Serie A and Italian football has suffered immensely over the last couple of decades. Not only have the best of the world’s talent in the sport flocked to Spain and England to play in La Liga and the Premier League respectively, the giants of the Italian league have been crippled, weakening Serie A and also these team’s chances of European success in the Champions League.
There are, however, signs that Italian football is recovering and could be set for a big comeback, maybe not quite as high as the mid-90s when players such as Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Hernan Crespo all played in Italy, but it’s a step in the right direction when it comes to reducing the gap between themselves and the top leagues in Europe.
Italy showed signs of how far football was progressing again in the country at Euro 2016. Under manager Antonio Conte, the nation reached the quarter-final of the competition in France. They beat reigning champions Spain in the last 16 and were only eliminated from the competition on penalties by Germany after drawing with the world champions after 120 minutes.
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci was regarded as one of the best players in the competition, and this prompted a number of clubs to enquire about his services last summer. The Italian chose to turn down those approaches and instead remain with Juventus.
What is even more encouraging for Serie A is that more big name players appear to be joining the league. Juve have one of the most in form strikers on the planet in Argentina international Gonzalo Higuain. Italy has a tradition of securing some of the finest exports from the South American country including Roberto Ayala, Gabriel Batistuta, Esteban Cambiasso, Hernan Crespo and one of the greatest players to ever live in Diego Maradona who featured for Napoli for seven years between 1984 and 1991
Juve’s Higuain moved to Napoli from Real Madrid in 2013. The Argentine scored 91 goals for the club in three seasons before Juventus made the move for the player last summer. The signing of Higuaín not only strengthens the Turin based club’s grip on the Serie A title, where they are 1/6 in the Bet365 Serie A betting but it also gives them a better of chance of being successful in the Champions League this season.
In the other half of Turin, Torino raised eyebrows in the world of football when they were successful in securing the services of English goalkeeper Joe Hart on a loan spell earlier in the campaign. A large number of high profile clubs across Europe were in the hunt for the England number one ‘keeper, however, Hart chose the move to Turin to play for the Serie A club.
If the trend continues and high profile names such as Higuain and Hart continue to join Serie A, the quality of football will improve in the league. It will also help the leading clubs in Italy have a better chance of being successful in the Champions League, a competition no Italian side has won since 2010.