VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

Inter Milan’s coach Walter Mazzarri has received the dreaded vote of confidence from the president after a poor run of results has seen the club slip out of contention for the top three. Only the top three teams in the Italian league qualify for the Champions League next season. Since the 1-0 win over AC Milan, Inter have been very poor and it has seen them slip several points behind Napoli in the third place. There are unlikely to make the vast points difference in the remaining matches of the season. Mazzarri, who was appointed by former president Massimo Moratti, is in danger of losing his job.

Just before any manager is sacked, they usually receive a vote of confidence from the board or the president. It has happened with Mazzarri as well, as president Erick Thohir says that the club are fully behind the manager despite not having won in 2014. The club has won just eight of the last 22 league matches, while they also suffered an embarrassing defeat in the last 16 of the Coppa Italia. There have been rumours that the club are considering a change in management in order to improve their fortunes. However, this vote of confidence from Thohir is likely to keep Mazzarri in the job at least for the next few weeks.

“After the close of the January transfer window and the game in Turin, I feel it is appropriate for me to outline our sports strategy. We are going through a transition year and our main aim is to lay the foundations for our future: this is a difficult season and clearly it is not easy to find another winning combination like the one we had a few years ago. I will sit down and discuss with him which players possess the necessary qualities and motivation to remain with us,” said the president.

JUVE ON TOP

Juventus are once more at the top of the Italian league Serie A, As.Roma had started the season in a superb way as they went undefeated for a large amount of matches but a number of draws against Ac.Milan, Atalanta, Torino and Sassuolo allowed Juventus not only to catch up but also to surpass at the top spot of the league.

With the transfer window opened most clubs from around all leagues are dying to secure a player that can solve some of their weaknesses. Chelsea needs a decent striker, Manchester United is in need of a midfielder, Ac.Milan wants an entire new team.

But looking at Juventus and their top notch squad there isn’t much improvement that needs to be done. The side of Antonio Conte is the club that has scored more goals than any other in Serie A and at the same time is one the squad’s which has conceded fewer goals.

Even at his fairly elevated age, Gianluigi Buffon is still regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world and still has a few more seasons that he can surely perform at his usual world class level. Meanwhile on the midfield Arturo Vidal has been a breakthrough player and a perfect teammate for the architect Andrea Pirlo.

The attacking department of the team is also fairly well rounded with Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente leading the way for the squad.

There has been however rumors about some players that might be leaving Juventus which is the case of Giovinco and Martin Caceres who has attracted the attention of Roma and Napoli but other than that, there really isn’t anything that Conte has to worry about.

The only player that has sparked the interest of Juventus is Luis Nani who is not enjoying any playing time in Manchester United and the Italian team could be tempted to make a move for the Winger but at the current situation that Juventus is in right now, their squad is good enough to secure the Scudetto.

WHERE NEXT?

There has been a lot of speculation about the future of Cesare Prandelli as the national team manager of Italy. It is rumoured that Prandelli is ready to step down from his role at the end of the 2014 World Cup, as he is keen to enter into club football once again. The former Roma and Fiorentina manager is one of the most wanted men in football. The likes of Juventus are interested in hiring him, but Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete has confirmed that he wants to keep Prandelli beyond the 2014 World Cup.

Prandelli has done extremely well in his role as the Italian national team manager. Italy were in a poor state when he took over in 2010, but it has managed to guide them to the finals of the Euro 2012. He has also reduced the age of the squad during this period. Italy also came close to winning the Confederations cup in the summer. After three years at the international level, Prandelli is thought to miss club football that involves day-to-day work. Abete, though, has said that he is very happy with the work done by Prandelli so far and he would like to retain him beyond the 2014 World Cup.

“I like a lot of coaches. However, I like Prandelli more than anyone else. I hope that he stays as the head coach after Brazil 2014. If our relationship doesn’t continue then I won’t speak with any other coaches until Prandelli’s departure is made official,” Abete told Sky Sport. “There is no truth in the thinking that we are looking for a new coach. The Cesare Prandelli rumours are without foundation,” said Juventus general manager Giuseppe Marotta in response to the rumours linking Juventus with a move for Cesare Prandelli after the World Cup.

LJAJIC WARNED

Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Montella has said that striker Adem Ljajic faces the risk of not being in the first-team in the coming campaign if he does not sort out his future. The youngster is out of contract in just 12 months. He has so far not accepted the offer of an extension from the club. The club owner Andrea Della Valle recently said that the player could be placed in the transfer market if he does not extend his contract. The club do not want to lose out on the player’s value, which could be nil in just 12 months. Continue reading LJAJIC WARNED

ITALY DOMINATE SPAIN

Italy managed to completely dominate world champions Spain in the recent match at the Confederations cup, which earned them the praise of Spanish manager Vicente del Bosque. It was only a year ago when Spain managed by Italy 4-0 in the final of the Euro 2012. Italian manager Cesare Prandelli said prior to the match that the hurtful defeat was still in their minds. Perhaps, it motivated them to play the game of their lives after they dominated a very strong Spanish team that has won all the major titles in the last five years.

However, they were made to pay for their poor finishing because Spain once again emerged victorious. The penalty shootout victory was confirmed after new Manchester city signing Jesus Navas put the ball past Gianluigi Buffon. After the match, though, Vicente del Bosque praised the Spanish team by saying that they were extremely hard-working and full of quality. He said that the Spanish team could simply not keep up with the Italians on the night and we were lucky to come out with a victory. As a result of the win, Spain will now be facing Brazil in the final of the competition.

Spain failed to win the Confederations cup last time around, and they will be facing the current holders.

“Emanuele Giaccherini was very impressive, as was Christian Maggio and naturally Andrea Pirlo. Cesare Prandelli deserves credit for speeding up their play down the wings with Maggio and Giaccherini, as their runs put Spain under real pressure. Alberto Gilardino had a fantastic game, he was constantly shaking off markers and holding up the ball for his teammates. He ensured Mario Balotelli was not missed,” said the Spanish manager after the match. The match finished 0-0 after extra time and Spain managed to win 7-6 on penalties.

MESSI IS ONLY ONE

Roma striker Francesco Totti has said that only the Argentine, Lionel Messi, is better than him. The 36-year-old recently completed 20 years playing for Roma after making a debut as a 16-year-old two decades ago. During this period, Totti has established himself as one of the important players at not only Roma, but also at the international level as well. He has not been playing with the Italian national team for the last few years.

Totti has said that he is only below Lionel Messi when it comes to football ability, in his mind. He has said that he would not place any Italian footballer above him. Totti has acknowledged the fact that people may point to the statistics in order to prove him otherwise. Despite the presence of several great players at Roma over the years, Totti has managed to establish himself as one of the legends of the club. The one club man has recently said that he is ready to sign a new contract with the club. The 36-year-old will soon be out of contract at Roma, and he has said that he cannot sees himself playing elsewhere.

Totti has also praised the talent of the AC Milan striker, Mario Balotelli, by saying that he is capable of becoming one of the greatest in the game.

“There is only one player who is doing things that I could never do and that is Messi. I do not think there is an Italian footballer who I would place above myself in the list, though. The numbers speak for themselves. I would say that he can become a phenomenon, but it all depends on his attitude and his behaviour. It’s about the things you do outside the pitch, too,” said the 36-year-old in a recent interview. He has 11 goals in 26 appearances this season.

Premier League: who will go down?

With the Premier League title race pretty much over, the European and relegation battles have now assumed prominence for those betting on the league, and there are still a number of clubs who could potentially fill the three relegation places this season.

One of those clubs is Reading who, despite a recent upturn in form, remain one of the strongest bets for relegation – with odds of around 1/5 at most of the sports betting sites. This is presumably a reflection of the fact that, although they have improved since the turn of the year, they remain in second bottom position. Continue reading Premier League: who will go down?

AC LOSE OUT

Barcelona managed to progress into the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of the Italian club AC Milan, who almost knocked out the Spanish club. Milan managed a stunning 2-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg at the San Siro. They came into the second leg at the Camp Nou looking to hold out onto the significant advantage and progress to the quarter-finals. However, they were simply outclassed by a brilliant Barcelona team, as the Argentine superstar Lionel Messi scored two goals to set them on their way. Allegri, though, has said that Milan could have given them a great chance had they taken the chances that came their way.

Even though Milan were defeated 4-2 on aggregate, the Italian team could have easily progressed on the away goals rule had their scored just before the fourth and final goal for Barcelona from the defender Jordi Alba. Milan had a couple of chances in the match, while their best was the attempt from M’Baye Niang. He managed to strike the post when the score was just 1-0. It could have easily changed the complexion of the match, as it meant Barcelona would have had to score three goals. As it is, Allegri and his men now exit the competition.

“For a matter of a few centimetres, maybe if Niang had scored, we would be here talking about a different game. After we went 3-0 down we still tried to pressure them and we managed to create chances. But when you are playing Barcelona and you have around five or seven opportunities to score you have to take them. Milan tonight played a worse match than the first leg and in the first half an hour they did not let us play,” said Allegri, as he prepares to focus on the league campaign.

YOUTH IS RIGHT WAY

The Italian national team manager Cesare Prandelli has said that he has made the right decision to invest in the youth policy for the national team, which is expected to pay dividends in the long-term. He has also praised the Roma midfielder Francisco Totti by saying that he is in exemplary professional. The Roma captain scored his 221st goal in the Italian Serie A recently, which is an incredible feat considering that he is in the twilight of his career. However, he has managed to mould himself in such a way that the team has been able to use his best qualities.

This has especially come to the forte under the current Roma manager this season. The 37-year-old has made 17 appearances for the Roma first-team, while also scoring six goals in the process. Prandelli has praised Totti by saying that he had the experience of being with him in training for a few months. It helped him learn the way to the one of the best professionals in the game. Italy have been criticised for a long time due to the age of the squad. Prandelli has been trying to change this by introducing young players like Mario Balotelli into the squad. He has also praised the performances of the players like Stephan El Shaarawy.

“I had the good fortune to train him for a few months and that was an honour. He is an exemplary professional and is breaking all records at Roma, regardless of age. Totti is a real champion and always manages to achieve his objectives. He’s also a great man. We did well to choose the path of renovation for Italy and the explosion of so many young talents confirms that. The performances of Mattia De Sciglio, Lorenzo Insigne, Mattia Destro and Stephan El Shaarawy are clear for all to see,” said Prandelli.

ABETE SORRY WITH SERIE A

In the latest scandal gripping Italian football, the Italian football federation head Giancarlo Abete has come out with a statement expressing his sorrow for the Tottenham fans who have been injured after the recent Europa league match with Lazio. The Premier league club took on the Italian club in Rome in a match that finished 0-0. However, the headlines were taken by the off the field incidents, which saw a large group of Italian mobsters attack Tottenham fans in a bar. This left as many as 11 fans injured seriously, while two of the mob have been held for attempted murder.

There have been a lot of anti-Semitic chants over the Tottenham supporters due to the Jewish connection of the club. However, this time the incidents went beyond the chanting, as a number of Tottenham fans were stunned to the on the receiving end of a planned attack from the Lazio fans. Giancarlo Abete has expressed his sincere apology in a letter given to the English FA chairman David Bernstein. He has also said that he will be personally overseeing all the investigation into the matter so as to provide quick justice. The English FA recently said that it planned to report the incident to UEFA.

“I have already had the opportunity to publicly express my condemnation and outrage at what has happened. We would like to extend our apologies to all of the Tottenham fans and, in particular, to the families of the people involved. We are following the investigation closely and remain at the disposal of the authorities to help take this case forward,” said Giancarlo Abete in the letter to the English FA. Abete said that he believes that the attacks on the Tottenham fans were motivated on the basis of religion more than anything else.