INTER MILAN’s dogged pursuit of Romelu Lukaku underlines the determination of the “nerazzuri” to try and break the Juventus stranglehold in Italy, an era of domination that includes eight consecutive Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia wins and two UEFA Champions League finals. Inter, the last Italian club to win the Champions League (2010), have not won a single piece of silverware since 2011 when … Continue reading Italy needs someone to challenge Juventus – maybe Inter
IF BAYERN Munich win the Bundesliga this weekend, it will complete a clean-sweep for the five champions of the major European leagues, in oither words, every winner from 2017-18 will have retained their title. Across the big five (England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain), we have seen monopolies emerge over the past eight seasons – Juventus (8 titles), Bayern (7), Paris Saint-Germain (6) Barcelona (5) … Continue reading Doubles all round?
THE neutral observer could be forgiven for believing Ajax Amsterdam had already enjoyed their moment in the sun with their spectacular victory against Real Madrid. Underdogs rarely have more than one day and when up against a team that includes the UEFA Champions League’s resident expert, Cristiano Ronaldo, it would be easy to assume that Juventus would march comfortably through to the semi-finals. Ahead of … Continue reading A throwback to unpredictable days: Ajax’s marvellous Italian job
WHILE Ajax’s stunning victory against Real Madrid was a major upset, it was also a welcome reminder that unpredictability, if you scratch the surface deep enough, can still be found in modern football. The romantics would love to see Ajax rekindle the fires of European Cups past – let’s not forget Amsterdam’s finest have won the competition more times than Manchester United, Juventus and Inter … Continue reading Another brick in the wall – Ajax’s Turin task
NATURALLY, nobody is happy about the clandestine discussions that may or may not have taken place over the past few months involving certain clubs to create a closed football league comprising the wealthiest names across the top five nations. A “super league” is what they are calling it, but effectively, it is a cartel of the “super rich”, a group driven by greed and entitlement. … Continue reading Why a super league could work if handled properly
AT the age of 33, and after a career at Real Madrid laden with glittering prizes, Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus may seem like a surprising decision. But it could be a very lucrative business transaction for both sides that enhances the reputation of the player and helps shift his employer up a gear or two. From Ronaldo’s perspective, the timing of the announcement was … Continue reading CR7 and Juve, why it will make sense
NEXT season, the British football landscape is going to have to find a new narrative. “Wenger out” has become “Wenger gone”, and therefore a considerable chunk of pundit and supporter dialogue has disappeared. With VAR likely to remove another slice of conversation – refereeing errors – you have to wonder what “your Linekers and Ferdinands” are going to talk about in a few years. As … Continue reading 2017-18: A new script is needed
MANCHESTER United may have been overshadowed by neighbours City in the Premier League this season, but the Old Trafford club remains the world’s most valuable football club brand. In a new report by Brand Finance, United’s US$ 1.9bn brand value tops the Football 50, ahead of the Spanish duo Real Madrid and Barcelona, the latter in possession of the world’s strongest football club brand. Once … Continue reading United the most valuable, Barca the strongest in the latest brand report
THE LAST eight of the UEFA Champions League kicks off this evening and it is largely a case of “business as usual”. While the latter stages of the competition are undeniably exciting and generally of the highest quality, half of this season’s participants have featured in each of the last three UCL quarter finals. KPMG’s Football Benchmark, in its latest report, says the composition of … Continue reading The concentration game – UEFA Champions League
IF YOU asked 10 people in a room to name a German club, they would undoubtedly come up with “Bayern Munich”. Ask them the same question about Portugal, and they’d probably reply, “Benfica”. Have you noticed that wherever you are in Europe, if you bump into a Portuguese, ask them who they support and it will invariably be “Benfica”. In the town I live, I … Continue reading The clubs that became flag bearers
AS IF we didn’t know it, Juventus have shown over the past fortnight just how durable and persistent they are. After drawing 2-2 in Turin with Tottenham in the UEFA Champions League, many people wrote them off, but after their 1-0 win at Lazio, a classic European triumph at Wembley and a 2-0 victory against Udinese, Juventus are in the driving seat once more in … Continue reading Did Napoli blink first?
WITHIN 10 minutes of arriving in Turin, the first signs of the importance of football in the city became very evident: our taxi driver, in his obligatory Fiat, asked if we were in town to see Juve. He was clearly a fan, his small pennant hanging from his mirror betraying his allegiance. He smiled and nodded as we told him we were going to the … Continue reading Soccer City: Calcio at the foot of the Alps