Oh, those good old days when one could see Roberto Baggio and Diego Maradona facing each other in the Serie A. When the two used to meet, the game could never be an ordinary one: It was September 17, 1989, indeed, when a young Baggio took the luxury of scoring a sensational goal which clearly resembled Maradona’s Gol del Siglo at the World Cup 1986.
Last week, Fiorentina confirmed the signing of Patrick Cutrone from Wolverhampton Wanderers. The former Milan striker may have the perfect partner in crime in Florence in the person of Federico Chiesa. If they manage to click, the two could form a lethal partnership to bolster the Viola’s attack and save a season which has been well below expectations so far.
Romania has a long history of extremely talented and stubborn or temperamental football playmakers. One name that easily comes to mind, not without a touch of regret or frustration, is Adrian Mutu. The “Fenomeno,” as he was called in Florence, spent a good part of his career in Serie A, including a five-year stint at Fiorentina where he expressed himself at his best.
Juventus are the Serie A Winter Champions as they beat Roma 2-1 in the Stadio Olimpico showdown on Sunday thanks to a double lead taken early in the game with a brutal one-two. The match was, however, stained by young starlet Nicoló Zaniolo’s injury, as the Azzurri sensation left the pitch in the 34th minute with a torn right-knee cruciate ligament. His season is likely over.
Inter genuinely got a break on Saturday night against an awesome Atalanta side. The Nerazzurri snatched one point only and, now sitting at 46 in the table, risk being overtaken by Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus for the ephemeral title of Winter Champions. Atalanta came close to grab the three points and were only stopped by Samir Handanovic, who saved a late penalty.
Perhaps Stefano Pioli has found the magic formula. His brand-new attacking couple made of Rafael Leao and Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped Milan return to victory after three games without goals as the Rossoneri made full score in Cagliari on Saturday. Ibra scored his goal number 57 in red-and-black after Rafael Leao, with a bit of luck, had put Milan in the driving seat.
Italy’s capital and its Stadio Olimpico will play host to two top-class matches this week in Serie A, with Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio receiving a Napoli side whose new coach Gennaro Gattuso is still struggling to make click, and Roma welcoming Juventus on Sunday in what promises to be an extremely fulfilling matchup and this round’s biggest fixture.
It’s no secret that Genoa have been having a poor season so far, but since new coach Davide Nicola took over they have shown signs of life. Their first move on the transfer market was bringing back on loan former goalkeeper and academy product Mattia Perin from Juventus. Perin’s return to his boyhood club coincided with the benching of Romania’s Ionut Radu.
On February 4, 2004, Roma and Juventus squared off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, while sharing the second spot in the table, to decide who between them would be Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan’s main challenger for the rest of the season. Roma won 4-0, but the game is mostly remembered for Francesco Totti’s display of typical Italian hand gestures communication skills.
In today’s edition of our Stickers Swapping column, we take a look at some of the top club’s market situation and how they should be acting in this transfer window. Juventus and Milan were the first to move, securing the services of Dejan Kulusevski and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Serie A might be set to welcome back some big names like Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal…
Napoli-Inter was the radiography of two football sides living diametrically opposed moments, with the final outcome taking a perfect snapshot of the situation. The Nerazzurri easily moved past the struggling Partenopei to capture their first win in Napoli since 1998, thanks to a sumptuous performance by Romelu Lukaku – who is turning Serie A into his personal game reserve.
A goalless draw at San Siro, with Sampdoria snatching an important away point in view of their battle to remain in Serie A. Milan were held onto a nil-nil home tie for the second time in a row, after Sassuolo had ruined their 120th birthday before Christmas. The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, sent in by Stefano Pioli in the second half, didn’t help the Rossoneri.