Sebastian Frey began a war of words when he shared his feelings towards Juve during his time at Parma: “There were a few decisions against us that were so glaring that one had to ask ‘how is that possible?’ No wonder Calciopoli came along.” How rich coming from a Fiorentina player. Is it a case of amnesia, or has Frey momentarily forgotten that il Viola were deducted 15 points before the start of the 2006/07 season? This was the toughest penalty imposed, barring Juventus. Perhaps he believes the Della Valle brothers were raised by Mother Teresa herself and that Fiorentina, having been thrown out of the Champions League that same year, were above suspicion.
Furthermore, if he felt like that during his days at Parma, then, forgive this thought but, was the Lecce-Parma game not the only match to have been deemed as ‘fixed’ in a bid to save Fiorentina? Parma were never really thought to be cheaters but if Sebastian Frey feels the need to evoke the memory of Calciopoli, then perhaps he needs to go back and read up on what actually happened. Whether Juve deserved it or not, the other Italian sides were not the helpless victims, destroyed and bullied by the evil Old Lady, that they portrayed themselves to be. Many happily chose to ride the wave of deceit and some continue to believe they still do. Perhaps his remarks would have carried more weight had he been playing for a club that had not been directly involved or worst yet, punished. Say a club like… Inter – the ‘innocent’ side that endlessly suffered at the hands of the big bullies. As it was alleged, their personnel were far too busy in their Telecom Italia Mobile offices to be interested in match fixing.
Distasteful mind games have come to be synonymous with matches between these two rivals and scandalous thoughts of cheating will always remain omnipresent. Whether it be the 1982 league title that coined the infamous phrase ‘better second than thieves’, or the repugnant sign Viola fans held up with regards to the 39 Juventini who lost their lives in the Heysel Stadium disaster – tensions will always ride high between these two sides. Despite going so many seasons without a trophy, the very thought of Juve still seems to warrant such heated responses from the opposition, reminding us all that they are still most feared opponents – a return to glory heights will come sooner or later. Regardless of the enmity between these two clubs, Frey should have known better than to remind the Old Lady of her darkest hour. He could learn a thing or two from his club’s sporting director, Pantaleo Corvino, who displayed an immeasurable amount of class as he defended his previous player Felipe Melo from the recent criticism he has suffered. He even went further to suggest that a Bianconeri squad with Melo amongst its ranks could certainly win the title.
Much has been said lately with regards to Felipe Melo and many have blamed fatigue on his second-rate Bianconeri performances. With Momo Sissoko back in the mix, many are even wondering whether a first-team position will continue to be awarded to the man whose error allowed Palermo’s first goal. His mistakes have cost the Old Lady dearly but his contributions have awarded them more. His third goal against Roma will forever be etched in the minds of all Juventinis. But that’s the problem with Melo, his predatory nature and instinct for goal, a habit he picked up during the early part of his career when he played as a striker, lets him down in his current role. What is perhaps considered one of his strongest strengths has turned into his team’s weakness. At times, you can almost see that glint in his eye when he gets the ball and, as if possessed, he will charge forth in search of a goal. If he scores, then the crowd would be set alight but more often than not, the opposition will win back the ball, and when they do, they will exploit the ample space left behind by the hungry Brazilian. With a Juve defence that resembles a house of cards – one blow and it falls apart – Melo needs to learn that his defensive duties are what gets them through and the search for goals can be handled by his Brazilian teammates. In Fiorentina, Melo played in a five-man midfield so when he was besieged by the temptation to score it was welcomed, as one of the others would slot back into his place to defend his abandoned territory. But at Juve, should he run off, the team will inevitably concede a goal.
Felipe Melo’s goal vs. Roma
This is more Ferrara’s problem than it is Melo’s. As a Coach, it’s vital he disciplines the team. Come hell or high water Melo must remain in his position to ensure silly mistakes like the one against Palermo are not repeated and the same goes for other players that seem to enjoy venturing off. If he stays in his place, then players like Diego will have the freedom and security to create chances without looking behind. Now that Claudio Marchisio is injured, a Melo-Sissoko partnership will finally be witnessed and with Mauro Camoranesi likely to fill the last spot beside them, the defence may well have enough help to allow Camo and Diego to create. Unfortunately for Juve, Alberto Gilardino’s two and a half international goals will have armed him with buckets full of confidence. Sit back and enjoy, we are surely in for a great ride.
Juventus Club Focus 2009/10
Great expectations – August 21, 2009
When in Rome – August 28, 2009
The decline and fall of the Roman Empire – September 1, 2009
World Champions – One in, one out, one remembered – September 4, 2009
International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)
Children should be seen, not heard – September 7, 2009
Diego lost to injury in victorious Roman repeat – September 15, 2009
The reserves exposed – September 18, 2009
Transforming the formation – September 23, 2009
The cruel blow of lady injustice – September 25, 2009
Haunted by the ghost of last year’s defence – September 29, 2009
We’re meant to be happy with one point? – October 2, 2009
Is it now time to be negative? – October 6, 2009
Ferrara: public enemy #1 – October 9, 2009
Bad or just misunderstood? – October 13, 2009
Let the bitterness commence – October 16, 2009