Del Piero may do his victory
Ronaldo hopes to wet his beak
"Il Calvo", "The
Bald One", wants to make Van Gaal regret
The Burrito will finally play
in Europe (other than Valencia's bench)
With less than a month for another exciting season of the best soccer
league on earth, Serie A teams are going to the extremes to get the
job done. The players, coaches, club presidents and even the fans are
completely different one form another but they're goal is pretty much
the same. The league trophy.
Last year Juventus repeated as the best club in Italy and possibly the
world. Juventus of Turin dominated the 2 half of the season and are
the odds on favorite to take a third in a row.
But I wont be easy. See there's some Brazilian called Ronaldo that has
entered the toughest league in the world and succeeded in it breaking
the rookie record of 19 goals set in 1983 by fellow Brazilian Zico by
scoring an awesome 25 goals.
With one of the most expensive casts in football Inter is definitely a
candidate to give Juve a run for their money.
Last year Lazio was the biggest story on Serie A and at some point it
looked the could have even gone all the way. They had to settle with
The Italy Cup but with huge signings as the 17 million dollars paid
to River Plate for Marcelo Salas and other big signings like "little
buda" Ivan De La Pena Lazio has their eyes on the trophy.
For my money, here are my predictions for the 98-99 season.
THE TOP FIVE
Since so many teams in Serie A are regarded as top notch, class A
football teams this prediction is a hard to make. But here's my little
This season Parma will HAVE to improve on their poor performance
where they barely made it to the uefa cup.
Parma got a habit of spending a lot on free agents or attacking
players. The formula worked for a couple of years but last year the
real Parma team showed its faced(and it was an ugly one) at the the
champions league where they didn't even qualified for the next round.
So what do you do when your defense stinks? You get new defensive
players! (genius work).
Since they already had an stellar cast to work on, with arguably the
best defender in the world there wasn't that much to add. Even with
that, the signing of Luigi Sartor makes Parma a better team and now
gives Lillian Thuram the option of going towards and as we all know
he's a great complement to the offense..
Parmas midfield was at most an average one, with Dino Baggio leading
the way. Nowadays Baggio has a lot of help to relay on. The 20 million
paid for Juan S. Veron seem to many excessive but the utility
midfielder can do jus about anything in the field. He's best assets
are his powerful shot and his great passing ability. Parma have a
great defensive midfielder on Alain Boghossian who came this summer
from Sampdoria and since he and Veron where teammates expect them to
work just fine together. Diego Fuser joins the talented cast as an
overall leader who adds experience, Mario Stanic and Longo(formerly
from Napoli) provide good depth.
A lot will be said about Parma`s frontline this year. Whether its good
or bad is up to them. Here's a team that shows no confidence on their
2 starting forwards first by hiring a guy that wasn't doing well in the
premier league and then a 32 year old-a thousand-battles-has a
horrible word cup type of forward.
Even with all that said Abel Balbo scored 14 goals which is better than
Aspire and Chaise together.
The question is can Balbo play another full season or will he become
another Daniel Fonseca?
For my money Crespo is a 22 year old that is starting to get it all
together and Balbo, Asprilla and Chiesa can platoon the other forward
Does anybody know what is Melli going to do know?
Forget about the fact that Balbo is gone. His 14 goals where the 3
lowest total in his career and with 32 years old on his back he didn't
had much more to offer. This Roma team is young, talented and has been
playing together for a some time now and that's how you build a
champion, just ask Juventus.
This consistent squad finished 3 last year and put up together some
impressive streaks. The problem in this team is the lack of go-to-guy
superstar kind of player that can finally bring them to beat teams
like Lazio, Inter and Juventus which the didn't last year. Once they
have that kind of player they can move on the next level.
The team consists of a great goalie with 2 good centrals that can
handle any airballs. They have 2 lateral defenders in Cafu and Cesar that can
make a lot of noise down the sides, specially Cafu who was named one
of the top 11players in Serie A.
This midfield is disciplined and works like a clock with Luigi
Di Biagio being in my opinion Italy's best player in the WC.
Difranchesko adds experience and good ball handling and Paulo Sergio
adds 12 goals and a promising career. Marco Delvecchio has been called
by his coach as one the best forwards in Italy and I agree, this guy
can do anything with the ball and with a not so bad himself Frank
Totti Roma`s duo seem in good shape. And keep an eye on Christian
who's coming of a superb season in Brazil.
Last year we saw a Fiorentina team playing to the maximum of its
abilities. We saw its defense getting many shutdowns a midfield that
managed to hold the ball longer than their opponents, and a pair of
attackers that scored at will. All of that hard work resulted in a 4
place, it just wasn't enough.
Batistuta tired of years and years of disappointments threatened to
leave the club. But club president Gori pulled out another rabbit out
of his hat and convinced him to stay at least 1 more year by signing a
5 year contract.
To finally make that move from contender to champion Gori signed
coached Giovanni Trapatonni, a man who knows how to win.He also
brought along Moreno Torricelli from Juve and Heinrich from Borussia
Dortmund to improve an already solid defense. Last year midfield was
responsible for Fiorentina`s 13 game unbeaten streak. In that same
streak Fiorentina only won 4 times.Trapatonni got rid of defensive
asset Stefan Scwarz and instead got 2 players who can play both
offense and defense in Guillermo Amor and Thomas Relka to help
Robbiati and Morfeo create more goal scoring chances.
Last year Luis Oliveira was the surprise of the season finally
breaking into the top scorers list. This year he could repeat this
performance and finally break the 20 goal barrier. But with Superstar
Gabriel Batistuta who scored 21 last year its gonna be hard.
Bottom line, this is team is better than last year but still not good
enough. My prognosis: Batistuta will be playing in England or Spain
Inter finally broke into the Elite teams ,after been stuck all this
years in the uefa cup, mostly because of Ronaldo. The 21 year old
scored a rookie record 25 goals for an Inter squad that only on the
last part of the season had a 2 attacker.
Inter wants to win the league desperately and to become the worlds
best team and because of that Massimo Moratti has spend 70 million this
season largely on living legend Roberto Baggio and young promise
The defense is the most solid part of the team and one of the top 3
in the whole planet.
Defending Gianluca Pagliuca`s goal inter will have a rotation between
Colonnesse, Fresi and Bergomi and the 2 offensive oriented defenders,
Javier Zannetti and Taribo West.
Even if the "D" is the best part of the team, the midfield is the most
By talent alone it has to be considered as the most talented in the
world if we take in consideration that it has more depth than any
other. Diego Simeone is the only main stay, the road warrior has the
muscle every team needs, Franchesko Moriero is in the verge of
becoming Italy`s best midfielder and Dyorkaeff in another goal threath
that will have to improve on last year`s perfomance and play more like
in 96 ,15 goal season.
The rest of the midifield is fighting for a spot in the starting 11.
Paulo Sousa was an 8 million dollar waste last season and Aaron Winter
looked lost most of the time, Ze Elias and Cauet are not superstar but
good ball handlers and Alvaro Recoba is the star of the future but is
The frontline is an enigma.
Will Ronaldo repeat last year success with all that has happen since
the wc finals and did Robbie Baggio had a fluke year scoring 22 goals
Baggio is a much more giving player now an is interested in finally
getting a trophy, champions cup jumps in my mind.
Ivan Zamorano had a great 2 half and a decent wc but he`s 31 and with
2 future hall of famers as starters he will mos likely be a replacement.
Kanu will probably be traded before the season ends.
The bottom line: This team has a lot of work to do with no time and
that will cost them the league trophy.
The formula for success developed by Marcelo Lippi looks simple. Get
good players at bargain prices, teach them the sistem and then sell
them at high prices that way getting some money, and o yeah win 3
league titles and a champions league on your way.
What Marcello Lippi has done with this team is remarkable.Even more
remarkable is the fact that they keep selling theyre top players and
they are still winning. Some players who have left: Vialli, Ravanelli,
Vieri, Jugovic, Sousa, Boksic.
Players who have replaced them. Inzaghi, Zidane, Davids, and others.
The defence is formed by the best pair of centrals in the world in
Ciro Ferrara and Paolo Montero. You cant go through them, you cant go
around them, hell you cant even go near them, is a wonder people score
The midfield is fun to watch, you got Deschamps as the garbage
collector who cleans up after his friends leave a mess and gets the
ball back to them, you have Dilivio getting the ball down the sides
better than anyone on Serie A, You got that "BUG" called Davids who
looks like he`s on alkaline batteries and is one of those all over the
field players, he can be anywhere, look there he is right there! ups
he just left.
Zinedine Zidane was rated by collague Fernando Troiani as the best
foreigner in Serie A. The best playmaker to play in Juventus since
Platini, Zidane can be the one that decides this years Juventus title
The dinamic duo of Alessandro Del Piero and Pippo Inzagui was the most
prolific since Gullit Van Basten.
The first half it was all Del Piero but in the 2 half Inzagui got on
fire ending up with 18 goals for a total of 41 between the two(23 Del
Juve also has two luxury subs in Marcelo Zalayeta and Daniel Fonseca.
This team has all the tools to win it all and theyre also the
favorites to take the champions league.
This team has failed 2 consecutive years with Luxury squads and it
looks like 3 wont be a charm.
What Milan`s gotta get in theyre heads is that you cant win in 1998
with the 1993 world champions.
Players like Costacurta, Boban and Savicevic just dont seem to be
getting it done for the team.
Milan`s best signing this year was Roberto Ayala.
Wait, wait , wait before you try to shoot me, will you at least let
me explain myself...
Coach Ericksson knows this team defence was among the best in the
world. Luca Marcheggiani had a league high 12 shotouts.
So what they need it was some more goals (Pavel Nedved top goalscorer
with 11 goals).
But what he got he didnt expect.
Lazio is relaying to much on Serie A rookies all of wich they have
payed quite some top dollar.
Ivan De La Pe˝a hasnt played on Barša or the national team for many
months now, Marcelo Salas is a small attacker that has enormous
pressure on him, Jugovic is gone and Boksic is a year older and an
more injured for a guy that wasnt that good to begin with (his 10 goals
last season was his best season ever in Italy)
Thank God Pavel Nedved is still there.
Montella and Ortega, then who else?
Players who will decline heavilly
Olive Bierhoff, he`s 31 and just hit his prime. Is all downhill now.
Abel Balbo, father time is knocking on his door. Not much long for the
32 year old.
Fernado Couto, had a terrible season and didnt even played much last
year and they "punish" him by getting him into Serie A?
Player who will experince a let down after a career year
Robbi Baggio. not much of a dropoff, but wont break the 20 goalbarrier
DelPiero, Same here. He`s still the best player in Juve.
Many team will be watching that Real Madrid-Juventus champions league
Leonardo, Plays for Ac Milan, enough said.
Roberto Mancini, not the playmaker anymore age finally doing it`s
Deschamps, it seems as injuries are nagging him to much.
Players who will finally brake into the international scene
Pavel Nedved, The best midfielder on Italy last year, is getting
better every season.
Marco Delvecchio, A supertar on the making
Hernan Crespo, 12 goals last year, And he`s the main man on Parma this
Alvaro Recoba, Loaded with talent may be the difference for Inter this
Players that will most likely be on the charts this year.,
Batistuta: Projection 23. Will be hunting for some title this year.
Montella: Projection: 22 Has scored over 20 goals 2 seasons in a row.
Ronaldo: Projection 20, Too good not to be here.
Delvecchio, Projection 18, all set for the next italian capo
cannonieri(top goalscorer of Serie A)
Crespo , Projection 18, Parma`s top gun.
Its gonna be a fun league, but only 2 teams have what it gets to take
all home. Inter and Juventus.
Felix J. D.
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