Straight from the dark heart of Italy
The floodlights were switched off at the Olympic Stadium in Turin soon after the final whistle on Saturday evening, and the lights have gone out on Juventus' title bid as well.
Serie Aaaaargh! had taken up the offer of a trip into the depths of misty Piedmont to see if the league’s in-form side could finally break a 42-year-old no-winning streak in Turin – and to investigate whether Juve really are on the slide.
Well, the evening out was well worth it for the sight of the few hundred Sardinians dancing in the stands at the final whistle. And yes, the signs are all there that Juve are finished as a force this season.
Agony and ecstasy...
As they say in football parlance the world over, Claudio Ranieri has lost the dressing room.
seen Alessandro Del Piero publically humiliate his coach when
substituted at Udinese last weekend, this time it was the whole team
who gave the king of the flops the thumbs down.
shambled around in disarray while Gigi Buffon brought to mind one of
the superheroes in the trailer for the upcoming blockbuster Watchmen... sadly it was the superhero who gives up on dear old planet earth.
once the one-time leading goalkeeper in the world wore a Superman
T-shirt, now he has taken to wearing some sort of headscarf to hide his
The midfield has lost its character and it may never return after Cristiano Zanetti suffered his umpteenth injury setback.
Sissoko can run and head the ball but he can’t pass and can’t tackle –
two prerequisites for a central midfielder – and although, like
Sissoko, Pavel Nedved scored against Cagliari, the Czech is looking as
out-of-date as the shaggy haircut he continues to sport.
Del Piero, still in those natty tights, continues to give his all for
The Cause or His Cause, depending on how you look at it, Amauri is a
shadow of the marauding forward from the first half of the season.
Dithering over whether he should make himself available for selection for Italy when his Italian passport finally arrives, or just remain a common Brazilian, he wanders the pitch dazed and confused.
Blood is thicker than water as they say, and Juventus had no qualms blocking Dunga’s efforts to call the lanky frontman up for the upcoming friendly with Italy after Luis Fabiano dropped out.
The club’s hierarchy left the player with egg on his face, and no doubt made the decision of where his future allegiances lie that much easier.
Amauri: A shadow of his pre-Christmas self
So it’s cloak and dagger time all-round for the Old Lady and if Ranieri cannot plot a course past Chelsea in the Champions League, the whispers suggest that Ciro Ferrara will be installed as ‘the puppet’ in charge for the remainder of the campaign.
After that, Rafael Benitez anyone?
Some latest transfer news as the clock ticks down on Monday: AS Roma have signed Marco Motta from Udinese to replace Christian Panucci who will remain in the capital in splendid isolation after turning down a move to Hull City.
All the sports papers are expecting Inter flop Ricardo Quaresma to join Tottenham with Jermaine Jenas moving in the opposite direction, despite Jose Mourinho claiming it’s all fantasy football – something is side haven’t been too familiar with lately.
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