At this time every year, the traditional festival of San Remo is broadcast throughout Italy. This consists basically of a music contest, held in the Ariston theatre in San Remo, north-west Italy, and is extremely famous in the Peninsula. This year’s version, like those preceding it, has been controversial for a number of reasons, whether it be down to possibly inflammatory songs like Luca Era Gay – Luca Was Gay (now he isn’t apparently?) or due to celebrities earning extortionate amounts of money for just 20 minutes work, like comedian Roberto Benigni. Katy Perry (Left, sporting an Inter dress!) and Burt Bacharach have made appearances, and guests these days also include the Playboy Bunnies. The show is broadcast every night, with the eventual aim of finding a winner of the San Remo festival, the next great thing in Italy’s modern musical history.
The next great thing in Inter’s footballing history, if you believe the reports, is Davide Santon. Last week I was fortunate enough to be at the Milan derby, a game that despite a disappointing result for Milan fans and neutrals alike was a great advert for Italian football, and one broadcast throughout Europe. But it was after the game that we saw a great example of Jose Mourinho showing faith in a chosen player that has gained his trust. We see it on the pitch very often – if a player works hard, and is liked by Mourinho, then he becomes a favourite. But it extends to off the pitch too. At the post match press conference the Portuguese continued his policy of barely speaking to the print media. However this time he brought young full-back Davide Santon with him. After one minute Mourinho said, ok, now I leave you with Davide, ciao! And so the 18-year-old was left to face the media on his own, on a stage, for the first time, and proceeded to continue his professional growth with some very sound, although standard, responses to questions, his answers betraying his visible nervousness.
His Inter side have an unusually early Saturday kick-off (4pm), away to Bologna, in a game that will be a welcome low key affair after their exploits in the San Siro on Sunday. The defeated on that occasion, Milan, have a trickier tie to bounce back as they face a Cagliari side that are currently in 7th place, playing good football, and with four wins in the last five – twice the amount of victories of their hosts come Sunday.
Away from the very top of the league, one of the best battles is for the fourth Champions League place, one that can also still be for third place. Fiorentina and Genoa are the main rivals for this if we assume Milan will bounce back. This weekend it is a tough ask for Genoa, travelling to the Stadio San Paolo to face Napoli, who although are in bad form, will be desperate to restart their season. The Genoese may well fancy themselves to get all three points, but if they do it will be well earned.
In the other half of that battle, Fiorentina should get all three points at home to a Chievo side who, despite having hit some kind of form this season, will surely find it difficult to put the breaks on the form that la Viola have now found. A win for Prandelli’s side may well extend their lead in fourth if Genoa can’t get all three points down south.