Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
It is the question on the lips of many football fans around the world. Why would the 2010 European champions recruit an unknown as coach?
Inter would argue Gasperini is not a nobody having guided Genoa to decent success in Serie A but the fact he was sacked by the mid-table side in November is not particularly aupiscious. He was also shocked to get the job.
Some may ask why no other club recruited him until now, but the simple answer is that coaches in Serie A are not allowed to train two team in the same season.
This doesn’t mean Gasperini was Inter’s first choice though. Far from it. Marcelo Bielsa, Andre Villas-Boas and Sinisa Mihajlovic were all contacted along with probably several other more high profile figures.
Got your breath back yet? Perfected the Dejan Stankovic volley in your mirror ready to take out on the pitch? Well Tuesday’s first installment of four Champions League quarter-final evenings was spectacular and there is more to come on Wednesday.
First, a recap of last night. The Real Madrid backlash did kick in, though against the 10 men of Tottenham Hotspur and two extremely well-taken goals that on another night may have gone wide of the post.
Italian soccer on the pitch has a largely undeserved image of being boring, with 1-0 wins and catenaccio supposedly the norm.
Off the pitch Serie A is surely the craziest league in Europe with match-fixing scandals, coaches being sacked the day before the season, and players and managers switching between rivals like they were picking teams in the school playground.
Under pressure Juventus boss Ciro Ferrara has come out fighting after a fourth defeat in five matches but it may not be enough for another first-time coach to save his job.
“One of my friends, one of the few I have at the moment, said to me, ‘you are like Rocky’. I am full of punches and blood but I say to my opponent, I am not hurt, punch harder because you are not hurting me,” Ferrara said in the wake of a 3-0 home defeat by AC Milan.
The coaches of the three biggest Serie A clubs recently indulged in what has always been one of the favourite pastimes of the older and wiser — picking fault with today’s youngsters.
Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho kicked things off when he criticised 19-year-old forward Mario Balotelli’s approach in training and suggested that footballers of his age were more interested in Ferraris and Bentleys than getting on with the job.
A memorable 3-2 victory for AC Milan at Real Madrid on Wednesday as much for the goalkeeping howlers as great play.
When Milan keeper Dida produced an all too frequent error to give Raul the chance to equal Gerd Mueller’s record of 66 goals in the three main European club competitions, it looked like a familiar story for a struggling Milan this season under new coach Leonardo.
The Italian premier, who has again denied he is considering selling a stake in the club, thinks Ronaldinho can be Milan’s “Usain Bolt” and fill the gap left by his Brazilian compatriot Kaka if he is used as a second striker rather than an playmaker.
There is nothing new about putting expensively assembled football teams into the hands of former players with glorious on-field pasts and little coaching experience. But I think it’s fair to say that Pep Guardiola’s remarkable success in his maiden season in the Barcelona dugout contributed to AC Milan and Juventus recently appointing novice managers Leonardo and Ciro Ferrara.
Juve’s Italy defender Nicola Legrottaglie said he sees Ferrara as “the Italian response to Guardiola”. Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani, meanwhile, preferred to compare Leonardo to the precedent they set with Fabio Capello, who like the Brazilian was a club director before his 1991-96 stint in charge that produced four Serie A titles and a Champions League.