Italian World Cup winner Andrea Pirlo has revealed that he has held talks with members of the Italian FA and other clubs as he considers stepping into a coaching career. The 38-year-old hang up his boots during the back end of 2017, and he is expected to be given a formal send-off at a San Siro testimonial next month.
After the bitter disappointment of losing the 2017 Champions League Final to Real Madrid, a question that many were asking was whether or not we were witnessing the end of what has undoubtedly been a great Juventus team over the last few years.
Such prolonged domestic dominance, with six successive Serie A title victories under their belt, is not something that should be discredited but the fact that they have not managed to win Europe’s top club competition since 1996 cannot be ignored either.
Gianluigi Buffon could prolong his career for a couple of seasons, according to the goalkeeper’s agent Silvano Martina. The 40-year-old was initially expected to hang up his boots at the end of the season, but following another call-up to the Italy squad, he is considering the prospect of playing on for a few more years.
Speaking to RMC Sport, Martina said: “It’s still soon. Time will tell how he feels. If he carries on, he wants to be a protagonist and not in the shadows. I also think he’s still looking good and he could play on for another two years, but he needs to have that fire burning inside him which spurs you on.It’s up to him to decide by himself if he wants to continue or not.”
This summer at the World Cup in Russia, the Italian national team will not be there to compete but despite the disappointment of that, this World Cup can still be a very enjoyable one. With many teams in contention, this looks set to be one of the most competitive World Cup’s we have seen for the past few years, and realistically there are at least half a dozen teams who have a genuine chance of winning.
The top of the betting is full of big international teams, with Brazil, Germany and France leading the way. Behind those the likes of Spain, Argentina and Belgium will all head to Russia with a realistic chance of going all the way, and that is without mentioning the outsiders who are capable of causing an upset like England and Portugal.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed his desire to remain at Stamford Bridge for the remainder of his existing contract. The Italian’s future has been a topic of speculation in recent weeks with reports emerging that he could get the sack at the end of the campaign.
Speaking ahead of the Watford game, Conte stressed that there is no rift between him and the club’s hierarchy whilst insisting that he would like to honour the remainder of his contract which expires in 18 months’ time, he said: “From the start of this season there have been a lot of speculation and rumours around me. The only thing I can tell you now is I still have 18 months of contract with Chelsea. My intention, my will, is to respect the contract.
Italy is in turmoil after failing to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1958 and now the blame game has started. The Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio has revealed that he has not slept since their elimination at the hands of Sweden and he blamed the debacle squarely on the shoulders of head coach Gian Piero Ventura.
Of course Ventura was the first victim of their exit when was sacked from the job two days after the game. Tavecchio was expected to follow suit but he has remained resolute and is staying in the role as things stand and he didn’t hold back when talking about that fateful night.
The dust has barely settled on the Italian national team’s disastrous World Cup campaign and the obituaries are still being written. But there is no doubt that Gian Piero Ventura’s spell in charge of the Azzurri will be long remembered as one of the darkest moments in Italian football history.
Not since 1958 had the Azzurri failed to qualify for the sport’s elite competition and, to put things in context, that team was still recovering from the 1949 Superga air disaster involving Torino FC (who had just won four-straight league titles) that robbed them of 10 first-team players. Such was the impact at the time that, as well as missing out in 1958, they also failed to advance beyond the first round of the 1950, 1954, and 1962 World Cup Finals and did not take part in the first edition of the European Championships in 1960. However, there were no such mitigating circumstances for the 2017 debacle.
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has claimed that he thought about quitting the Italian champions after suffering a defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League final last season.
This was the second defeat in a final for Allegri, as his team had previously lost to Barcelona two years ago. As a result, he failed in the biggest objective of being able to win the Champions League with the Italian outfit for the first time in more than two decades. Juventus have not been crowned as the European Champions since the 1995-96 season.
After having dominated Italian football over the last few years with five consecutive titles, the club managed to once again lift the Italian Serie A with a four point advantage over Roma. Yet, Allegri was unable to celebrate this title after watching his team fail at the final hurdle once again. The loss against Barcelona was rather acceptable considering that it was against one of the best teams in history, but Juventus were hoping for a much better outcome against Real Madrid.
Italy have been given a major boost with regard to the World Cup 2018 and the future tournaments after manager Giampiero Ventura has signed a new contract with the national team.
He will now be in charge of the team until 2020 when the European Championship is held. The 69-year-old came as the new national team coach for Italy when Antonio Conte decided to step down in the summer of 2016. Since taking over, he has been able to keep Italy on the fringes of qualification to the World Cup 2018. Even though Italy may be second in the World Cup qualifiers and the position may result in a possible play-offs for the team, it is widely known to being placed in the group -containing former world champions Spain.
The results shown by Italy so far in the qualification campaign are a major sign that the team will face no issues with regard to reaching Russia. The team has managed to pick up five victories and a stalemate in the six matches. They trail Spain only on goal difference. The longevity of a manager is extremely important for stability in the national team.
Manchester United have been linked with a move for Torino striker Andrea Belotti for a while now.
However, the deal is going more unlikely as the days go by. The rated talent of the player and his young age of 23 is emboldening the Serie A outfit to ask for nothing less than £85 million. With the numerous top sides keen on signing him the huge fees are a turn off.
United are also having a hard time convincing Real Madrid to lower their asking price for striker Alvaro Morata whom they have agreed personal terms with. Morata is believed to be excited at the deal that would make him the star striker, with wingers readied to help him bang goals.
United’s bid of £52 million was turned down as Madrid want over £20 million more. Real are willing to sanction the deal but United would need to cough out more cash for the young and proven striker.
Same United have been linked with TiemoueBakayoko of Monaco but they would have to fight off competition from Chelsea. His teammate Fabinho is another attraction but the finer details would determine if United would sign them this summer.