Category: Juventus

The most expensive man in football - but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

The most expensive man in football – but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

It has to be said – we are all relieved that the football season is now back in action. A lot of transfers have occurred this summer with a lot of teams willing to spend immense sums, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona (on Gareth Bale and Neymar respectively), and others choosing not to break the bank such as Manchester United.

The Armchair Pundits takes a look at the potential fortunes of the big 3 in Europe and offer predictions of who will be league champions in their respective countries.

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Spellbinding | Ajax’s two mesmerising performances against Manchester City have put Dutch football back on the map after a long spell on the sidelines. (Image | Getty)

This week in Europe may have turned into the week of the comeback for the English quartet, but there can be little doubt, if any lingered, that the Premier League’s finest are no longer Europe’s dominant force.

Remember that spell when there were three English clubs in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League every year between 2008 and 2010?

At this time, footballing knowledge suggested that the continent had been conquered by Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Well, can you really see that happening this year?

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Hopefully Sky Sports will appreciate how long this took and won’t try to sue us. Please. (Image | Sky Sports, very graciously)

Deadline day once again produced its usual mix of excitement, hyperbole and confusion yesterday, with a standard assortment of a couple of ‘blockbuster’ moves and many, many loan deals done between Premier League teams and lower-league clubs.

As is our duty, though, we’ve dredged through the rumours, the hopes and the hogwash to bring you the ten most intriguing deals of yesterday’s shopping frenzy…

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Kissing goodbye? Robin van Persie has signalled his intent to walk away from Arsenal at the end of next season, opening the way for a likely transfer departure this summer (Image |

You know how sometimes you take a big gamble on something, knowing that if it pays off you’re in a fantastic position? Well, sometimes that gamble falls flat on its face and leaves you facing a catastrophe.

That’s kind of how Arsenal probably feel this afternoon.

Robin van Persie has announced via his official website today that, because he and the club “in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward”, he no longer has any intention of extending his current contract, which has a year left to run.

Arsenal’s big summer plans, centred around the already-sealed arrival of Lukas Podolski and the almost confirmed signing of Olivier Giroud, have supposedly left them in a far stronger position to attack the Manchester clubs in next season’s Premier League. That, however, all hinged around van Persie.

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Passed it | Andrea Pirlo was careless discarded by AC Milan, but he still drives both Italy and Juventus even late on in his distinguished career. (Image | Metro)

At the ripe old age of 33, you might be forgiven for thinking that Andrea Pirlo was no more than a fringe-player, a bastion of experience on the periphery of the Italian squad; however, the Azzuri’s three games at this year’s European Championships have proven quite the opposite. Pirlo is still the central figure for the Italian national squad.

Having moved from AC Milan to Juventus on a free transfer last summer, Pirlo enjoyed an outstanding season for his new club, starting 37 league games (a career best), scoring three goals, providing 13 assists and adding a touch of class to the Juventus midfield.

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Allegations: The investigation into Lazio midfielder Stefano Mauri has inevitably drawn comparisons with the highly-damaging 2006 scandal. (Image | The Daily Mirror)

Lazio captain Stefano Mauri has been arrested by police investigating fresh allegations of match-fixing in Italian football. Head coach of Juventus, Antonio Conte, is also being questioned, as well as Domenico Criscito, a member of Italy’s 25-man squad for the European Championships.

In 2006 the match-fixing scandal commonly referred to as “Calciopoli” emerged. It resulted in the demotion of Juve, who were stripped of two Serie A titles, and points deductions for other teams, including AC Milan and Fiorentina.

The events of this year were extremely damaging for Italian football, in particular prompting the mass exodus of star players from Turin, and affecting the quality and reputation of the Serie A. According to the BBC’s Alan Johnston, the investigation has been going on for some time.

“For many months now this investigation into match-fixing in the Italian game has been widening and deepening. While up to now much of the suspicion has fallen on teams and players in the lower divisions of the game, the prestigious Serie A is increasingly being drawn into the scandal.

“More painful and damaging, allegations and revelations lie ahead.”

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All hail the (nearly) invincibles

Alessandro Del Piero is Juventus’ all time leading goalscorer, and his name is synonymous with the club. He will be a free agent from this summer after nearly 20 years at the club. (Image | Wikipedia)

Forever remembered as a golden time for Italian football, 2006 saw the national side winning that year’s World Cup. But Italy’s international glory was sullied by a story much closer to home. It can be summed up in one word: calciopoli.

The scandal that rocked Italian football sent shockwaves throughout Serie A, and those tremors were felt most keenly at Juventus. The then reigning champions were stripped of their two previous league titles, and demoted to Serie B, starting the following season on -9 points. This was incredibly damaging to the Old Lady, arguably Italian football’s most famous club side. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the playing and coaching staff didn’t come to Turin to work in the second tier.

As a result there was a mass exodus.

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Milan stalwart Filippo Inzaghi is one of several players departing the Rossoneri in this summer’s rejuvenation programme

Italian giants AC Milan are set to embark upon a major overhaul of their squad this summer after letting go six of European football’s most decorated players.

Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso, Filippo Inzaghi, Mark van Bommel, Clarence Seedorf and Gianluca Zambrotta are all set to leave the San Siro following the conclusion of this season.With a combined age of 214, the six individuals have 1184 league appearances for Milan between them; as well as 467 international caps, 14 Scudetto titles and four World Cup winning medals.

Along with the expiration of a number of loan deals – namely Maxi López from Catania, Inter’s Sulley Muntari and Liverpool’s out-of-favour Italian international Alberto Aquilani – the club are likely to face no shortage of change of its personnel in the coming weeks and months.

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Spot the difference: Inter’s “Rambo” netted a hat trick against city rivals AC Milan, and has a goal scoring ratio of more than a goal per two games for Stramaccioni’s side.

A derby day hat-trick from Diego Milito downed Inter’s city neighbours Milan during the Derby della Madonnina, handing the title to Juventus in the process. Their record-setting 28th Scudetto win was confirmed as they roamed to a comfortable 2-0 victory against Cagliari, sending them four points ahead at the top of Serie A with just the one game remaining. The “Rambo” lookalike made the all-important difference in what was a pulsating game at the San Siro, netting two from the penalty spot after opening the scoring with a close range finish.

The 4-2 victory ended any hopes Milan had of retaining their league title, while Inter knew anything less than three points would run them out of contention for the final Champions League qualification spot. As it is, their chances are incredibly slim: they must beat Lazio next week and hope both Napoli and Udinese fail to pick up any points in their respective games.

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