Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Lazio, Serie A champions in 2000 but largely also-rans ever since, came up with a not very new idea before the season to try to boost their fortunes this term.
An eagle, the symbol of the Rome club, flies around the Stadio Olimpico before home games for good luck.
So far it’s working, with Lazio top after six games. In fact, apart from England, Europe’s main leagues have a distinctly refreshing look in early October with Valencia ahead in Spain, Mainz producing miracles to win seven out of seven in Germany and Stade Rennes first in France.
Some Italian animal rights activists are unhappy with the use of the eagle but Lazio say the bird is treated well and could point to the fact they borrwed the idea from Benfica, who have had an eagle flying around before important matches for years.
AS Roma are absolutely livid after Inter Milan regained the lead in Serie A with a 2-0 win at Lazio, where the home fans cheered the goals as much as the away supporters.
Lazio fans hate Roma so much that many of them wanted their own side to lose on Sunday as it meant their bitter city rivals were knocked off top spot. This was despite the fact Lazio are not clear of relegation yet.
If Inter Milan were intending their trip to Beijing for last week’s Italian Super Cup to be a China charm offensive, coach Jose Mourinho was obviously not kept in the loop.
The accepted form for European club officials on pre-season trips to China is to politely praise everything local and talk up the footballing potential of the world’s most populous nation.
The departure of Kaka from AC Milan to Real Madrid marks the end of the Italian era in European football. Not only can Italian clubs not attract the best players in the world to play in Serie A but now, when they unearth a talent like Kaka, they can’t stop them from leaving.
Italians used to describe their Serie A as ‘il campionato piu bello del mondo’ , the most beautiful championship in the world. It was not just because Italians love nothing more than talking themselves up — Serie A was the first league in the world to sign up top foreign stars, bringing in international talent at a time when the English league, for example, stretched no further than Scotland in search of players.
The Champions League final is almost upon us and the views of the Roman locals are quite interesting.
As Paul Virgo explains above, AS Roma fans are rooting for Barcelona while Lazio supporters want Manchester United to win.
Serie A clubs are understandably upset about English sides scooping up youngsters such as Federico Macheda from their academies.
Lazio President Claudio Lotito cried foul after the 17-year-old, a product of the Rome club’s youth system, scored a stunning winner for Manchester United against Aston Villa in his Premier League debut on Sunday.
Most Manchester United fans had no idea who Federico Macheda was before the Italian netted a stunning stoppage-time winner against Aston Villa on Sunday.
The 17-year-old’s goal could ultimately be the one that sealed the Premier League title for United.
The silly season has been packed with strange stories, none more so than the mafia trying to buy Lazio.
Italian authorities believe a bid by a consortium in 2006 was actually a front for the Casalesi, an organised crime gang within the Camorra – the Naples version of the mafia.
On February 16 Inter Milan were 11 points clear at the top of Serie A. Since then, a lot has happened and by the time the champions visit Lazio on Saturday their lead could be down to just one point.
First they lost to Liverpool in their Champions League last 16 first leg when Marco Materazzi was harshly sent off and important centre back Ivan Cordoba was ruled out for the season with ligament damage.