Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Ciro Ferrara has been comparing himself to Rocky of late and he certainly looks more like a plucky contender than an undisputed champion.
NEWS, Tue Jan 12: Ferrara: I'm a fighter, like Rocky
He may have taken an eight-count in recent days but has managed to stay on his feet (if still on the ropes) for the time being at least, thanks to a win over Napoli in the Italian Cup.
NEWS, Wed Jan 13: Del Piero double eases Juve pain
In truth, the 3-0 scoreline flattered the home side, who having scored an early goal could count themselves fortunate that the visitors fielded a team packed with those who preferred street soccer to actually trying to find the back of the net.
The way the rocky horror picture show is going, any win is welcomed although the natives were as restless as ever.
The plastic seats may not have been melted this time out, but there were the first hot blasts of discontent directed towards the lonesome figure in the technical area.
By the end of the game they were chanting “Rocky Balboa... Rocky Balboa...” which for many would be an insult in itself.
There are signs, however, that Ciro is toughing up.
Having obviously had enough of being a punchbag, he came out swinging when asked where the team could go from here.
Ignoring the fact that finances are a little tight - what with so much investment being ploughed into what will hopefully be a revenue-injecting new stadium - and the fact that the coffers are €50 million or so lighter following the signings of Diego and Felipe Melo, the coach got all punch-drunk on calling for new signings.
NEWS, Thu Jan 14: Ferrara calls for reinforcements
The team does need beefing up.
Considering the number of injuries the squad has had, evidently Rocky hasn't so much been chasing chickens as crucifying black cats.
The total injury count is now north of 40 – granted, David Trezeguet has hogged most of the ailments to himself, but now vying for room on the treatment table are Christian Poulsen (who has a compound fracture) and Juan Martin Caceres (out for a fortnight with a relatively benign thigh strain).
NEWS, Mon Jan 11: Injured Poulsen deepens Juventus misery
Out in the January marketplace reinforcements are thin on the ground, leaving Roberto Bettega and Alessio Secco scratching in the snow for succour.
Suddenly, Hernan Crespo, Davide Lanzafame and Cristian Ledesma are all deemed worthy of wearing the famous shirt.
In truth, the first is well past it, the second had previously been set adrift by the club and the last has not played all season.
None of these names have gone down well with the fans – and maybe that is why Guus Hiddink has been so reluctant to completely commit himself, despite reportedly being treated by the club hierarchy to a mouth-watering dinner with all the trimmings on Monday.
Maybe it's the reported €5 million salary the Dutchman would like paid into his bank account that is holding the Old Lady back from finally inflicting the knockout blow.
Or maybe they're watching events in Liverpool.
In the meantime, our “Juve Rocky” will have to drag himself off the stool again.
He may yet go the distance, but the odds are stacked against him ever becoming the champ.
NEWS, Tue Jan 12: Ferrara: I'm a fighter, like RockyNEWS, Wed Jan 13: Del Piero double eases Juve pain NEWS, Thu Jan 14: Ferrara calls for reinforcements BLOG, Mon Jan 11: The bonfire of Juventus vanitiesNEWS, Mon Jan 11: Injured Poulsen deepens Juventus misery
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A slightly different point Signor Rossi but...
In the Guardian newspaper it was reported Mancini is encouraging Manchester City players to drink red wine and eat pizza, among other things, before matches.
Is this typical of Serie A's Italian coaches? Or is Mancini a rogue manager with a unique take on players dietary requirements?
I'm a fighter, like Rocky to ;-)
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