Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
The press in both Italy and Britain are speculating that Juventus want Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez to replace Claudio Ranieri.
On face value the rumour looks plausible.
Juve have not won in four games and there is talk of dressing room unrest while Benitez has obviously had his run-ins with the bosses at Anfield, which is looking no nearer to demolition and a nearby stadium built.
Looking at the situation closely, however, and the story seems like a tabloid tale on a quiet day.
Yes Juve have not had a great start but Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat by Palermo was only their first loss of the season. The Turin side are also struggling with injuries.
Amongst all the talk of football and footballers losing touch with the common fan, supporters in Italy are fighting back.
There have been at least four recent incidents where fans have protested against potential signings they did not like. Juve supporters failed to stop Monday’s purchase of Christian Poulsen but did prevent a bid for Inter Milan’s Dejan Stankovic.
Juventus are to become the first Italian club to have their stadium sponsored.
The concept is so alien to Italians that Juve had to hold a presentation in Milan this week to explain what it was all about, and to look for sponsors. I went along hoping to speak to the directors about potential transfers but most of my Italian colleagues asked question after question about this strange new marketing trend.
Having attended the first game at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton 11 years ago, I’ve become rather used to the idea and don’t think it differs much to sponsored shirts.
After winning promotion to the top flight, most clubs would be happy just consolidating their position for a season. But not Juventus.
Claudio Ranieri’s side are third in Serie A, an excellent achievement following their demotion for match-fixing two seasons ago and the loss of Fabio Cannavaro, Emerson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Patrick Vieira, Gianluca Zambrotta and Lilian Thuram.
Italy is hoping the death of a Parma fan on Sunday was not the result of more fan violence.
Matteo Bagnaresi was accidentally knocked down and killed by a bus, forcing Parma’s match at Juventus to be postponed.
Juventus have decided to redevelop the moth-balled Stadio delle Alpi, one of the most unloved stadiums in the world.
Built for the 1990 World Cup, most Juve fans have always hated the Turin stadium because a running track kept them too far from the pitch and the acoustics were terrible. The 69,000 capacity ground was also hardly ever full. The Serie A side are currently sharing the smaller Stadio Olimpico with Torino.