Massimo Cellino has your FIGC regulations right here.
It’s been a busy week for me personally and in Serie A, which after this weekend will have completed a full three rounds in just nine days.
So like my beloved Rossoneri it’s time for me to play catch-up.
There’s been a lot of hub-bub in Italy these past few days with the first manager sacking (right on schedule), reported conflicts between current employees and club legends, and an owner gone wild resulting in a match forfeited due to safety concerns.
I can’t prove this (and neither can Italian prosecutors) but I’m sure there were several bunga bunga parties as well.
Just another week in the world’s most entertaining (for so many reasons) league!
Further proof that you should never, ever let Sepp Blatter touch you.
In the United States, being a whistleblower can get you 104 million dollars, even if you initially participated in the criminal activity you ultimately have a part in exposing.
In Italy, it can leave you without a job, ostracized from the sport you love and had the dignity and strength to protect.
You might remember the case of Simone Farina, a little known defender from Lega Pro outfit Gubbio, whose testimony came at a vital time in the breaking of the Calcioscommesse scandal still reverberating through Italian football.
Farina was rewarded with an Azzurri call up for a friendly match and praised across Italy for his actions. He was even declared a Football for Hope ambassador by FIFA at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in January.
But months later, his contract with Gubbio rescinded (supposedly amicably and by mutual agreement) a 30-year-old with years of experience near and in Serie B can’t even get a free transfer on minimum wage. Ridiculous, considering someone even wanted Michael Owen.
There was apparently talk of him getting a contract with Aston Villa, not to play, but to perform a role teaching young footballers about fair play. Understandably still wishing to play, Farina declined, but with the transfer window now closed in Italy this former “hero” is without a club.
Come on dude! You’d fit right in in Italy!
It briefly looked like there would be one more “boob” for me to include in your weekly dose of Serie A but, in a move so typical of Italian football right now it appears that Fiorentina and Juventus wasted enough time battling each other to allow Dimitar Berbatov to likely sign for Fulham instead.
Just another example of Italian on Italian crime.
Now I am obviously biased, and Fulham did shock the Turin giants a few years back in the Europa League, but who in their right mind would choose Fulham over Juventus?
EPL mid-table over Serie A Champions?
Cold nights at stoke over Champions League football?
Fucking Fulham over one of the most decorated clubs in soccer history?
And what better place to launch your line of designer mittens than Italy? This guy really is a boob.
So Juve appear to have settled for Nicky “Pinkboots” Bendtner instead, while La Viola continue to scramble for a suitable partner for Stevan Jovetic (or someone to replace him when he inevitably leaves).
The transfer market closes in Italy today, so pay attention to the continued comings, goings, and chicanery that always accompanies the calciomercato and join me after the jump for your weekly Serie A tour.
Kids love meeting the manager.
Just like all of the other cool clubs, AC Milan have been spending part of their summer in America.
In these days of crazy football finances expanding your global brand over the offseason is a no-brainer and it has the added benefit of giving already die-hard fans the chance to see their favorite squads live and up close.
Hell, it doesn’t even have to be your favorite squad. I once got to geek out (with dignity of course) in the presence of some of those bastards from Manchester United.
Getting in on the U.S. outreach action, the Rossoneri recently visited the adidas store in Manhattan for a meet and greet and autograph signing for Tri-State Area tifosi. The team is in the Big Apple to face Real Madrid in the new Yankee Stadium.
In addition to the signing, there was also a special offer which would guarantee the first 150 people who purchased $75 worth of Milan merchandise from the store a special wristband and the chance to meet the team.
$75 isn’t all that cheap, but when you consider the gear is about to be filled with signatures, you have to assume that’s actually a pretty good value.
Now, me being in Boston, I could have easily hopped on a train or more likely a Chinatown bus (Fung Wah baby) and gotten the type of access to the team that I will rarely ever be offered again.
But I’m actually holding out for a much more exclusive wristband, and it’s going to take a lot more than 75 bucks.
I take comfort in the fact that they play for Italy.
Congratulations to Juventus on their Serie A championship and (presumable) undefeated season!
A bitter pill to swallow for this Milan fan, but the Bianconeri were the most consistent team all year and in the end deserved victors.
All that’s left for Serie A this week is to figure out which club ultimately secures the third and final Champions League spot next year and which team will join already relegated Novara and Cesena in Serie B next season.
Only the games that actually matter, after the jump!
The Smurfs are real lefties. Shouldn’t they be St. Pauli fans?
Now that his Swans are safe in the knowledge that they will be playing top flight football for another season, Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has encouraged the team’s fans to don a specific costume to commemorate the achievement.
According to Rodgers, English bookies gave the prospects of spotting Elvis Presley alive and well better odds than they did the possibility of the Welsh side surviving.
And so, Rodgers has encouraged the Swansea faithful to show up for this Sunday’s game against Liverpool dressed as “The King” (not Kenny… or LeBron).
And just yesterday in London, over 150 Hartlepool supporters dressed up as Smurfs for the League One outfit’s final match away to Charlton Athletic.
An homage to your club colors is fun, but I like Rodgers’ more topical approach. So, I have provided some more suggestions for EPL fans, after the jump.
There are some real parallels between Serie A and the EPL heading into the final few matches of the season.
Both feature heavyweight rivals still duking it out for the title, which is likely to come down to the last day in both leagues.
Each has a few teams still clamoring for the last Champions League qualification spot, with 4 teams still having a realistic chance in Italy.
And both leagues still have yet to confirm the three sides who will drop out of the top flight. England’s relegation fight still looks a bit more heated, but don’t tell that to Lecce fans.
Yes, there’s still plenty of drama to be had on the Apennine Peninsula. More than enough to rival the birthplace of the game.
With just two weeks left to resolve it all, we are sure to be in for quite a round this weekend.
So full of hope.
Four rounds to go in Serie A, but we already have out first relegation victim.
Sorry Cesena fans (I know there must be some of you out there) but after two seasons in the top flight the Seahorses return to Serie B.
Who would have thought the attacking force of Adrian Mutu and Vincenzo Iaquinta couldn’t get it done? (Everyone)
Novara look set to be the next to join them, though Milan fans hope they can continue to show the heart they’ve displayed all season and knock off one more big opponent.
Juventus’ lead looks secure, 3 points clear with the head-to-head tiebreaker over Milan, but anyone who has followed this sport with any consistency knows that anything can happen.
This goes doubly for the race to third, with Lazio, Roma, Napoli, Udinese, and now in form Inter all still making a case.
Piermario Morosini (1986-2012)
The world of calcio does its best to move on from tragedy this weekend as normal play resumes after the death of Piermario Morosini.
I have not devoted more space on the site to this young footballer simply because I was just not that familiar with his life or career, and to google him and pretend to be would, in my mind, be dishonorable.
By all accounts Morosini was a fine man, brother, teammate, and player who had lived a tragically sad life that unfortunately ended in a similar, and very public way.
I don’t want to get preachy. We tend to keep religion and sport very separate in this country, but in Italy the two are heavily intertwined, with many heading straight from the church to the stadium on Sunday. These two types of cathedrals will be filled with prayers for Piermario this weekend, and hopefully he is at peace.
Such things may seem trivial for a while, but there is still the small matter of a scudetto up for grabs. This week’s fixtures are sure to have an enormous impact on who wears the badge next season.
In order to find his equal, Balotelli is forced to talk with God.
After exploding his own bathroom earlier in the year Mario Balotelli had kept things fairly tame until recently clashing with teammates in the middle of a game and being foolishly sent off against Arsenal a few weeks back.
Manchester City boss strongly implied he would have no further use for the mercurial striker and most assume he’s back off to Italy sometime this summer.
But Super Mario has since claimed to have been deeply affected by the on-field death of his former Azzurrini teammate Piermario Morosini and vows to change his ways.
He has rejected reports that he intends to seek psychological counseling but has decided to look for guidance and motivation from some more experienced footballers as he attempts to turn his behavior, reputation, and career around.
Seems like a wise, possibly even mature thought process.
That is until Balotelli revealed he has chosen none other than Carlos Tevez to be the source of his inspiration.