Top 10 Defining Moments of Serie A 2023/24: Historic Derbies, Shocking Sackings and More

They say that history only remembers the winners. While this quote is certainly true to an extent, the victor’s saga would be worthless without the company. So despite unlocking the second star and everything it stands for, Inter’s Scudetto triumph doesn’t quite tell the whole story of what was yet another gloriously chaotic year in Italian football, just the way we like it.

With so much action on display these days, the vast majority of matches will soon fade from memory. Yet, a few instances will remain deeply carved in our minds for years to come, whether for its great significance, sheer beauty, or the shock factor.

So it’s time to look back at ten moments that defined the 2023/24 campaign in Italian football, including events from Serie A, Coppa Italia and European competitions, placed in chronological order.

1 – The Derby Massacre

While there are times when a season hides its secrets until the later stages, this certainly wasn’t one of those cases. On the contrary, the 23/24 spilled the beans as early as the fourth round, when Inter systematically dismantled their crosstown rivals Milan in a cruel and merciless fashion.

With two goals and an assist, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was the ultimate star of the 5-1 beatdown, while Marcus Thuram marked his first Derby della Madonnina appearance with an absolute screamer.

Long before the final whistle, fans and observers had realized that the two neighbors were worlds apart in terms of quality. And sadly for the Rossoneri, nothing that ensued afterwards suggested otherwise, even though they managed to finish as runners-up in the table.

2 – The Napoli TikTok-Gate

Napoli’s swift and shocking demise from reigning champions to mid-table strugglers was certainly one of the most intriguing stories of the Serie A campaign. But while we could have picked a host of disappointing defeats to choose from, the so-called “TikTok-gate” serves as a perfect illustration of the club’s campaign.

As if the Partenopei’s decaying results weren’t problematic enough, the assumingly 12-year-old admin who runs Napoli’s TikTok account somehow managed to steal all the headlines – for all the wrong reasons – with his absurd sense of humor. This includes making fun of Victor Osimhen who missed a penalty, as well as ill-advised posts bordering on racial abuse.

Obviously, the Nigerian striker wasn’t amused, and it’s not as if he needed an additional reason to depart the club and embark on a new career chapter.

All in all, this silly and easily avoidable incident perfectly depicted the shambolic state that the club has reached with Aurelio De Laurentiis’ ever-growing sense of dictatorship.

3 – A Marvelous Lautaro Cameo

After inheriting the captain’s armband in the summer, Lautaro Martinez has taken his game to a whole new level, growing both as a player and a leader. The Argentine managed to combine the Serie A MVP Award with the Capocannoniere Award granted to the league’s top scorer.

Since the start of the season, the 26-year-old’s lead on top of the scoring charts was never in doubt, and this was partially thanks to his astonishing cameo in Salerno.

With a Champions League fixture around the corner, Simone Inzaghi decided to hand his skipper some rest against the struggling Salernitana. Yet, his men failed to get the breakthrough in the first half, prompting the manager to unleash his most devastating star who answered the call by scoring four goals off the bench, proving beyond any doubt just how essential he has become to the Nerazzurri cause.

4 – THAT Dimarco Goal

Federico Dimarco has one of the most remarkable stories in Calcio in recent years. In his early career days, the die-hard Inter fan found himself constantly on the outs, forced to play his football elsewhere while on loan. Nevertheless, the 26-year-old finally earned his opportunity when Inzaghi took over, and has now cemented himself as an idol among the supporters whom he used to join in the Curva Nord.

Ironically, his famous career strike thus far came at the expense of Frosinone goalkeeper Stefano Turati, who is yet another Inter Curva Nord supporter.

While some might claim that the 50-yard strike was intended to be a cross that went wrong (or rather astonishingly right), others, including the man himself, insist it was aimed towards the goal.

Regardless, this goal is one of the most glorious long-range we’ve ever witnessed.

5 – The Frattesi Roar

From one of the most formidable goals of the season to a simple tap-in. While this may be a drastic dip in terms of aesthetics, Davide Frattesi’s roar against Verona tells you all you need to know regarding the importance of this late winner.

At a time when Juventus were breathing down Inter’s neck, the league leaders realized they had no margin for errors. Therefore, squandering two points at home against the struggling Gialloblu would have been an untimely blow for Inzaghi’s men, especially from a mental standpoint.

But amidst the chaos, Frattesi emerged as the last-gasp hero by latching on the rebound, sparking wild celebrations at San Siro. Of course, the match had one last dramatic twist to offer in the shape of a Verona spot-kick, but Thomas Henry could only hit the post, thus confirming what may have been a key victory for the Nerazzurri en route towards the Scudetto.

6 – Mourinho’s Tears

There’s something about José Mourinho and emotional exits from Italian clubs. But while his legendary Inter stint ended with him and Marco Materazzi tearfully embracing following the Champions League triumph in Madrid, his departure from Roma was equally dramatic, albeit less glorious.

When the Gialorrossi decided to sack the Special One in the middle of the season, the club supporters flocked to Triogoria to voice their support to their beloved coach one last time in a gesture that brought the inconsolable Portuguese to tears.

As is often the case with Mourinho, his tenure featured triumphs, failures, controversy and drama, but it’s the closing scene that tells the whole story of a love affair that never quite reached its climax.

7 – The Derby d’Italia Escape

When Inter and Juventus were about to clash heads in the second Derby d’Italia of the season, the encounter was advertised as THE Scudetto showdown. After all, the Old Lady had emerged as the Beneamata’s solitary title challenger.

In the leadup to the clash, Massimiliano Allegri stole the headlines with his light-hearted digs, including his infamous “cops and robbers” comment, and the “Djokovic and Sinner” comparison. But while he certainly talked the talk, the Livorno native couldn’t quite walk the walk, as his men were unable to match the Nerazzurri on the pitch.

Even though Inter only won thanks to Federico Gatti’s own goal, the gulf in quality was evident to see, and the Juventus players realized it firsthand hand as evidenced by their disheartened showings in the following weeks, which spelled the end of their title hopes.

Eventually, Inzaghi’s men marched towards the podium uncontested, and it all started by serving their direct rivals a massive blow.

8 – The Second Star Unlocked

As if the first Derby della Madonnina wasn’t memorable enough, the second one will always be carved in the collective memory of Calcio fanatics. By mid-February, we all realized that nothing would stand between Inter and the Scudetto trophy.

Yet, the cruel football gods had an extra jibe in store, one that will forever torment Milan supporters.

So in the 33rd round of the season, the Nerazzurri won the Derby, the league title and unlocked the coveted second star in one glorious evening where they wildly celebrated their astonishing achievement at the expense of their fallen rivals.

You just couldn’t make this stuff up!

9 – The Meltdown to End All Meltdowns

Just like Inter’s title triumph, Massimiliano Allegri’s exit at the end of the season had been a foregone conclusion, but it was the manner in which the event unfolded that left us all stunned.

On the night when he made history by becoming the most successful manager in Coppa Italia history with a fifth triumph, ‘Mad Max’ even managed to overshadow his own achievement with an outrageous meltdown for the ages.

The 56-year-old got himself sent off for dissent in the final minutes of the match, then began to angrily strip off while heading towards the tunnel, which is where he casually threatened Tuttosport editor Guido Vaciago to “find him and cut his ears” in one bizarre Liam Neeson impersonation. And let’s not forget about his altercation with Juventus Football Director Cristiano Giuntoli ahead of the trophy ceremony.

Naturally, this accelerated his already inevitable sacking, with Juventus giving his marching orders a couple of days later, but at least Allegri can claim he did it his way.

10 – The Goddess Slays the Beast

En route towards the Europa League Final, Atalanta swept aside the likes of Liverpool and Marseille. However, many believed La Dea didn’t have what it takes to overcome that juggernaut that is a Bayer Leverkusen side riding a 51-match unbeaten streak.

Yet, some observers were left stunned to witness the dismantling of Xabi Alonso’s war machine, in what was arguably the most glorious moment for Italian football in European competitions over the past few years.

Watching Gian Piero Gasperini and Antonio Percassi finally get rewarded for their brilliant project with a trophy was one of those rare occasions when almost the entirety of Italian football came together to applaud the great achievement of a provincial team from Lombardy that supposedly had no business among the elite.

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