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.
Antonio Conte intends to stay put with ChelseaStandard
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 Boss Giampiero Ventura Signs New Contract until 2020Standard
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. Continue reading
UNITED DEAL FOR BELOTTI MORE UNLIKELYStandard
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. Continue reading
Gian Piero Ventura is excited about Italy’s youngstersStandard
The Italian national football team became the champions of the world back in 2006 when Italy defeated France in the finals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Fabio Cannavaro was the captain of the Italian squad and during that period of time, he was 32 years old while the rest of his teammates had an average age of 28.
This age mark shows that during 2006 edition of the FIFA World Cup, even though Italy was the nation that came out on top and won it, they had a fairly elevated squad with no real youngster that could add explosiveness and energy into the team.
Gian Piero Ventura is the current coach of the Italian national side and he is excited to be in charge of a national team that is so young and different from the team that won the 2006 World Cup. Continue reading
Massimiliano Allegri Wants Historic Sixth League Title for JuventusStandard
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri claims that a sixth consecutive league title would be historic for the club.
Juventus have been the dominant force in the Italian football landscape over the last seven years. Former manager Antonio Conte helped them come back from a struggling position into a position where they could win three consecutive league titles. Allegri has carried on from this position and has helped them win the title in the last two seasons. This season, however, is the most challenging with Juventus facing intense competition from Roma for the top spot. If Juventus win the title in this 2016-17 season, they would also become the first team in Italy to win the league title in six consecutive seasons.
There is a high possibility of Juventus winning the title, as they have opened up a four-point advantage with a game in hand over Roma. The second placed outfit suffered a 3-2 loss against Sampdoria during the weekend, and it allowed Juventus to stretch stage advantage further.
Even though there has been the suggestion of Juventus not having proper competition, it can be clearly dismissed once the team manages to win six league titles in consecutive fashion unlike any other team in the history of Italian football. Juventus are dominating the league even after selling midfielder Paul Pogba to Manchester United in the summer.
“The players won and the credit goes to them. There are no secrets, it’s about having good players and a good club. The Coach just has to do as little damage as possible. A sixth Scudetto? It would be legendary for the club, no-one has ever managed to do it. But we have Roma and Napoli behind us, and we face Inter on Sunday. It will be an important game,” said the manager after being crowned as the best coach during the recentGran Gala del Calcio.
Ventura Points Blame atMauro Icardi for Inter ProblemsStandard
Inter Milan have been going through a lot of problems off the field. It has certainly not helped new manager Frank de Boer.
The results since the former Ajax manager came to the club have been so bad that his future is already under speculation even before Christmas. Inter Milan were expected to challenge for the top three places, which would have been enough to at least get into the Champions League. The club, though, finds itself in the 11th place after having taken a similar number of points from the opening eight matches. It is one of the worst possible starts to a league campaign.
One of the few bright moments has been the form of striker Mauro Icardi. The 23-year-old has been in sensational form, but he has been a major factor in the off the field issues. There is no doubt that off the field issues have played a role in the club’s poor form. Italy manager Giampiero Ventura thinks that most of the problems have been caused by Mauro Icardi and no other. At just 23, he is clearly one of the best strikers in world football. In his recent autobiography, he criticised a core section of the Inter support and it has not gone well with the fans.
Italy could be the real darkhorsesStandard
Italy will travel to Euro 2016 this summer among the darkhorses to go all the way, and although it is a position that belies the Azzurri’s rich tradition of being a dominant force on the international stage, it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Antonio Conte and his team.
The former Juventus manager, who is poised to step down at the end of the tournament to take over the reins at Chelsea, will view the upcoming European Championship as a great opportunity to prove that Italian football is on the rise once again following a decade in which England, Spain and Germany have led the way in terms of domestic league profile, spending power and success in European competitions. Conte is likely to opt for a combination of youth and experience at Euro 2016, although the Italian FA’s decision to follow Germany’s lead in placing considerable investment into youth systems across the country will reap considerable dividends for the future of Italian football at domestic and international level.
Although it will be down to a new manager to guide future generations of star players who pull on the famous Azzurri shirt, Conte will hope to bow out from international management with his head held high following a strong campaign that not only sets himself up well for the challenges that lay ahead in the Premier League, but also puts Italy back on the map following the hugely disappointing 2014 World Cup campaign which ended at the group stage following defeats against Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Italy have earned a staunch reputation for being one of the most difficult sides on the international stage to break down, with the defensive resilience and willingness to put bodies on the line for the cause a hallmark of what Italy have been all about over the years. This quality will certainly have to come to the fore after the draw was rather unkind to Conte, putting Italy in a potential “group of death” alongside Belgium, Ireland and Sweden.
It may explain why Bookies.com have installed Italy among the darkhorses for Euro 2016 rather than being one of the strong favourites, and with expectancy levels being lower than in previous years, it may allow the players to express themselves more without the pressure to succeed weighing on their shoulders. Lorenzo Insigne and Stephan El Shaarawy are two players in particular who have the ability and skill to make a real impact that Italy need in the final third, and if they are allowed to play with no fear, then both of Conte’s young stars could make a real name for themselves.
Writing off one of just three teams who came through their qualifying campaign without losing a single game (England and Austria being the others) would be rather unwise, particularly given Italy’s ability to deliver big performances during major tournaments. However, Conte will be under no illusions as to the difficult nature of the group that lies ahead for his team, particularly with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eden Hazard and Shane Long standing out as real threats to Italy’s chances of progressing from Group E. Using the disappointment of 2014 may be the motivation that Italy need to not only avoid making the same mistakes, but also come back even stronger and provide the foundations for future generations to take the national team forward.
This summer may prove to be the final European Championship swansong for Gianluigi Buffon who has been a wonderful servant for the Azzurri over the years. Very few would begrudge the 38-year-old of the opportunity to go all the way at Euro 2016 – an achievement which may present good value through a Paddy Power free bets offer that is covered on Bookies.com’s review – with Buffon likely to play a key role in France. He could be part of an all-Juventus rearguard if Conte stays true to his preference for three centre-backs, with Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli all in contention to start in their opening fixture against Belgium. They form the defensive framework which epitomises the hard work and organisation qualities that Italy must maintain throughout Euro 2016 if they are to have a chance of reaching the latter stages.
The big question marks that hangs over Italy is whether the vast experience and nous at the back can be match by the required flair and combative qualities further upfield, with Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti likely to be hugely missed at the heart of midfield. Antonio Candreva and El Shaarawy certainly bring a touch of flair and creativity, but although Conte will be pleased at the recent form of Insigne, his other options upfront (Eder, Pelle and Zaza) have endured limited time on the pitch this season.
Some would argue that Italy have lacked firepower upfront since the days of Roberto Baggio, Filippo Inzaghi and Christian Vieri, and although the likes of Domenico Berrardi and Sebastian Giovinco have been mentioned as players who could make a late push for a place in Conte’s 23-man squad, the Azzurri could go into Euro 2016 without a proven goal-scoring striker. It may come down to organisation, determination and discipline that are hallmarks of any Conte team to carry Italy forward this summer, and if the more advanced players can find a spark to compliment a rock-steady defence, then there is every chance that Italy could make a bigger impact than some may expect.
Frank Lampard says that Antonio Conte is not going to tolerate with playersStandard
Frank Lampard says that Antonio Conte is not going to tolerate with players not in line with his philosophy when he comes to take charge of Chelsea in the summer.
Lampard expects those players to be sold by the Italian without second thoughts.Conte will come to the club after his role with the Italian national ends after the Euro 2016. Lampard admitted that the club was in a state of transition when Jose Mourinho arrived almost three years ago. The arrival of the Portuguese was expected to make the club a dominant force for the next decade.
This was not the case after Mourinho found themselves once again looking for a new job inside three years. The club also has failed to qualify for the Champions League next season. Many now feel that the club has gone backwards. Lampard felt that Chelsea were in a promising position with the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, and Kevin De Bruyne were all young and starting to dominate the team. Now, those young players have either been sold or they are suffering from a catastrophic dip in form. Lampard says that Conte now has a big job on his hands to rebuild Chelsea from the bottom up. Continue reading
Paolo Di Canio backs Antonio ConteStandard
West Ham legend Paolo Di Canio has given his backing to Antonio Conte, who is widely expected to take charge of Chelsea in the summer.
The 46-year-old has only experienced Italian football up until now in his managerial career. He is currently in charge of the Italian national team. This job was secured on the back of his impressive spell with Juventus. However, Conte recently confirmed that he was stepping down from his role as the national team boss after the Euro 2016. He took charge of Italy only after the World Cup 2014 from Cesare Prandelli.
Many would have expected him to carry on until the 2018 World Cup and this decision comes as a major surprise. However, he has never looked comfortable with national team management since there is no day-to-day involvement. Chelsea have had a revolving door of managers, but there seems to be a change in the attitude of the club in recent times. The club parted company with José Mourinho midway through the 2015-16 season only because results were extremely poor and the club found itself in the middle of a relegation battle. Di Canio revealed that he spoke in length about English football with Conte only two months ago, but the discussion never featured Chelsea according to the West Ham legend. Continue reading