Date:Saturday April 3 2010
The latest reports about Roberto Mancini insinuating that a return to Italy is definitely on the cards makes you think about a previously harmless chain of events that perhaps look slightly more pre-meditated to the cynics among us.
In an interview with Italian paper 'La Nazione' the City manager said,
'I'm ready to go back, if and when there will be a possibility,'
'How near I am to a return to Italy I don't know. Football is strange. It was probably right for me to broaden my horizons, but I will return sooner or later.
'As for Juventus, Juve is always Juve. They are going through a difficult period right now, but we are talking about a club with history and prestige.'
Now consider the facts that no more than a few years back, there were no Italian coaches in the Premier League with the best of them plying their trade in a thriving Italian League and enjoying considerable success in the European Cups to boot.
In fact, if you'd have asked Caesar Maldini as a manager or son Paulo Maldini to move to even the most successful of English clubs, they would have probably laughed to themselves before politely declining the offer.
Suddenly however, there has been an influx of Italian imports into Europes most competitive league and not the regular run of the mill either.
In Capello,as England coach, Ancelotti, Trappetoni and Mancini we have undoubtedly their best talent and in Zola one of their best young ones too.
So can it be more than a coincidence that all of these Italian maestros have found their way on these fine shores?
After all, managers and players alike have been using these Isle and the Premier league for years and not just for its financial gain.
The Ronaldos, Anelkas and Robbens of this world came here to make a name for themselves with Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea alike before furthering their careers with the more fashionable Madrids and Barcelonas of this world.
Hundreds of players have chosen to sharpen their teeth and improve their physical fitness in what is in any peoples eyes footballs gladiatorial arena where only the strongest survive.
Players like Patrick Viera, now at Man City trying his hardest to regain his match fitness for the world cup and Pique Barcelona's classy centre-back who toughened himself up at United.
Then there are of course there are those who come just before a world cup to perhaps look at the opposition and get the low down on all their key players from up close and personal.
There is also the small matter of a rapidly waning Italian league in its worst state for many years and in the worst world recession for decades. With the economic crisis showing no signs of getting better any time soon , the already cash strapped Seria A look more likely to be going the way of Argentina's top league than their Northern European cousins.
The quality of the Italian elite must be in its worst state for some considerable time. With the exception of Inter Milan and their mercurial Special One, no Italian club would finish in the top four of the Premier League and there are some that would suggest the likes of AC Milan, Juventus and Roma would struggle to compete with the likes of Fulham and Everton these days(Just ask Bobby Zamora!).
So a plan to drag the sleeping giant into the twenty first century is obviously whats needed although the cynics among us might be thinking it has already been hatched.
The Italian wouldn't have sent Capello, Trapettoni, Ancelotti, Mancini and Zola over on a fact finding mission surely-would they? Could their love for one of the traditional epicentres of football be that strong?
I'm sure the Italian's wouldn't stoop to such dirty tricks in an attempt to be one step ahead at the World Cup this summer and in the long term more importantly one leg back on the wagon in an attempt to put Seria A back on the map.
Of course, it was Zinedine Zidane who resorted to school ground name calling to win the 2006 World Cup against an imperious Italian side who were dominating them until that moment- wasn't it?
After all, its not the winning that counts most of all. Its the respectful way in which it is done that matters isn't it lads?
'Beware of Greeks bearing gifts' goes the saying in reference to the Trojan horse and its murderous band inside. Anyone who has been abroad to Italy might be aware of the phrase 'Beware Italians eyeing up your missus!'.
Perhaps we could change the two to 'Beware of Italians eyeing up your players and football league' as it would certainly seem far more fitting in today's environment- to the cynic that is.
Date:Saturday April 3 2010
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