MILAN - Relegation-threatened Sampdoria
finished fourth last term but a series of calamities have club
bosses already talking about the prospect of playing in Serie B
with the trip to leaders AC Milan coming at just the wrong time.
The Genoa club wowed Italy by their exploits last season but
this campaign has been miserable from the outset and could be
about to have a very nasty end with the former European Cup
finalists a point above the drop zone with six games remaining.
Almost as soon as they had wrapped up fourth spot last May,
coach Luigi Del Neri quit for the bright lights of Juventus and
they then lost a Champions League qualifier to Werder Bremen.
Top strike duo Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini left in
January for AC and Inter Milan respectively after the former
spectacularly fell out with owner Riccardo Garrone and the
latter was sacrificed for money.
Replacements such as on-loan Manchester United forward
Federico Macheda have flopped and they have slid down the table.
"The Garrone family will move forward with Samp even if we
are relegated to Serie B," Edoardo Garrone, Riccardo's son, told
reporters after attending a training session to galvanise the
"We have no intention of quitting. We've been here in the
beautiful moments and we will be here also in the dark ones. We
are trying to give our utmost."
A suspension to Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic might have
given Samp a chance at the San Siro on Saturday but
of late, Massimiliano Allegri's side have played better without
the Swede, who made a great start to the season but has tired.
Whether Cassano will play against his former side is unclear
with Alexandre Pato and Robinho probably ahead of him in the
pecking order as Milan try to maintain or extend their
three-point lead over Napoli in their quest for a first scudetto
Napoli, last champions with Diego Maradona in the team in
1990, are keeping up the pace against all the odds and
predictions and they host Udinese on Sunday at an
apparently opportune moment.
Udinese were unbeaten in 2011 before a 2-0 reverse at
resurgent Lecce and last Saturday's 2-1 defeat by AS Roma pushed
them out of the fourth Champions League qualifying spot now
occupied by Lazio, who visit Catania on Sunday.
Champions Inter, five points behind Milan in third, travel
to fourth-bottom Parma in need of a lift on Saturday
following their Champions League quarter-final elimination by
Schalke 04 on Wednesday.
Man City set next manager daunting task of winning five trophies in the next five years
Europa League winners in 2015 will qualify for the Champions League the following season
Berlin will stage Champions League final for the first time in 2015
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010