Category Archives: Italian Serie A

Luciano Spalletti: Serie A coach wants Ivan Perisic to remain at Inter

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Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti has revealed his desire to keep Ivan Perisic for his team in the upcoming season.

Spalletti, whose Inter squad defeated English champions Chelsea by 2-1 in a friendly during the weekend, “strongly opposed” the prospect of Perisic leaving the club in the current summer transfer window.

Throughout the summer, Perisic, who scored 18 goals in 70 Serie A games since joining from German side Wolfsburg for reported £14.5m in August 2015, has been strongly linked with a transfer to Premier League club Manchester United.

However, despite Jose Mourinho’s club having lined up a deal that could amount to £48m for the player, club officials at Inter had denied the completion such rumours, and, intent on keeping the player had brought him along the squad embarking on their pre-season tours.

Perisic then started the friendly against Chelsea and scored the winning goal in the second half; his team had took the lead in first-half injury time through Stevan Jovetic’s penalty, with Perisic doubling their advantage.

“There has been no more significant contact in the last few weeks,” Spalletti said before the game against Chelsea. “As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing more to say.”

“The more days that go by, the more difficult it becomes for us to replace him and therefore I would strongly oppose his departure.”

Antonio Cassano joins Verona, but retires and then un-retires

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Former Italy international Antonio Cassano has sensationally “un-retired” from football a few hours after telling his Verona team-mates that he was missing his family too much and wanted to quit the game.

Cassano, 35, who joined Verona only eight days ago and made the decision to leave the club and retire from football early on Tuesday.

However, after Verona have promised that they they will ensure that his family move closer to him, he held a press conference in the afternoon to tell the media that he had reconsidered and was now looking forward to “having a fun season” with his new club.

“This morning I had a moment of weakness,” he said. “A ‘fall’, but then I thought about it again. If I had decided to go through with this gut-feeling it would have been a catastrophic choice and I’ve gone with my gut-feeling too many times in my career.”

“I had a sudden feeling of missing my family and I got too emotional. But now I want to have a fantastic season. I’ve already lost seven kilos and I am fully motivated. Don’t be irritated by all this, in two games’ time we will forget all about this.”

Cassano began his professional career at Bari in 1999 and played for, among others, Roma, Real Madrid, Milan and Internazionale. While considered by many as one of the most talented players of his generation, he missed Italy’s World Cup triumph in 2006 after a poor season with Real.

But since joining last week, the veteran had already played in two friendlies for Verona and impressed in both, before Tuesday’s series of events.

Verona, who won promotion back to the Italian top-flight after a brief season in Serie B, will now hope he can form a productive partnership up front with Giampaolo Pazzini, whom he played with at Sampdoria.

Juventus defender Bonucci to join rivals Milan in shock move

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Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci is set to join the Bianconeri’s fierce Serie A rivals AC Milan in a shock move after 7 years playing alongside the Italian Champions.

The Italian international is currently in advanced talks with the Milanese club and is hopeful of concluding a deal before the weekend.

Although regarded as one of the best defenders in the world and an important part of Juventus’s own BBC trio alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli, Bonucci has not always seen eye to eye with the Juventus manager, Massimiliano Allegri.

According to reports, the pair had been trading insults during a game against Palermo last season, with the defender subsequently being dropped against Porto in the Champions League.

Regardless, Milan could be forced to pay a fee amounting to €40m (£35.2m) for the 30-year-old, who has also won 70 caps for Italy, and would continue an incredible summer of investment by the new Chinese owners.

At the time of this report, Milan have already spent more than £100m on new players, including Andre Silva (from Porto, £33.5m), Ricardo Rodriguez (from Wolfsburg, £13.2m), Hakan Calhanoglu (from Bayer Leverkusen, £22m), Andrea Conti (from Atalanta, £21.1m) and Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal, £15m) among others.

Bonucci, who started his career at Milan’s city rivals Internazionale, has won the Italian top flight with Juventus for six years in a row and claimed the Italian Cup three times in his seven years. He has also reached two Champions League finals during his time in Turin albeit losing both, against Barcelona in 2015 and against Real Madrid last month.

Davide Nicola: Serie A coach fulfils promise and finishes 1,300km bike ride

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Crotone coach Davide Nicola fulfilled his promise to his players that he would be cycling the entire 1,300km distance to his hometown in Turin if the team escaped the drop to Serie B.

Despite a 2-1 win at Chievo — the team’s first-ever Serie A away win — two months ago, Crotone had remained poised for relegation from Serie A to Italy’s second division in their Italian top-flight debut.

Nicola made the promise at the time that he would complete the challenge should his players be able to secure survival for the Serie A survivors.

And the promise seems to have the intended effect; with just 14 points from 29 games, they managed to find their form to win six of their last nine matches and finished on 34 points, two points above the relegation zone.

Despite their remarkable late run, the side began the final day of the season in the bottom three, but thanks to a surprise 3-1 win over Lazio and Empoli’s defeat by Palermo Crotone survived their maiden top-flight campaign.

The coach was greeted by about 300 people after he completed his journey from Crotone, in the southern Italian region of Calabria, to Turin after nine days of of cycling from the southern Italian region of Calabria.

“Am I tired? I still do not feel any particular pain,” he told reporters after his long trek. “From tomorrow I will have a better idea and maybe I will feel a bit tired.”

“What matters most to me is that my goal has been achieved. I kept the promise and, with the help of many people, we have also attracted the attention of many people to the question of safety on the roads. Here in Turin I was greeted with great enthusiasm: I am very excited.”

Nikola himself also has individual motivations about road safety stemming back from when his 14-year-old son, Alessandro, was killed when a bus hit the back wheel of his bicycle close to his home, in July 2014.