Italian teams produced some fine football over the weekend, with 35 goals in the league. The match between Genoa and Bologna was the highlight of the round, producing a seven goal thriller.
Italian managers threw caution to the wind as there was some brilliant flowing football on display in most of the games played in Round 26. Genoa’s game at the Marassi was the proverbial humdinger with the tide of the match swaying one way and the other. Maicon’s goal against Udinese showcased that Inter are themselves capable of playing entertaining football on occasion, while Fabrizio Miccoli scored an absolute blinder to lead Palermo to victory over Juventus in Turin. Napoli furthered their claim as ‘comeback kings’ of the league, engagingly coming from behind to draw with Roma.
For a long time Italian teams have been criticized for playing some insipid football. Italy’s failures on the European stage in particular, have been attributed to this approach to the game. But the football seen over the weekend confirms that Italians are as capable of playing beautiful football as their Spanish cousins. La Liga has always been known as the most technical league in Europe. Since last summer when the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Spain this position has only been reaffirmed in stone. In fact the departures of Kaka and Ibrahimovic were regarded as catastrophic for the image of Serie A and yet this has proved to be one of the most enthralling seasons in recent memory.
Contrary to popular belief Italians have never been only about the Catenaccio. Italy is after all the country which introduced the world to the fantista. Magicians like Marco Van Basten, Roberto Baggio and Rui Costa have been a part of Italy’s glorious attacking football culture. Even now the league boasts some of the best playmakers in Europe. Ronaldinho is obviously the player who first comes to mind when thinking of this role. Wesley Sneijder and Diego had already established their names in Spain and Germany before joining Inter and Juventus respectively last summer. Roma’s Julio Baptista is another player who is capable of brilliance. Marek Hamsik is also destined for greatness with his gifted vision and sight.
He may be sidelined from the Sampdoria squad at the moment, but Antonio Cassano’s ingenuity is undeniable, and it would take a brave man to bet against him making an inspirational return. Stevan Jovetic has already exhibited his enormous potential for Fiorentina and will only get better with age. Palermo’s Javier Pastore is another player who will surely light up playing fields regularly in the future. The fantistas are not the only stars of Serie A as recent European games have suggested that the gap between Italian clubs and the English, Spanish ones is fast bridging itself once again. Diego Milito is one of the most lethal strikers in world football and unfortunately one of the most under-rated as well. It wouldn’t hurt the Italians to adopt this rather free form of football that we saw at the weekend in Europe at times, as they are certainly capable of producing a stellar attacking style.