Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Is Benitez at fault for Inter implosion?

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SOCCER-ITALY/A lack of fit players, lack of effective training, lack of buys, lack of hunger, lack of Jose Mourinho.

The possible reasons for Inter Milan’s troubles, which leave coach Rafael Benitez clinging to his job, are widespread and not all his fault but the treble winners have to do something to reverse their steady decline.

Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Chievo, which put Inter nine points off top spot, followed the derby defeat by AC Milan and media reports reckon Benitez could be axed if the holders slip up at home to Twente Enschede in Wednesday’s Champions League clash. Samuel Eto’o's crazy Zidane-like headbutt against Chievo, which is set to lead to a lengthy Serie A ban, comes at the worst possible time for the Spaniard.

A glance at the factors behind their poor form shows Benitez is only half to blame.

What has happened to Maicon and Nesta?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONSMaicon was hailed as the best right back in the world not so long ago but Tottenham’s Gareth Bale has terrorised him twice in two weeks and Inter Milan fans are beginning to wonder if they should have cashed in and sold him to Real Madrid after all in the close season.

In the opposite San Siro dressing room, AC Milan’s Alessandro Nesta will also be getting a little twitchy after being exposed by Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Why can’t divers be punished immediately?

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SOCCER-ITALY/Juventus winger Milos Krasic dived to win a penalty in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Bologna. We know this because his team mates have admitted it, even if the replay evidence was pretty clear anyway. No contact at all and no slip.

Justice was done for Bologna when Vincenzo Iaquinta fluffed the spotkick but if he had scored, the goal would have stood and there is nothing in soccer’s rules to reverse it.

Lazio soar like their new eagle

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SOCCER-ITALY/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.

What if Juventus or Liverpool never return to their best?

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SOCCER-ITALY/Form is temporary, class is permanent. The phrase is often used for top players experiencing a difficult spell, but does it refer to clubs as well?

Looking back at the European game, it appears the biggest clubs tend to stay at the pinnacle of the sport give or take a few dips.

Are AC Milan now Serie A favourites?

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As the dust settles after the end of the transfer window, Italian soccer fans are gradually coming to terms with a possible shift in power at the top.

No one is outwardly saying it, but whispers and hints abound. AC Milan may finally have a squad capable off wrestling the title off Inter Milan after five long years.

Transfer deadline day live blog

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We’re following all the deals as they happen on the final day of activity in the transfer market. Comments always welcome…

Ibrahimovic? Milan need something

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AC Milan have confirmed they are trying to sign Barcelona forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and judging by their pre-season form, they really need a spark.

Ronaldinho showed some good touches in Sunday’s drab 0-0 draw with Juventus, Milan’s final pre-season friendly, but he will never be the player of old and has never been a out-and-out striker.

Tears of goodbye from Inter’s Mourinho?

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The Special One finally allowed emotion to get the better of him on Sunday when tears were clearly visible in his eyes after Inter Milan wrapped up a fifth straight Serie A title and the second part of a potential treble.

Jose Mourinho is normally so clinical, so self-confident. Were they just tears of joy after retaining the scudetto or did he cry because he knows he will leave Italy after Saturday’s Champions League final with Bayern Munich?

Is there a way to stop end-of-season farces?

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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.

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