Archive for the ‘Serie A’ Category

Come On Milan: Its Not Like You Were Playing Him!

October 19, 2009

So now AC Milan wants to sue the US Soccer Federation for Oguchi Onyewu’s knee injury picked up in the USA’s 2-2 draw with Costa Rica. It now looks like he won’t be recovered and match fit for at least six months.

Well gee Milan, since you’ve barely used him since bringing him to the team, was there some secret plan to start actually letting him play that we didn’t know about?

Onyewu To AC Milan!

July 7, 2009

After much speculation and interest from over a dozen clubs, US and Standard Liege defender Oguchi Onyewu has just signed a 3-year deal to join AC Milan. He will be the first American to play in Serie A since Alexis Lalas played for Padova from 1994-1996.

Gooch’s move to Milan makes much sense when one considers that the Rossaneri’s ageing back line was overdue for renewal, especially given the retirement of longtime great Paolo Maldini.

Livorno Crushes Brescia’s Serie A Dreams

June 21, 2009

Livorno crushed Danny Szetela’s Brescia side 3-0 in the final leg of their promotion playoff and will return to Serie A next season. Livorno’s win capped a 5-2 aggregate win in the Serie B playoffs. Lingering injuries kept Danny Szetela out of the side which will remain in Serie B for at least one more season. Szetela’s loan deal to Brescia expires at the end of June and its still not clear whether he’ll stay with the club, move back to Racing Santander, or be picked up by another European side.

Francesco Tavano, Alessandro Diamanti and Martin Bergvold were the goal scorers for Livorno, which returns to the top flight after finishing the 2007-08 Serie A campaign bottom of the table.

Viola Take Roma Behind The Woodshed

April 26, 2009

The perennial fifth place Fiorentina sent a stong message yesterday that they want something more by embarrassing Roma 4-1.

My personal goal of the weekend (already) goes to the Viola’s Peruvian ace Juan Manuel Vargas for his 6th minute crusher into Roma’s net.

Watch it here:

Alberto Gilardino added two more goals for Fiorentina and Massimo Gobbi completed the butt whuppin’ with a 73rd-minute tap-in. Roma’s Julio Baptista grabbed a goal in the late going to prevent the shutout but the damage was done: 4-1 for the Viola.

Complete highlights here:

Bernardo’s Napoli Chances Looking Up

April 17, 2009

Napoli primavera striker Vincenzo Bernardo seems to be inching closer to a chance to dress with the first team in Serie A action sometime before the season ends. After practicing most of the season with the first team, the New Jersey native has been spending more time playing each week with the primavera (reserve) squad and but drawing more attention from the Napoli management and local media.

In today’s primavera friendly match against Napoli’s first team, (which normally ends 7-0 for the first team) Bernardo scored in a 5-1 losing effort for the youngsters, drawing praise from Coach Roberto Donadoni in the process.

Donodani has a history of experimenting with young players so the chance that Bernardo could suit up sometime this spring could be on the upswing.

Coaching Change At Napoli Could Benefit Bernardo

March 17, 2009

After a superb five year coaching stint at Napoli, Edy Reja brought the Partenopei from the depths of Serie C all the way back near the top of the Serie A table. He did so with shrewd purchases and strong attacking football – all with a budget dwarfed by the bigger clubs in Italy.

But in 2009 with whispers of Champions League in the air, Napoli’s tires went flat with an eight game winless streak and an unsettled clubhouse. Sometimes the one who got you where you are isn’t necessarily the one to take you to the next level so Napoli’s management opted to replace Reja with former AC Milan great Roberto Donodoni.

Of course Reja was the one who took a shine to young American primavera striker Vincenzo Bernardo last fall after watching him score against his first team while causing some unexpected trouble for his defense in practice. Reja had the club sign Bernardo to a professional contract and has since had the New Jersey native train with the first team almost every day.

Now with Reja out of the picture, we’ve got to wonder what this will mean for Bernardo’s future chances at Napoli. In January, the club turned down several loan offers from Serie B clubs as well as teams in England, Belgium, and Romania since they wanted an ironclad deal that he would play (and were even willing to provide financial incentives to ensure he saw plently of playing time). Instead, the 19 year old remained at Napoli training with the first team while making occasional appearances for the primavera (reserve) side.

When asked about the new coaching situation at Napoli, Bernardo stated: “I’m grateful to coach Reja both for the chance with Napoli and for all I’ve learned from him. I’m looking forward to learning from Coach Donadoni and I remember watching him back he he was playing for the Metrostars.”

Word out of the Napoli camp is that Donadoni has seen Bernardo in training with the first team and it appears he is remaining with that group for now – a good sign.

As Napoli’s chances for earning a Champions League and UEFA Cup positions start to fade, the chances that Bernardo could actually suit up at least once for the Napoli first team seem to be increasing. When teams hit the end phase of the season well clear of the relegation zone and out of the running for a European spot (the limbo zone), managers are more likely to experiment with young players and to start laying the groundwork for the future. After last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Reggina (which was nearly a loss before Ezequiel Lavezzi saved a point), Napoli now appears more firmly entrenched in the limbo zone.

While this does not mean Donadoni is ready to start experimenting yet, don’t be surprised to see him give a few more young players a runout in the San Paolo as the season fades. Whether one of them is Bernardo remains to be seen but hey, you never know.

Arena: That’s Madness!

March 4, 2009

You’ve got to hand it to LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who is not one to sit quietly and let the Beckham circus distract his new club any further.

Beckham To Stay With Milan Until July

March 3, 2009

The LA Times’ Grahame Jones is reporting that the LA Galaxy has reached a deal with AC Milan to extend the loan until July, when Beckham would rejoin his team in LA.

The agreement will give Beckham a chance to stay in England coach Fabio Capello’s scheme while compensationg the Galaxy and their sponsors in the process.

Whether the Galaxy can improve over last year’s embarassing run while missing its most expensive player for half the new season remains to be seen. I for one don’t think he’ll pull on a Galaxy jersey ever again. Don’t be fooled folks, this is something akin to a separation agreement awaiting a final divorce.

Read more about it here.

Given how hollow Beckham’s previous words and promises to MLS and LA Galaxy fans are ringing these days, you’ve got to wonder when the Rossoneri faithful will discover that his only loyalty appears to be to no one but himself.

Serie A: Napoli Still Winless in Seven Matches

February 22, 2009

I haven’t been blogging quite enough lately, in part because of the dark mood which seems to have taken hold here in Naples. The home team, Napoli, had a strong start to the season and was hovering around 3rd to 4th place in Serie A when “the streak” started – seven games without a win.

In fact, the town’s beloved blue has earned just two points in seven matches and has slid down to mid-table, a place cemented by today’s 1-0 loss to Genoa. From December to January, locals were talking about the squad playing in the Champion’s League and now they are pointing fingers at players like German Denis (who promised 20 goals and a Champion’s League spot). Denis has not quite lived up to expectations but he remains the only decent option for a target man up front.

It seems that things really started to crumble after the team dropped a home match to rivals Roma 3-0, a loss which left the coffee bars full of long faces and hushed tones. Meanwhile, it seems Roma has switched places with Napoli after the slow starting giallarossi have roared back are now sitting on 43 points and poised to grab a Champion’s League spot. The most galling aspect for the Napoli faithful is that they’ve dropped so many points to some of the league’s weaker squads including Udinese, Palermo, and relegation threatened Bologna. Now, Napoli faces a real uphill battle to claw its way back into contention as it faces Juventus, Lazio, Reggina, and AC Milan in the next four matches.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Romanian striker Adrian Mutu was the savior for Fiorentina, scoring an injury time goal to give the Viola a 2-1 win over the pesky Chievo Verona. Chievo players threw a fit and started their own shoving match since their own Davide Mandelli lay injured on the ground while Fiorentina cashed in on its final attack.

Today’s goal of the day in Italy has got to be Catania’s Ciro Capuano in his 34th minute left-footed net ripper against Reggina.

Check it out here (1:03 into the video):

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Eduardo Salvio: The Next Big Thing?

January 27, 2009

While Arsenal courts Zenith for Andrei Arshavin, Real Madrid begs and pleads for Cristiano Ronaldo, and other clubs are going after the hottest players in the game, there is still a wave of scary talent coming forward from the youth ranks. One in particular is 18 year-old Argentine wunderkind Eduardo Salvio who has already scored 4 goals in 14 appearances for Lanús, including putting two past Boca Juniors. He is also working his way up through Argentina’s highly competitive youth system, recently shining in the South American U-20 championship. Just three days ago, he led his Argentine team to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Peru, scoring the winning goal.

“I can play anywhere, inside or outside, but it does not frighten me to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper,” said a confident Salvio to Gazzetto. “My mirror player plays in another position, and he is Juan Román Riquelme.”

Salvio is a combination of fast, clever, and very technical and with his diminutive 5’5” frame, nothing but trouble for defenders once he has the ball at his feet. He is already being hailed as the next Lionel Messi and Ezequiel Lavezzi (who are both mentioned as the next Maradona) in the great tradition of Argentine supporting strikers such as Carlos Tevez, Messi, Javier Saviola, and others.

Now, teams like Roma, AC Milan, Inter, Napoli, Fiorentina, Juventus, CSKA Moscow, Genoa, Sevilla, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Villarreal and Atlético Madrid are hot on his trail.

So, it is no surprise that in today’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, we see that Juve’s management are making their move by sending chief scout Renzo Castagnini to Argentina to work out a deal before another club gets there first. They’ll be hard pressed to trump Napoli, which has always been a second home for Argentine players on the continent, including Maradona, Lavezzi, German Denis, and others. That said, Juve’s deeper pockets would probably carry the day.

According to Gazzetto, to seal the deal Juventus is ready to ante up with at least €8.5 million and plans to finance it through the sale of forward Vincenzo Iaquinta to an interested Russian club Zenit St Petersburg (which also indicates they are resigned to losing Arshavin).

But any deal may not happen until summer since Lanús president Alejandro Marón, has a stated policy that the club’s youth players must play a full season before any transfers are allowed.

Meanwhile, Juventus has reportedly approached Chelsea to discuss a loan deal for French winger Florent Malouda. Malouda has not fared well since the arrival of Chelsea boss Felipe Scolari but his old Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri, now at Juventus, thinks he can help the team challenge Inter for the Scuddetto.