who do you think has made the greatest step forward in this year’s Calciomercato so far?

(Gabriele) It’s way, way early of course. But Roma are squarely ahead right now I think. Iturbe and Astori are instant upgrades, Keita can provide veteran leadership and Cole will be good for another season or two.

(Richard) The usual rumours of Stadium development are resurfacing again (most notably Roma and Udinese).  Until this happens can you see Italian Football ever really making a comeback to sit amongst Europe’s better marketed leagues?

(Gabriele) It will help to some degree, but I don’t think it’s as essential as people make out.  A modern stadium can be more inviting and boost attendances and generate more money. And in some cities it would provide a much-needed boost.  Certainly it’s absurd that in places where they want to build one there are bureaucratic hurdle through which they need to jump.  But I don’t think it’s the be-all and end-all.  And sometimes there are other, non-football interests pushing the “stadium-at-all-costs” mentality.

(Richard) What is the overall health of Serie A at present in your opinion?

 
Gabriele) Better than a few years ago, though it was a shame that the Lotito-Galliani alliance denied us a real innovator like Abodi a year ago. We’ll just have to wait. But I think we’re close to tipping point where the number of progressive, honest, forward-thinking owners outnumbers the rest.  And then we can see true change
 
(Richard) It’s the last question and yes it’s a horrible prediction. I’m sorry. Who do you think will walk away with the Scudetto this year?
 
(Gabriele) Aaargh. I hate this.  With the caveat that it’s still July as I write this I’ll say Roma. Which is what I said last year. And Juve proved me wrong.
 
Everybody at The Gentleman Ultra Would like to thanks Gabriele for his time and insight. We consider him a friend of the site and we follow his work closely and with much interest. We hope to speak to him again soon.
 
Please take some time to take in some of Gabriele’s work, he is a dignitary of the Press room and has contributed to Times, Corriere dello Sport, ESPN, Wall Street Journal, Sunday Herald, La Stampa.
 
You can also see him on BT Sport (amongst other TV channels) and also don’t forget to listen to ‘The Game’ Podcast from the Times.
 
You can follow Gabriele on Twitter @Marcotti
 
You can also follow ourselves @Gentleman_Ultra
 
By Richard Hall
 

Filed under The Gentleman Ultra Gabriele Marcotti Richard Hall Serie A Juventus Inter Milan Napoli Fiorentina Palermo Cesena Empoli Roma

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The Gentleman Ultra series for the Guardian

Juventus: Serie A alternative club guide

In his latest Italian football guide, the Gentleman Ultra profiles Juventus’s ground, fans and classic player David Trezeguet

Alessandro Del Piero, Gianluigi Buffon and, of course, Michel Platini, embody what it means to be Juventus. The Turin giants are awash with great names throughout their illustrious history but David Trezeguet’s importance and meaning to the Bianconeri is often overlooked.

Trezeguet signed from Monaco for the 2000-01 season. He started well, scoring 15 times in his first season. Juventus were all-conquering at this time and it was no easy job establishing yourself among this plethora of talent. The Frenchman did just that and in the next season he finished Serie A’s top scorer with 24 league goals (32 in total).

READ THE REST ON THE GUARDIAN SPORTS NETWORK

http://www.theguardian.com/football/the-gentleman-ultra/2014/jul/22/juventus-serie-a-alternative-club-guide-fans-trezeguet?CMP=twt_gu

Follow me Richard Hall @Gentleman_Ultra

Filed under Juventus Juventus Arena david trezeguet guardian

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The Gentleman Ultras guide to the teams of Serie A: Juventus

The Stadium

Team: Juventus
Capacity: 41,000
Built: 2011
City: Turin

The Juventus Arena is quite simply the future of Italian football stadia. This is not only due to the fact that it is the first ultra modern stadium in Serie A but also because Juventus own the entire structure. This is a first in Italy as the grounds are normally owned by local authorities.

The name of the stadium may soon be changed as the rights for this were sold back in 2008 to Sportfive. The stadium is built on the site of the old Stadio Delle Alpi which was Juventus’s previous home and has cost £90 million. The ground was officially opened on the 8th September 2011 and boasts many amenities not available in Italy’s other aging stadiums. It has a shopping complex outside it and 3,600 premium seats with an additional 120 executive boxes.

No one can argue that the atmosphere is just as intimidating as some of the other major grounds as the fans are close to the pitch. It is also important that the Juventus’s Ultra groups have a place in the Stadium and are allowed to support the team in the manner that they are accustomed to. All eyes are on Turin as they are now the pathfinders in Italian football.

The Ultras

Key Ultra Groups:  Gruppo Storico Fighters 1977 (Fighters Historic Group 1977), Black and White Fighters Gruppo Storico 1977, Drughi (The Droogs), Viking

Other Ultra Groups:  Fossa dei  Campioni (Champions Den), Panthers, Gioventu Bianconera (Black and White Youth), Area Bianconera (Black and White Area), Indians, Nucleo Amato Bianconero (Nuclear Black and White Love) later renamed Nucleo 1985, Arancia Meccanica (Clockwork Orange) l Fighters,  Irriducibili Vallette (Unbreakable Vallette), Arditi (Daring ones), 06 clan, Noi Soli (Only Us), Gruppo Marche 1993 (Marche Group), Bruxelles Bianconera (White and Black Brussels), Gruppo Homer (Homer Group), Assiduo Sostegno (Loyal Support), Bravi Ragazzi (Top boys), Tradizione Bianconera (Black and White Tradition), Vecchia Guardia (Old Guard)

“Real Madrid dumped you, Napoli repudiated you, only your greed brought you back here.”

This was the message that greeted Fabio Cannavaro on his return to Juventus in 2009. His two league titles with the Bianconeri did not spare him. He was regarded a traitor by the clubs Ultras, a player who had abandoned his team during their hour of need.

 Back in 2006 Juventus were relegated to Serie B in the wake of the Calciopoli scandal. While players like Gianluigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero remained, Cannavaro moved to Real Madrid. It is hard to begrudge such a career move but this treachery was neither forgotten nor forgiven. In the Ultras eyes it was his avarice which brought him back. A group known as Viking started circulating a t-shirt saying “Cannavaro mercenary” on the front and “No forgiveness for traitors” on the back.

This treatment of a former club hero did not sit well with some of Juve’s supporters,  but it exposes the visceral culture of the Ultras; one that borders on the extreme, but which has at its heart, is an unswerving  passion for one club. 

Darwin Pastorin, one of Italy’s famed football writers said:

“Juventus is a team which unites everyone: from intellectuals to workers…it is a universal team, a footballing Esperanto…and then there are the fans, the real fans, from Sicily to the Aosta Valley. There are eleven million of us!”

Juventus are the most successful club in Italian history with 29 league titles (31 if you’re a Juventino). They are the Manchester United of Italy.  You either love them or hate them and perhaps this is where the nickname La Fidanzata d’Italia (Italy’s girlfriend) originates. The club is the third oldest in Italy. It was founded in 1897 by a group of students from Turin and since 1923 they have been managed by the Agnelli family (founders and owners of FIAT).

Juventus also have nationwide support. This is in part due to the influx of workers from the South who migrated to Turin to work at Mirafiori ­– the huge FIAT factory constructed on the edge of the city in 1939. FIAT provided thousands of jobs and Umberto Agnelli (former CEO at FIAT and chairman at Juventus) once claimed that ‘one of the reasons which led migrants to choose Turin during the great migrations of the 1950’s and 60’s was the possibility of going to see Juventus play’. This combined with the clubs huge success has seen their fan base become the largest in Italy with a surfeit of Ultra groups.

The story of the Juventus Ultras is like no other written in this series. It reads like a script of the Borgias with its bewildering catalogue of schisms, reformations and civil war.

The origins of the Bianconeri’s organised support can be traced back to two groups, Venceremos and Autonomia Bianconera. Formed in the mid-1970s both were positioned to the extreme left of the political spectrum, a stance which has changed considerably.

In 1977, one of Juve’s most renowned Ultra groups, Gruppo Storico Fighters (Historic Fighters Group), was founded by Beppe Rossi, a man who remains a heroic figure among the Ultras today. Residing in the Curva Sud Scirea (or Curva Filadelfia as it was known in the old Stadio Olimpico) the vestiges of the group survive today. For ten years they enjoyed prominence among the landscape of the Italian Ultras yet the era would be marred by the darkest day in the history of Juventus.

In 1985 on the 29th of May, 39 Juventus fans died at Heysel stadium during their European Cup final against Liverpool. Trouble had already flared when Liverpool fans breached a fence separating them from the Italians. In the maelstrom that followed, Juventus fans were crushed against a concrete wall which collapsed killing and injuring many people. The culpability lay with the Liverpool fans and Belgian authorities but in truth the stadium was too decrepit for a game of such magnitude.

However for Juventini the blame was apportioned solely to Liverpool. An attempt was made to remove any ‘Englishness’ from the Curva and a virulent hatred was born. When the sides were drawn together in the Champions League in 2005; many Juve Ultras made their feelings clear by turning their backs on the choreography prepared by Liverpool at Anfield reading ‘Amicizia’ (friendship). In the return leg, banners were displayed reading ‘Easy to speak, difficult to pardon murders’ and ‘15-4-89. Sheffield. God exists’, the latter a reference to the Hillsborough disaster.

The 1980’s also saw the inception of other influential Ultra groups including Viking (whose members hailed from Milan) and Nucleo Amato Bianconero. The latter changed their name to Nucleo 1985 in memory of the Heysel victims. In 1987, following the dissolution of Fighters due to brutal skirmishes with bitter rivals Fiorentina, Arancia Meccanica (Clockwork Orange) was formed. Inspired by the Stanley Kubrick film, the group was an amalgam of various splinters in the Curva Sud, and under the authorities behest their name was later changed to I Drughi (the Droogs).  During their infancy their membership allegedly grew in excess of 10,000. However with the formation of Irriducibili Vallette (Vallette Unbreakables) who migrated to the Curva Nord and the re-emergence of the Fighters, the Ultras battled and squabbled among themselves.

Following the Bianconeri’sChampions League triumph against Ajax in 1996 the jubilant fans rallied under the same banner, calling themselves the Black and White Fighters Gruppo Storico 1977. However this unification faded with the outbreak of internecine fighting.

In 2005, yet again, the Fighters disbanded leaving the control of the Curva Sud up for grabs. This was compounded after the Turin giants were found guilty for their involvement in the Calciopoli scandal. A power struggle ensued and before a pre-season friendly against Alessandria in 2006 this reached an ugly peak. Allegedly, multifarious groups including Tradizione Bianconera (Black and White Tradition), Arditi (Daring ones - both comprised of former Fighters), Drughi, Irriducibili and Viking clashed in what can only be described as civil war. Two fans were stabbed and 50 were arrested. Allegedly this is not the only occasion Juventus Ultras have attacked each other.

Today it would appear relative peace has been restored. The Fighters have returned to the Curva Sud Scirea and they are accompanied by Viking, the Drughi and a bourgeoning number of others.  While it is hard to get one’s head round this clannish mentality, the internal divisions reflect elements of wider Italian society.

Nonetheless the superfluity of Juventus Ultras can create one of the more colourful and eclectic atmospheres on the peninsula. Each group boasts their own banners creating a vibrant and multi-faceted choreography. This makes the chic Juventus stadium a cauldron on match days and there is rarely an empty seat.

Set to the backdrop of the Alps, straddling the River Po, Turin is often referred to as the Industrial centre of Italy. The city’s armoury includes FIAT, ancient Egyptian artefacts, a myriad of contemporary art and the best chocolate in Italy. However to the Juventini, Turin is most importantly home to a juggernaut of Italian football and the Ultras thrive in the knowledge that their beloved Vecchia Signora is the envied queen of Italy. 

Classic Player: David Trezeguet

Alessandro Del Piero, Gianluigi Buffon and of course Michel Platini, embody what in recent times it means to be Juventus. The Turin giants are awash with great names throughout their illustrious history but David Trezeguet’s importance and meaning to the Bianconeri, is often overlooked.

Trezeguet signed from Monaco ready for the 2000/01 season. He started well, scoring 15 times in his first season in Italy. Juventus were all conquering at this time and it was no easy job establishing yourself amongst this plethora of talent. The Frenchman did just this and in the next season he finished Serie A’s top scorer with 24 goals (32 in total).

With this came back to back league titles, Serie A player of the year and Serie A foreign player of the year. Add to this, two Super Coppa Italiana’s and a Champions League Final and it was clear to see that Juventus and the pacey forward were a match made in heaven.

It looked like the glory years were here to stay as Juventus went on to collect the 2004/05 and 2005/06 titles. It was then that the French Internationals footballing world collapsed, as the Turin giants were embroiled in Calciopoli and had the previous two titles stripped. This was a turning point in Trezeguet’s future and an endorsement of his character.

Many star names jumped ship as Juventus’s punishment saw them relegated to Serie B. Lilian Thuram, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Fabio Cannavaro, Patrick Vieira and Adrian Mutu were but a few that fled for their lives as the Bianconeri faced decimation. Trezeguet stayed and vowed along with the likes of Gigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero to return the club to the heights they believed they deserved.

It was during this time up until his release in 2010, that the goal poacher put in some of his most underrated work for the club.  When he left, he did so having returned his club not only to Serie A but to the Champions League.  He had surpassed Omar Sivori’s 167 goals making him Juventus’s all-time top foreign goal scorer and with 171 goals in total he was the fourth best goal scorer of all time in the Black and White of the iconic club.

Trezeguet had everything in his game, at 6ft 3 he was tall and powerful. He had extremely good acceleration and could maintain the pace. He had two good feet and was good in the air. Set pieces were part of his package and he had a natural instinct for goal. As if this was not enough he had the ability to be clinical. Most of his goals were reactionary to balls into the box. It is true he scored the odd scissor kick or spectacular volley but this was out of necessity rather than showman ship. He was simply focused on scoring, a dying breed in today’s game.

David Trezeguet was also a master of reading the oppositions back line. Many of his goals saw the entire defence looking horrified, as they realised the assistant referee had kept his flag down. He was a master at this and used it time and time again, often having time to round the keeper before slotting home.

Had he not been embroiled in the Italian match fixing scandal who knows how much he would have won? After all he did it at national level. His choice to stay at the club until he was released and his tireless effort and belief in his cause enabled fans of the Bianconeri to enjoy his goal scoring talents for a decade.

Underrated perhaps outside Juventus fans it is worth noting lesser players have been given higher accolades. When Calcio ruled the World David Trezeguet was just getting started.

Filed under Vikings Juventus Juventus Arena Ultras Turin Del Piero Platini Bianconeri Buffon

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When Calcio Ruled The World: Jürgen Kohler

It was the start of the 1990’s and Silvio Berlusconi’s AC Milan were dominating Serie A. Just how do you stop Marco Van Basten, Ruud Guillt, Frank Rijkaard and as well as the rest of that Milan side?

In the land where traditionally the best defenders on the planet come from, Juventus looked further a field. They signed a giant German to try and stop Arrigo Sacchi’s red and black machine That man was Jürgen Kohler.

Kohler was already a proven top class defender having already a World Cup winners medal and a Bundesliga title. This was acquired before he joined The Old Lady from Bayern Munich in 1991.

He was everything you could ask for in a defender, conistant from, hard tackling, dominant in the air and an ability to read the game. Kohler also had an impressive goal scoring record for a defender with 36 career goals to his name.

The big German settled in well in Turin and formed a formidable defensive unit along side, Ciro Ferrara, Andrea Fortunato and Massimo Carrera with the great Angelo Peruzzi behind them.

With this solid back line success soon followed and Kohler was a key player. The Bianconeri lifted the 1993 UEFA Cup beating Kohler’s fellow German’s Borussia Dortmund 3-1, this was followed by a domestic double in 1995 as Juventus won the Italian Cup. They finally stopped the Milan domination and lifted the Serie A title this year winning it by an impressive ten points with Kohler at the heart of the defence he was solid.

With mission some what accomplished in stopping Milan, Kohler, after just over 100 Juventus appearances would leave after the Serie A title win. He would head back to Germany to join the team Juventus beat in the 93 UEFA Cup Final, Borussia Dortmund.

His affection for The Old Lady never faded as after he and Dortmund won the 1997 Champions League 3-1 against Juventus. Kohler was seen wearing a Juventus scarf during the lap of honour given to him from the crowd a great gesture by a true Bianconeri club legend.

When Calcio ruled the world, Jürgen Kohler made it look easy stopping the worlds greatest forwards.

By Giovanni Dougall

@giovannid86

Filed under Kholer Juventus Turin UEFA CUP Scudetto Serie A

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Is the Europa League dream over for Donadoni’s Parma?

Roberto Donadoni was still upbeat after last night’s 4-2 defeat to Roma. With statements like, Parma could have been more aggressive and that, with a full squad the game could have been different, it gave off the impression that this was merely a blip. Parma had been charging towards a Europa League spot but does Donadoni’s nonchalance hide a potential implosion.

Parma have been magnificent this season and have had fans and journalists comparing them to the great Parma sides of the 1990’s. Up until two weeks ago they sat proudly in sixth place in the table, eleven points ahead of Milan and unbeaten in the league since last November. Even that was to high flying Juventus.  They have been playing superb football and with players such as the marmite Amuari, Marco Parolo, the long forgotten Ezequiel Schelotto and ‘the big fish in the small pond’ Cassano,  it has come as a surprise. None the less this rag tag group has been making everyone stand up and take note on Donadoni and his dirty dozen.

When the Gialloblu welcomed Juventus to the Stadio Ennio Tradini many thought Juventus were in for a tough game but not many thought the Turin giants would fail to win. The ‘Old Lady’ did not let anyone down winning 1-2 but there was no panic in the ranks. Parma had acquired enough points to handle a blow from the runaway league leaders and would just have to recover against Lazio.

This is where the problems started as Donadoni’s consistent side outfit started to fall apart. In a bizarre 90 minutes Lazio won 3-2 in a match they tried very hard to let Parma back into. Donadoni bemoaned that Parma could have won easily if luck had gone their way and that their fate was still in their own hands if they beat Roma in the next match.

Parma stayed in Rome to play the last 79 minutes of the game called off earlier in the season. The cracks were perhaps starting to show and their normal measured approach that had deserted them against Lazio did so again. It was a deluge of goals (not rain) that engulfed the Stadio Olimpico this time and as the Gialloblu went down 4-2. Donadoni tried to stay bullish but could the problem be bigger then he makes out.

The next match for Parma is at home to inform Napoli, this is followed by a local derby against Bologna before they host Europa League challengers Inter. This will require some steel to get through this period and the points will be needed. They finish the season with an away trip to Cagliari before taking on in form Torino and Sampdoria. Should the fight go to the last day and they will face relegation stricken Livorno.

It is testament to Parma that after these three defeats they still hold sixth position. Donadoni has produced some superb football and if they can stop the rot then they still have a real chance. A win against Napoli is a tall order but it is possible, they beat them 0-1 away in November.

However it turns out for the Gialloblu they have brought pleasure to many who have watched them play this season. The fact that they are even being seriously compared to the great Parma side of the 1990’s is an achievement in itself.

By Richard Hall @Gentleman_Ultra

First published on Bleacher report by Richard Hall

Filed under parma Roma Donadoni Juventus Napoli Lazio Stadio Ennio Tardini

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Classic Serie A Match: Juventus v Napoli 09/11/1986

Juventus are ’The Old Lady’ of Italian football and in 1986 they dominated Italian football. Since Serie A began in 1929 along with the two Milan giants nobody else has had competed on their level.

Just like outside the world of Calcio Italy was divided in two, a North/South divide, all the riches and success to the north and the poverty and failure to the south.

That was until November 1986 when 20,000 Neapolitans travelled North to Turin, lead by a little Argentine genius going by the name of Diego Maradona. This wasn’t just a game if football, this was war.

The 20,000 plus southerners rolled into Turin in high spirits having already beaten both Milan teams at the San Paolo but this was different, this was Turin. A victory here would be so special, after having to deal with years of teasing from their rich northern counterparts and having failed to win in Turin since 1957 this was arguably their best chance.

It was Platini v Maradona (that’s like Messi v Ronaldo today) the stadium was buzzing with expectation from arguably the two best players in the world.

It was Maradona and Napoli who started the brighter, you could tell they were fired up for this battle as the little genius was starting to cause problems with a couple half chances.

However Juventus came closest to opening the scoring Claudio Garella flapped at an I swinging corner from the left ‘punching’ straight of to the Juve attacks head but as the ball ricochet against the bar and post and Napoli managed to scrambled the ball clear.

It was Maradona’s turn next as he won a free kick some 25 yards out. As the crowd held their breath Maradona struck the ball with that wand of a left foot. It hit the wall but then Maradona hit a fierce mid air scissor kick that Stefano Tacconi was equal to. The first half was a even affair and 0-0 is how the first 45 minutes of this stalemate would finish.

Juventus flew out the traps in the second half and took the lead with in five minutes of the restart as Garella made a meal of a Juventus cross and the ball fell to Michael Laudrup to smash home from close range, 1-0 to the home team.

Napoli got themselves together again after a shocking start. They nearly equalised as Renica danced through the heart of the Juventus defence but the Bianconeri managed to keep the ball out.

Napoli were on top now and Maradona forced a good save out of Tacconi, he through himself to his right to push away a powerful drive from Maradona. Tacconi was having a great start to the half making another two outstanding saves to frustrate the Neapolitans.

Napoli did get back on terms this time and it was Juventus’ turn not to defend a corner. As Romano whipped in a corner from the left the ball fell to Moreno Ferrario to prod home of the post. Napoli took the lead just a minute later as Juventus made a mess of defending a Maradona corner from the other side. This time it was whipped and Napoli won the first ball at the front post, flicked on Bruno Giordano was there to scramble the ball home and the Napoli fans behind that goal erupted in joy.

Napoli were comfortable now and as Juventus pressed for an equaliser. The Neapolitans caught them on the break with a two on one situation as Joseph Volpencina received the ball, he took it on first time and bent it round Tacconi in the Juventus goalkeeper with a beautiful left foot finish. With seconds to play the game was over at 1-3.

The thousands of Napoli fans celebrated a huge victory not only for Napoli but for the south too and being led by Maradona they believed there first scudetto wasn’t just a dream now it was reality.

Napoli of course did go on to claim their first ever Scudetto sand Maradona became a god in Naples leading them to the most successful period on the clubs history.

This weekend it’s Napoli who welcome the somewhat unstoppable Juventus to the red hot cauldron of the Stadio San Paolo in a match that promises to be a classic.

http://youtu.be/EVxArsYQp_k

By Giovanni Dougall

@giovannid86

Filed under Napoli Juventus Turin Platini Maradona

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When Calcio Ruled The World: Antonio Conte

It was 1985, the year of Live Aid, Back to the Future, The Super Mario Brothers, Madonna and some terrible fashion.

Over in Italy however the latest calcio star was about to be come onto the scene as a 17 year old boy’s dreams were about to come true.

Born and bread in little old Lecce, he was about to make his Serie A debut for his home town club. That little boy was Antonio Conte.

Conte was a small (5ft 8in) hard, dogged, versatile centre midfielder. He spent his early years as a youngster learning his trade in the Lecce youth system before being given his chance in the first team.

He would spend the first five years of his professional career with his home town club, despite making his debut at such a young age in 1985/1986, he would not cement his place as a first team regular until season 1988/89.

This was the season his team returned to Serie A after two seasons away, it was also the season Conte would score his first (and only goal for the Giallorossi) in a 3-2 defeat to Napoli. As a first team regular now and showing what he had to offer on arguably the worlds greatest stage in Serie A Conte was beginning to catch the eye.

After five years, 89 appearances and that one goal Contes time at Lecce was up, as Turin giants Juventus splashed out seven billion lire on the talented midfielder in November 1991.

He couldn’t have picked a bigger game to make his debut for his new club, as Juventus entertained city rivals Torino.

Conte would spend the next 13 seasons at Juventus and would later describe the famous black and white strip as “a second skin”.

Conte didn’t have to wait long for success at his new club as Juve lifted the 1992/93 UEFA Cup defeating Borussia Dortmund 6-1 over two legs. This was followed by five Scudetto titles (1995,1997,1998,2002,2003) and more European success as Conte’s Juventus lifted the 1996 UEFA Champions a League title by defeating Ajax. He also added a Coppa Italia, 4 Super Coppas, A UEFA Super Cup, Intertoto & an Intercontinental Cup to his list of honours.

He should have added another Champions League title to that list losing out to AC Milan on penalties in the 2003 final, with Conte rattling the Milan crossbar in normal time. In 1996 Conte was given the captains armband this was undoubtedly one of his proudest moments as he lifted trophy after trophy for the Old Lady. This an honour which would be passed to Alessandro Del Piero in 2001.

Conte would retire from playing in 2004 after 13 very successful years in Turin and would go down as one of Juventus’ most influential players, a true club legend racking up over 400 appearances and scoring a total of 44 goals.

He made 20 appearances for Italy between 1993-2001 coming so close to lifting the World Cup in 1994 only to miss out on penalties to Brazil.
He would suffer more heartache at Euro 2000 as part of the squad that missed out to France and David Trezeguet’s golden goal.

These days you can find Conte back at his beloved Juventus as first team coach barking out orders and kicking every ball as if he were still dictating play in the middle of the park.

When Calcio Ruled The World: Antonio Conte was the midfield myestro at the heart of Juve’s success.

By Giovanni Dougall

@giovannid86

Filed under juventus Conte Serie A Calcio Lecce Azzurri bianconeri

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JUVENTUS ULTRAS LAUNCH A SCATHING ATTACK ON THE WIDOW OF GAETANO SCIREA

Juventus’s Ultra group, the Drughi, have launched a scathing attack on the widow of former player Gaetano Scirea after she condemned the anti-Neapolitan chants that have been heard in the Curva Sud Scirea of the Juventus stadium.

Gaetano Scirea is considered as one of the greatest Juventus players of all time however at the age of 36 he tragically died in a car crash in September 1989 while he was on a scouting mission for Juventus in Poland. In tribute to the Bianconeri legend the Curva Sud of the old Stadio Delle Alpi and now the Juventus Stadium was named in his honour.

The Curva Scirea has housed many of the Vecchia Signora’s Ultras over the years and Mariella Scirea has always asked that these groups respect the name of her former husband while occupying the Curva.

Following the discriminatory chants which were heard in that section of the stadium, Scirea’s widow suggested that the club should remove his name if the supporters continue to behave in this manner.

However this has triggered an unprecedented reaction from one of the Drughi Ultras who released an open letter chastising Mariella Scirea, accusing her of “working against the colours worn by the much-missed Gaetano.”

The letter then attacks her role in politics by claiming she “only got into politics because she was the widow of a legend, certainly not because of her talents or credentials.”

The Ultras suggest her request to remove the name Scirea from the Curva is “enthusiastically” supported by all the enemies of Juventus.

“Consider the incriminated chants have been sung by everyone for more than 20 years and are also sung loudly by the Curva Nord, only that section is reserved for the Club Doc.”
As well as urging her to step down from her role as President of the co-ordination committee for the fans the Ultras call on her to stop using the surname of the Juve cult hero.

“What we all agree on is that it’s wrong to use the name of a Champion beloved by all. Therefore we accept the invitation of the lady and from now on the name Scirea will no longer identify our section of the Stadium.

“However, she should do the same and go back to using her maiden name, Cavanna. Having known Gaetano’s reserved nature, we are certain he wouldn’t have appreciated such a pushy wife who, shielding herself behind a name she inherited, made her way in the worlds of politics and sport proving she knows nothing about either.”

The Drughi are renowned for their uncompromising nature and in the past they have been implicated in acts of violence, even against other Juventini. Back in 2006 they were allegedly involved in a clash between various Ultra groups which culminated in two fans being stabbed and 50 being arrested.

The Drughi’s reaction has been decried by many in the Calcio world including other Juventus supporters and the FIGC president Giancarlo Abete gave his views on the letter:
“I think it would be only natural Mrs Scirea would want to hold dear the name and image of her late husband, who honoured Italian football with the jerseys of Juve and Italy.
“He deserves the utmost respect and the people who have the opportunity to sit in an area of the stadium that is in his honour have the duty to remember that.”

By Luca Hodges-Ramon - @LH_Ramon25

Filed under juventus ultras drughi italy serie a

20 notes

A guide to the Ultra groups in Serie A: Juventus

City: Turin

Key Ultra Groups:  Gruppo Storico Fighters 1977 (Fighters Historic Group 1977), Black and White Fighters Gruppo Storico 1977, Drughi (The Droogs), Viking

Other Ultra Groups:  Fossa dei  Campioni (Champions Den), Panthers, Gioventu Bianconera (Black and White Youth), Area Bianconera (Black and White Area), Indians, Nucleo Amato Bianconero (Nuclear Black and White Love) later renamed Nucleo 1985, Arancia Meccanica (Clockwork Orange) l Fighters,  Irriducibili Vallette (Unbreakable Vallette), Arditi (Daring ones), 06 clan, Noi Soli (Only Us), Gruppo Marche 1993 (Marche Group), Bruxelles Bianconera (White and Black Brussels), Gruppo Homer (Homer Group), Assiduo Sostegno (Loyal Support), Bravi Ragazzi (Top boys), Tradizione Bianconera (Black and White Tradition), Vecchia Guardia (Old Guard)

“Real Madrid dumped you, Napoli repudiated you, only your greed brought you back here.”

This was the message that greeted Fabio Cannavaro on his return to Juventus in 2009. His two league titles with the Bianconeri did not spare him. He was regarded a traitor by the clubs Ultras, a player who had abandoned his team during their hour of need.

 Back in 2006 Juventus were relegated to Serie B in the wake of the Calciopoli scandal. While players like Gianluigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero remained, Cannavaro moved to Real Madrid. It is hard to begrudge such a career move but this treachery was neither forgotten nor forgiven. In the Ultras eyes it was his avarice which brought him back. A group known as Viking started circulating a t-shirt saying “Cannavaro mercenary” on the front and “No forgiveness for traitors” on the back.

This treatment of a former club hero did not sit well with some of Juve’s supporters,  but it exposes the visceral culture of the Ultras; one that borders on the extreme, but which has at its heart, is an unswerving  passion for one club. 

Darwin Pastorin, one of Italy’s famed football writers said:

Juventus is a team which unites everyone: from intellectuals to workers…it is a universal team, a footballing Esperanto…and then there are the fans, the real fans, from Sicily to the Aosta Valley. There are eleven million of us!”

Juventus are the most successful club in Italian history with 29 league titles (31 if you’re a Juventino). They are the Manchester United of Italy.  You either love them or hate them and perhaps this is where the nickname La Fidanzata d’Italia (Italy’s girlfriend) originates. The club is the third oldest in Italy. It was founded in 1897 by a group of students from Turin and since 1923 they have been managed by the Agnelli family (founders and owners of FIAT).

Juventus also have nationwide support. This is in part due to the influx of workers from the South who migrated to Turin to work at Mirafiori ­– the huge FIAT factory constructed on the edge of the city in 1939. FIAT provided thousands of jobs and Umberto Agnelli (former CEO at FIAT and chairman at Juventus) once claimed that ‘one of the reasons which led migrants to choose Turin during the great migrations of the 1950’s and 60’s was the possibility of going to see Juventus play’. This combined with the clubs huge success has seen their fan base become the largest in Italy with a surfeit of Ultra groups.

The story of the Juventus Ultras is like no other written in this series. It reads like a script of the Borgias with its bewildering catalogue of schisms, reformations and civil war.

The origins of the Bianconeri’s organised support can be traced back to two groups, Venceremos and Autonomia Bianconera. Formed in the mid-1970s both were positioned to the extreme left of the political spectrum, a stance which has changed considerably.

In 1977, one of Juve’s most renowned Ultra groups, Gruppo Storico Fighters (Historic Fighters Group), was founded by Beppe Rossi, a man who remains a heroic figure among the Ultras today. Residing in the Curva Sud Scirea (or Curva Filadelfia as it was known in the old Stadio Olimpico) the vestiges of the group survive today. For ten years they enjoyed prominence among the landscape of the Italian Ultras yet the era would be marred by the darkest day in the history of Juventus.

In 1985 on the 29th of May, 39 Juventus fans died at Heysel stadium during their European Cup final against Liverpool. Trouble had already flared when Liverpool fans breached a fence separating them from the Italians. In the maelstrom that followed, Juventus fans were crushed against a concrete wall which collapsed killing and injuring many people. The culpability lay with the Liverpool fans and Belgian authorities but in truth the stadium was too decrepit for a game of such magnitude.

However for Juventini the blame was apportioned solely to Liverpool. An attempt was made to remove any ‘Englishness’ from the Curva and a virulent hatred was born. When the sides were drawn together in the Champions League in 2005; many Juve Ultras made their feelings clear by turning their backs on the choreography prepared by Liverpool at Anfield reading ‘Amicizia’ (friendship). In the return leg, banners were displayed reading ‘Easy to speak, difficult to pardon murders’ and ‘15-4-89. Sheffield. God exists’, the latter a reference to the Hillsborough disaster.

The 1980’s also saw the inception of other influential Ultra groups including Viking (whose members hailed from Milan) and Nucleo Amato Bianconero. The latter changed their name to Nucleo 1985 in memory of the Heysel victims. In 1987, following the dissolution of Fighters due to brutal skirmishes with bitter rivals Fiorentina, Arancia Meccanica (Clockwork Orange) was formed. Inspired by the Stanley Kubrick film, the group was an amalgam of various splinters in the Curva Sud, and under the authorities behest their name was later changed to I Drughi (the Droogs).  During their infancy their membership allegedly grew in excess of 10,000. However with the formation of Irriducibili Vallette (Vallette Unbreakables) who migrated to the Curva Nord and the re-emergence of the Fighters, the Ultras battled and squabbled among themselves.

Following the Bianconeri’sChampions League triumph against Ajax in 1996 the jubilant fans rallied under the same banner, calling themselves the Black and White Fighters Gruppo Storico 1977. However this unification faded with the outbreak of internecine fighting.

In 2005, yet again, the Fighters disbanded leaving the control of the Curva Sud up for grabs. This was compounded after the Turin giants were found guilty for their involvement in the Calciopoli scandal. A power struggle ensued and before a pre-season friendly against Alessandria in 2006 this reached an ugly peak. Allegedly, multifarious groups including Tradizione Bianconera (Black and White Tradition), Arditi (Daring ones - both comprised of former Fighters), Drughi, Irriducibili and Viking clashed in what can only be described as civil war. Two fans were stabbed and 50 were arrested. Allegedly this is not the only occasion Juventus Ultras have attacked each other.

Today it would appear relative peace has been restored. The Fighters have returned to the Curva Sud Scirea and they are accompanied by Viking, the Drughi and a bourgeoning number of others.  While it is hard to get one’s head round this clannish mentality, the internal divisions reflect elements of wider Italian society.

Nonetheless the superfluity of Juventus Ultras can create one of the more colourful and eclectic atmospheres on the peninsula. Each group boasts their own banners creating a vibrant and multi-faceted choreography. This makes the chic Juventus stadium a cauldron on match days and there is rarely an empty seat.

Set to the backdrop of the Alps, straddling the River Po, Turin is often referred to as the Industrial centre of Italy. The city’s armoury includes FIAT, ancient Egyptian artefacts, a myriad of contemporary art and the best chocolate in Italy. However to the Juventini, Turin is most importantly home to a juggernaut of Italian football and the Ultras thrive in the knowledge that their beloved Vecchia Signora is the envied queen of Italy. 

By Luca Hodges-Ramon - @LH_Ramon25

Filed under Juventus Juve Arena Fighters Ultras FIAT Fiorentina

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HAS INTER’S NEW ERA COME FOUR YEARS TOO LATE?

"Could you win? Otherwise they will make fun of me at school. Thanks, Filippo."

This simplistic banner that hung in front of the Tribuna Arancio in 2012 was at first glance sad but then retrospectively shocking. This was not the request of a beleaguered Lecce fan wondering why his team were in Lega Pro, or from a poor boy from Bari wondering why he was the only one who turned up to watch his team lose. This was a fan of Inter, and only two years after their historic treble.

Since then the club has seen major changes. None more notably than in the coaching staff. Rafael Benitez (Champions League winner), Leonardo (promising young coach), Gian Piero Gasperini (Maverick tactician and wild card), Claudio Ranieri (safe hands) and Andrea Stramaccioni (NextGen winner) have all come and gone after all failing to achieve the specific role they were employed for.

What is the role that five very different coaches (six if you include Walter Mazzarri) have failed to achieve? Why have Inter conceded the spot as Italy’s premier team and their European placing?

All fans of the Nerazzurri can look at the aforementioned list of coaches and pick holes in their tactics, man management, European pedigree, even Serie A pedigree and wax lyrical about why they may think a new more fashionable coach should take the reins. Diego Simone is the en vogue name being whispered in the stairwells of the San Siro, but would this make much difference?

The problem was not just that Inter did not regenerate into a title winning side after the treble win in 2010, it was because they did not regenerate at all. Massimo Moratti made the crucial mistake in not recognising that Inter’s treble was the end of a side and not the beginning. The Nerazzurri paid a heavy price for Moratti’s and Marco Branca's folly.

Esteban Cambiasso, Christian Chivu, Ivan Cordoba, Lucio, Diego Forlan, Maicon, Julio Cesar, Diego Milito, Paolo Orlandoni, Dejan Stankovic and Walter Samuel could all perhaps have been moved on as far back as 2011.

Moratti has eventually ceded his seat of power and allowed Erick Thohir to take over control of the club. The buyout was met with a largely negative reaction at first as the iconic Moratti name was linked so heavily with the club despite the frustration that sometimes came with it.

Often this frustration and anger was pointed at Marco Branca who, although as it looked from the outside he was incompetent, it is perhaps harsh he shouldered as much of the blame as he did. There was, after all (as in all major businesses), a business plan and he was not running rogue.

The Indonesian Thohir has gone some way to move the club away from the continued decline and has whispered hope in some areas. First of all, the pantomime villain Branca has been thrown from the towers of the San Siro to much rejoicing and waving of pitch forks.

The signing of Hernanes was also a popular move whilst the signs that Nemanja Vidic is on his way in the summer also has brought smiles to the faces of some Nerazzurri. The fact that Thohir stepped in during the chaotic Juventus swap deal has also given him some credibility in some camps.

Inter have won their last two games and it seems that with an injection of money, some fresh perspective and some new staff in the upper echelons of the club, there may be a road to recovery on the cards.

The frustration however, for all fans of Inter is that all of this could have been started after 2010 by Moratti. He had money, he had a much better standing to which he could attract new players in and he had a climate that involved a weaker Juventus.

The signs are positive for the black and blue half of Milan and of course little Filippo. The unfortunate thing is however, is that Filippo’s class mates’ have been having a field day for the past two years.

Filed under Inter Milan Juventus Moratti Thohir Branca

3 notes

English Players in Italy - David Platt

Bari 1991-1992, Juventus 1992-1993 and Sampdoria 1993-1995.

 “If I hadn’t scored that goal, I might still have ended up playing in Italy but, realistically, I’m sure it was the catalyst.” David Platt on the importance of his extra time goal against Belgium in the last 16 of Italia ‘90’.

We all remember the joyous days of Channel 4’s Football Italia. James Richardson bringing us the ins and outs of Calcio from a Piazza in one of Italy’s en vogue cities, a Gazzetta dello Sport in hand and a cappuccino at the ready. If it wasn’t for the move of David Platt, and of course cult hero Paul Gascoigne to Serie A, both of  which saw the English interest in Italian football sky rocket, Channel 4 may never have jumped on the Calcio bandwagon.

Having burst onto the scene at Italia ‘90’, scoring three goals including a memorable volley against Belgium, Platt earned himself a big money move (at the time a British transfer record of £5.5 million) from Aston Villa to Bari. At his first major Italian press conference and keen to make a lasting impression, Platt declared he wanted to become the “Maradona of Bari.” Was this hyperbole?  Almost certainly, but his magisterial claim wasn’t altogether empty. Of course he never achieved the dizzying heights reached by the Argentinian demi-god in Naples. However in his first and only season with the Galletti, Platt scored 11 goals in 29 games. It was an impressive tally for a midfielder playing in a league which prided itself on its defensive fortitude. The Englishman combined the mores of the English game - courage, determination and leadership - with a knack for bursting from midfield to find pockets of space, enabling him to finish ninth in the Serie A scoring charts of 1991-1992. This endeared Platt to the Bari faithful, and the Englishman, (while suspended), was even invited to join the Ultras in the Curva to watch a game against Hellas Verona. Platt obliged, spending fifteen minutes with the fans before taking his seat next to the Bari president, thus ensuring he remains an icon within the city.

However Platt’s first season would end in bitter disappointment after the Biancorossi slid into Serie B spelling an end to the Englishman’s love affair with the Puglia club. Despite the attempts of Roberto Mancini to tempt Platt to Sampdoria, the English international found the lure of Juventus impossible to resist and in 1992 he signed for the Turin giants for £6.5 million. Yet after a disappointing year which saw Platt struggle to cement a first team place at the Vecchia Signora, Giovanni Trapattoni deploying him in a defensive midfield position which consequently stymied his goal scoring, Mancini eventually got his wish and Platt joined Sampdoria in 1993.

Platt arguably had his best years at the Blucerchiati, becoming an integral part of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Coppa Italia winning side in 1994 and again proving himself a fan favourite. In 55 games at the club he amassed 17 goals, perhaps the most memorable of which came in the Derby della Lanterna against Genoa. The blonde haired midfielder did what he did best, finding himself in the right place at the right time to drive home a rebound from an Atillio Lombardo effort (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjkkjZKj1ks), salvaging a draw for Samp. In fact watching a montage of his goals for Il Doria you come to realise Platt had a myriad of finishes in his armoury and by the end of his Italian career in 1995 he possessed the all-round skills to mix it with the very best – (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opqdGmVZFMY).

On arriving in Italy Platt said “I want to be an Italian, to speak Italian, live like an Italian and eat like an Italian.” Although he still possessed the midlands accent, he immersed himself in the culture. Celebrating like every goal was his last, gesticulating at officials, embracing the zealous fanaticism, wearing Armani and most importantly, when Calcio ruled the world Platt was playing like the very best Italian midfielders, defensively adept and composed in front of goal.

By Luca Hodges-Ramon

Follow him on Twitter @LH_Ramon 25, also follow the Gentleman Ultra @Gentleman_Ultra

Filed under Juventus Bari Sampdoria Football Italia James Richardson david platt

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When Calcio Ruled The World: Angelo Peruzzi

To look at you’d never believe Angelo Peruzzi is one of the greatest goalkeepers Serie A has ever seen.

At 5 feet 11 inches Peruzzi was a short stocky goalkeeper keeper but this did not stop him being one of the best.

In a career lasting 21 years Peruzzi won everything playing with some of the best teams in Italy and at the time in Europe.

It started in 1986 at Roma, he would be there for 5 years with a loan deal to Verona in 1989-90.

He failed a doping test in 1990 as he was taking an appetite suppressant that contained a banned substance.

Peruzzi then moved to Juventus in 1991 to try and revive his career and he certainly managed to achieve this

.
He racked up over 200 appearances for the bianconeri in an 8 year spell, winning 3 scudetto and a UEFA Cup and Peruzzi whilst also becoming a European Champion in 1996.

Peruzzi left Juventus in 1999 and had a season at Inter. In 2000 Lazio splashed out €17.9 million to get Peruzzi as their number one where he would spend 7 seasons and would pick up Italy’s Goalkeeper of the Year award for the third time in 2008.

Peruzzi made 31 appearances for Italy, this would have been more if it wasn’t for the likes of Gianluca Pagliuca, Francesco Toldo & the great Gianluigi Buffon being about at the same time.

His international highlight was being a World Cup winner in 2006 as Buffon’s understudy.

When Calcio Ruled the world, Angelo Peruzzi was frustrating some of Europe’s greatest strikers week in week out.

By John Dougall

Filed under Peruzzi Buffon Toldo Lazio Inter Roma Juventus

4 notes

CLASSIC CALCIO KITS

Team: Juventus away 1996-97

Make: Kappa

Sponsor: SONY

Worn by: Zidane, Del Piero, Di Livio, Deschamps an Inzaghi amongst others

Fact: Under Marcello Lippi, Juventus won the Serie A title, the European Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup this season.

Filed under Juventus 1996/97 Serie A SONY Kappa

3 notes

Coppa Italia. Roma-Juventus 1-0: Clashes outside the Stadio Olimpico, fans stabbed

Their were clashes between supporters outside the Stadio Olimpico last night after the game between Roma and Juventus. Tension rose as the result match saw Roma progress to the Semi-finals.

Violence started after the match and some supporters have been reported stabbed - according to reports Raisport. Their has been no reports on there conditions as yet nor has it been established if the fans were from Juventus or Roma. The supporters have now been  transferred to the Gemelli Hospital.

By Richard Hall @Gentleman_Ultra

Photos courtesy of @adamlloyd and his superb site flickr.com/photos/adamllo

Filed under Rome Stadio Olimpico Roma Juventus Ultras

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When Calcio ruled the world: Daniel Fonseca

El Castor (the beaver) arrived on the peninsula in 1990 to join Cagliari from Nacional in Uruguay.

Fonseca would spend 10 years in Serie A with four different clubs. After two successful years at Cagliari, it was Napoli where Fonseca really made his name with when he signed in 1992. The South American scored 31 goals in two seasons. One of his most impressive displays saw him net five goals in a UEFA Cup tie in the 1992-93 season game against Valencia in a 5-1.

This kind of form attracted the attention of Roma who signed him in 1994 to partner Abel Balbo up front in the hope they would form an formidable partnership. Fonseca played just off Balbo as a second striker.

At Roma he never really found the form he had in Naples scoring just 20 goals in three seasons (mainly due to injuries holding him back).

In 1997 Juventus took a chance on Fonseca where he would spend three years scoring just the 10 goals in 40 appearances. It was at Juventus that Fonseca would win his only Scudetto in season 1997-98. In this time he was renowned for being some what of a super sub coming off the bench to score some very important goals. This notably saw him come on to haunt his former club Napoli in November 1997 when he scored in the dying minutes with a vintage left footed strike to secure a vital 2-1 win.

A huge grin showing his famous buck teeth when Fonseca wheeled away to celebrate another goal is a lasting image of 1990’s Calcio.

When Calcio Ruled The World Daniel Fonseca was the image of South American skill, power and glamour that help light up Serie A.

By  @giovanni86 (Giovanni Dougall)

Filed under fonseca uruguay Roma Napoli Cagliari Juventus