lunedì 20 gennaio 2014


The Italian football enters officially a new era. Erick Thohir is the man who inaugurates this new age for the Serie A.
Who is he?  He is an Indonesian tycoon who took over Inter Milan some months ago, paying around 300 milion euro in return for 70 % of the Italian club.

It would have been impossible to imagine this epochal change only three years ago. At that time, in-fact, Inter conquered the historical "triplete", winning the Champions League together with the Italian League, plus the National Cup. That season represents both the apex and the end of the Massimo Moratti´  s presidential era. It´s  like a man winning the lottery and immediately later dies of a heart attack.

Let's try now to explain better this "bloody" example.

Massimo Moratti, Inter´s former owner, needed more than 20 years leading the "nerazzurri" to reach those prestigious results. During this period, the Milanese oilman piled up a 300 milion euro debt, so that the banks decided to shut off money taps. That is why the Italian tycoon was forced to sell the club. The only entrepreneur interested in taking on Inter in such bad economic conditions, was Erick  Thohir, whom suddenly the Italian-press nicknamed E.T. (from his initials)  like the famous Steven Spielberg movie´Extra Terrestrial.

Erick Thoir, in fact, in his own way, is an extra terrestrial, at least for Italian football. He is the first foreign business-man to own such a prestigious Italian football team. He comes from Indonisia, which really would be as another planet if  we made a comparison with Italy. Not to mention, that part of Italy in love with football. Football, in fact, is a different planet within the Italian galaxy. Football has its own rules, which most of the time are dictated from the reasons of heart, instead of the reasons of money.

Unfortunately, it is well known how love and reason have always been fighting. Basically, it's this the reason why it is very difficult for businnes-men to deal with football, especially with Italian football.
 E.T. doesn't seem to be an exception: he has just landed on the Italian football planet, and, as a neophyte, is making several mistakes.

First of all: he is too clear and sincere. In Italian football, pinocchio-land, this quality can represent a defect. When, for example, he admits that Inter will need 3 years at least, to be able to win again, he is making a huge mistake. The football supporters are not known to be patient at all. They want all at once. One year without victory can be too much!

2) Thohir, as an extra terrestrial, should allow Inter supporters to know him better, to break down prejudices and preconceptions. Just one week spent in Milano, releasing several interviews, as Tohoir does, are not enough to be accepted in the Inter family. Inter supporters are used to seeing their former president, Massimo Moratti answering journalists´questions every day or seeing him every single match at the San Siro Stadium. Thohir should be more present in Milano.

3) So, failing all these things, there is just one way to make Inter supporters happier: Thohir, in this winter transfer window, should buy, a great football player, in order to show him as a visiting card.

Football fans, in-fact are not interested in speeches regarding economic accounts, break eaven points, or turnover as the Indonesian tycoon usually loves doing. Sometimes E.T. seems to be more a young student of economy, fresh out of University, than a passionate president.

4) Not to mention his original sin:  he hasn't been an Inter supporter from birth! A sin, which in difficult time like this, could be unforgivable.

To make the situation worse are Inter´s performances that, since E.T.´ s arrival, are getting catastrophic. The team is reflecting the club´s situation, where there aren't directors in charge to represent Inter in front of TV or in the corridors of power. In short, Inter is a club, which is completely off  the rails.

Now, E.T. should follow just one way: he has to adapt his "modus agendi" to the Italian football philosophy. Otherwise, he will start feeling homesick very soon, exactly as the extra terrestrial E.T. did in the Steven Spielberg´movie. But with a different end of the story: in the movie ET was helped returning back home by his human friends in tears for sorrow. Thohir, instead, risks being kicked out of Italy, by furious Inter´s supporters.

Even if they never should forget how this Indonesian, despite not being Inter´s supporter since he was child, saved Inter from bankruptcy, paying around 300 milion euro!

lunedì 13 gennaio 2014


He idolizes Lionel Messi, but his way of playing reminds more about Arien Robben´s style. Who is he? I don´t want to keep my readers on pins and needles. I´m talking about Domenico Berardi, the 19 years old Italian promising talent, who yesterday shot down Ac Milan, scoring 4 goals. An unforgettable night that made him part of the Italian football history: Berardi is now the only player  to have scored four goals against Milan in Serie A's 85-year history and the second youngest player after the myth Silvio Piola, to have scored four goals in serie A. 

Yesterday night performance wasn´t just a fortuity: Berardi, infact, is known to be  a pure talent. He is a "winning horse" on whom Juventus decided to bet last year, after seeing his season in Serie B (11 goals scored in total). The "Bianconeri" hold the co-ownership of Berardi together with Sassuolo. It is easy to guess how Berardi´s performance yesterday made Juve proud. The new Italian talent, in fact, showed an incredible gifts´ repertoire against Ac Milan , scoring four magnificent and stylistic different goals:
1) Firstly, he rounded Christian Abbiati scoring from a narrow angle.
2) He scored with an impressing half-volley.
3) He passed through two defenders just before "mowing down" Abbiati.
4) Finally, Berardi transfixed Milan´s goalkeeper, the fourth time, with a deflected shot.

Yesterday night exploit, as told above, is not a surprise for who knows Domenico as a promising football player. Berardi has had a crystalline talent since he was a teen-ager. Such a pure talent which was impossible to not be noted.


To reveal Berardi´ story is Luciano Carlino, who actually works as a Sassuolo Youth team´s vice-coach, in a nice interview realised to Tuttosport. He as a first, discovered Domenico as a football prodigy in 2010.

"Berardi´s brother Francesco is a friend of mine - Carlino tells. At that time he studied in Modena. As usual every wednesday we used to organize five a side football matches. On one occasion, Francesco invited Domenico (aged 14) to join us: we looked at him with our mouthes open. We saw a phenomenon!  His left shots were so precise to end all in the top corner of the goal. I decided immediately to make him take a test with Sassuolo: In 20 minuts the "Neroverdi" Sport Director decided to sign him", Carlino concludes the story.


Carlino`s story is ended, but Berardi´s tale is just started. It is sure! His qualities are too evident to make yesterday night match just a nice exception. Berardi is equipped with a good physical structure (180 x 74). He is dynamic and powerful at the same time. He is quite fast, in particular in the first 10 meters. His pace reminds of Robben´ s pace and his left shot is pure dynamite. Like Robben, Berardi is an offensive winger, preferably in a 4-3-3, but he can also play as a striker to suggest the penetrating passing.


All these qualities should guarantee a great future to Berardi. I´ m optimistic about him and his career, basically for two reasons: 1) It is said that Domenico is not just a very good football-player, but he is also a clever and humble guy. That´s why he should not follow Cassano or Balotelli in their footprints. 2) Berardi, in the next future, will probably play for Juventus, which has always been the most severe and strict Italian club. Juve still represents a secure lead for young football players and the perfect habitat to nurture talents.


Keep going in this way, Berardi could also hope to take part in the next World Cup in Brazil, the same competition in which his idol Messi and  his most famous "alter ego" Arien Robben will be involved . Dreams sometimes can come true. A night like yesterday is the concrete proof.


Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo) scores a poker (all 4 goals) vs AC Milan HD

martedì 7 gennaio 2014


This article, which I wrote around one month ago after the European Curling Championship in Stavanger, represents an exception for this blog, basically based on football. This article is an interview with Italy women´s National Curling Team. A «gaggle» of young women involved in trying to put in the spotlight this sport on the ice, which has not been so well known in Italy yet. 
We could say  that these girls, in their own way, are sport pioneers. And as pioneers they are brave, unconventional and challenging. I have always had a passion for out of the common-people. Practising curling in Italy, where football throw his weight around, is, in my view, something both out of the ordinary and brave. That´s why I want to give my readers the opportunity to know these passionate girls better and, why not, through them discover curling as an interesting sport. Here below, the article:

The curtain is fallen on the European Curling Championship in Stavanger. So, now, for all the 49 teams which took part in the competition held in Sørmarka Arena, it´s time  to take stock of their experience in the European Championship and draw conclusions for the future. 
Sweden and Swizerland, winners in the female and male tournament, respectively, are obviously going to enjoy the taste of glory. On the contrary, for the women´s Italian National team, ranked at the last place in graduation, the moment to understand what went wrong, has arrived. 

The Italian head quarter is located in a hotel in the heart of Stavanger. The Italian National team´s components look relaxed, sitting around and playing cards. Nevertheless, it´s just a facade. They, really, remind about lions licking their wounds.


«We are disappponted with the result» Arianna Losano, lead of the team,  croaks. It is barely more than a whisper. But soon the tone of her voice become more confident: «We wanted to reach something more, but we were at the first experience at this level» she tries to give as a possible explanation. «We were really tense» adds Veronica Zappone (skip). Italians are very emotional and sensitive people, so it´s not difficult to believe in this honest examination of the competition. 

Autocriticism is an important quality, for both life and sport which helps to improve and grow up. The Italian girls show to possess it, despite being  the youngest team in the competition. The "Azzurre" are looking inward to be aware of their limits in order to go beyond them. One of the secrets of the Italian team´s wisdom is surely the coach, Lucilla Macchiati. 
Here is the proof: when one of the young component of the team starts complaining about the quality of the ice (It was too soft, she says), the coach, up to that point silent and respectful of the interview, admonishes her: «Finding an alibi is not the right way to face a sport competition like this",  she says, disguising firmness as a maternal advice. In short, the message in a bottle is: No excuse, please!

Finally  when the team is asked about the experience in Stavanger from  a personal level,  the disappointment shades immediately into happiness.


In particular, the Italian team is in love with Stavanger: «It´s a friendly-people city. It´s nice. We prefer it to Oslo where we have already been. People are so polite! Not to mention the volonteers and the perfect organization of the tournament. It was without a shadow of doubt a great event. A great competition held in a modern structure. «The arena is amazing. We are a bit jealous of the curling structure in Stavanger. It would be great, if we had the same in Italy" is the honest admission of all the Italian team. «Maybe in the future we could move here» some of the girls don´t descart the opportunity. They seem to say: «Goodbye Stavanger, see you soon or later»


In the next future there are the qualifications to the winter Olimpic Games in Sochi. It´s a dream, but it´s not the only one. «I would like to be an airplane pilot», confesses Elisa Patono (second). «I would like to be a physioterapist» echoes another team-mate. 

After all, they know how to make dreams come true: it´s important the committment and the hard work in order to avoid any regrets. Exactly the same happens with curling. When that heavy stone made of  granite, just as life does, takes curvilinear and unpredictable trajectories which players try to influence by the action of curling brooms: sometimes they are able to bring the stone where they want, sometimes not. All that matters is giving your best. In sport and in life!

mercoledì 18 dicembre 2013


Freddy Guarin is running away from Inter Milan.
The Jaguar, it´s Guarin´s nickname, is ended up in Jose´Mourinho´s sight.
The Chelsea boss, putting himself into the shoes of a hunter, is ready to "capture" the black jaguar, Guarin in the January transfer window.

The deal is almost sealed: Inter director Marco Branca and Mourinho laid the foundation of the agreement in London around 10 days ago. Chelsea would be willing to pay up to 15 million euro for Guarin. An amount, which Inter board would consider fully satisfying.

Now, the question is: why should the new Inter owner, Erick Thohir, let Guarin go away?

Let´s try to figure out a possible explanation.

E.T. is an Indonesian entrepreneur, who works in the mass media and communication environment. He is a type of Berlusconi´s Indonesian "alter ego". For this reason, he looks out for public opinion, in particular during the first period of his presidency. Thohir, in fact, is still trying to build a popular support within Inter supporters, who still seem to be skeptical regarding the new ownership.

Therefore, Freddy Guarin´s selling could be a double edged sword.

On the one hand, trading the Colombian midfielder,  in return for 15 milion euro, could allow Inter to purchase new football players in the winter transfer window. On the other hand, Guarin´s  abdication could cause the Inter supporters´disappointment.

Anyway, is Guarin such a popular and loved player to cause consternation in Inter fans?
Not at all, is the easy answer.

Guarin, in fact, is one of the most detested football players by a consistent part of Inter supporters. Despite his triumphal arrival last season from Porto, the Colombian is actually sonorously whistled during his performances in the San Siro Stadium.

Guarin is not a complete dud, Chelsea supporters keep calm, but he is an anarchic player.
He is a sort of football player to whom a coach can´t easily find a position on the pitch.
Guarin is a wild jaguar!
He is a midfielder, but he can be neither a central midfielder nor a back miedfielder: he tends to attack and he never keeps the position. Guarin is an advanced midfielder or an insight forward. He is in particular at ease going on the counterattack. So, Mourinho´s style could be tailored for him.
Nevertheless, the 27 years old Columbian has a terrible flaw: he is extremely selfish: he never passes the ball to his team-mates, even though they are in an enviable position, on the field, to score.
Guarin is provided with a powerful long distance shot. This quality brings him to try the shot even from a sidereal distance, missing the mark most of the time. That´s why some Inter supporters presented an ironic petition on the web  to stop Guarin´s tries. According to Inter´s fans, the Columbian´s shots, out of target, would threaten the lives of spectators sitting on the stands.

Now, it´s up to Murinho to tame the Colombian Jaguar (or, if you prefer, Colombian crazy horse) in the Stamford Bridge circus.

venerdì 13 dicembre 2013


Juventus were knocked out of Champions League after a two-days lasting match against Galatasaray.
The Tuesday-night match was, in-fact, suspended after just 27 minutes because of a strong snowfall/hailstorm which made impracticable the pitch.
Immediately, Uefa decided to postpone the clash to the day after, starting it again in the 27th minute. A cursory decision due to the last-sixteen´s draw, on the agenda for the next monday, which didn´t get the situation better. On Wedensday, infact, the Telekom Arena´s field was in terrible condition due to the persistency of the bad weather.

Surely the pitch wasn´t worthy of a Campions League clash. In particular one half of the pitch looked like a newly plowed field. "Strangely", it was the part of the field on which It were up to Juve to attack for the most of the match´s remaining time.

Now, both italian supporters and newspapers are instilling a doubt: did Galatasaray decide deliberately to make impracticable Juventus´ attack zone?

The fact that the other part of the field was greener and more decent to play football on seems to strengthen the conspiracy thesis.

Anyway, conspiracy or not conspiracy, finally Juventus were not able to attack nor to go on counter attack.

Frankly, when the ball can neither normally roll nor bounce on the pitch, and the only way to play football is the full toss, it´ s another type of sport, but it´s not football. Maybe "it is hide and seek" as Juventus coach Antonio Conte said after this strange match.

If someone now is thinking that Conte is just a bad-loser, it would be correct also to report the Juve coach´s  further statement: "This match should not have been played. Anyway, we lost the chance to qualify for the last sixteen before the game against Galatasaray", Conte honestly admitted. His reference, clearly  was to the away draw VS Copenhagen.

venerdì 6 dicembre 2013


Not later than one month ago Juventus faced Real Madrid in an exciting and prestigious Champions League clash. A draw, 2-2, was the final result after a breathtaking match. Apparently nothing special happened, in particular if we consider the story of these two clubs. A common past made of several victories and balanced matches between these two giants of football. Nevertheless, this final result  sounds incredible if we compare the costs of both the lines up. A comparison that evidences two opposite philosophies on how to manage a football club now-days.
On the one hand there are Real Madrid, which can count on a record turnover (more than 500.000.000 euro represent the top for a football club all over world). Despite these sensational numbers, according rumors rumbled from sources close to Real, the «Merengues» would «show off» a gigantic debt: 520 million euro! A debt which can be mostly ascribed to the purchasing of football players for an absolute fortune.
On the other hand there are Juventus, whose management is pursuing a completely different strategy: the main goal for Juve´s President, Andrea Agnelli, is to reach the break even point, in the name of which it is absolutely forbidden to spend a crazy amount for a single football-player.

So let´s take a concrete look at these two different philosophies:  we are going to exam the cost of both Real and Juve´s lines up during the last Champions League clash:

The only parameter we are going to consider is the cost for each football-player with the exception of both the goalkeepers. The final result is unbelievable.
Let´s start from Real Madrid:

Marcelo: 5 milion €
Varane: 10 mln €
Pepe: 30 mln €
Sergio Ram:os 24 €
Khedira: 12 mln €
Xabi Alonso: 31 mln €
Modric: 26.500 mln €
C. Ronaldo: 94 mln €
Bale: 101 €
Benzema 31 €

Total: 364 mln €


Caceres: 7 mln €
Barzagli: 0
Bonucci: 13 mln €
Asamoha 16 mln €
Pogba: 0
Pirlo: 0
Vidal: 11 mln €
Marchisio: 0
Tevez: 9 mln €
Llorente: 0

Total: 56 mln €

DIFFERENCE: 308 mln €

The moral is: through skills and parsimony it is possible to pursuit the idea of an economically sustainable football!