Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Football may not be as crazy as Roberto Mancini says, but most of the events surrounding it are. Take the race for the Scudetto between Juventus and Milan. Both clubs are among the biggest media darlings you could ever come across, yet both managers claimed in recent weeks either that "there are many who will be unhappy at our win" or that "we pushed on despite all the criticism".here's nothing new or heartrending about the us-against-the-world attitude, but it can get a bit ridiculous coming from certain quarters.

Although it seems Juve's Antonio Conte is finally getting the credit he deserves, the position of Max Allegri at Milan is more awkward: the crime of being knocked out by Barcelona and possibly finishing in second place in Serie A is not easily forgotten, nor forgiven, by those whose opinions count. Or at least that's what they believe.

Talk, talk, talk, and that's not a verbal version of Mancini's hand gestures at Sir Alex Ferguson on the touchline at Eastlands on Monday evening. Talk, and see what happens. Talk, and a cloud of words descends on facts and hides them from view - which of course has never prevented pundits and managers from talking even more.

Which leads us, obliquely, to another struggle that has been heating up in Serie A: the one for third place. This is the second consecutive season Italy will be awarded only three places in the Champions League, thus making the race for that final position in the table more appealing, at least at first glance.

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