Posts tagged Italy

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Francesco Totti celebrates scoring equaliser with a selfie

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Francesco Totti takes Selfie in front of Roma Ultras (Reuters)

Francesco Totti takes Selfie in front of Roma Ultras (Reuters)

Italian Gladiator Francesco Totti celebrated his equalising brace by taking a selfie with Roma’s Curva Sud in the Derby della Capitale.

After going two goals down after half-an-hour to Stefano Mauri and Felipe Anderson, Totti turned the game around just after the break before smashing home an equaliser after 64 minutes.

The 38-year old will go beside the names of Alessandro Del Piero and Roberto Baggio in the Serie A record books when the veteran retires from football.

“Footballers often get criticised for taking selfies on the pitch,” said Roma follower, Josh Lawless. “Personally, I thought it was excellent. I would have probably done the same thing.

“To score an equaliser against your nemesis, I think Totti has the right to go a little crazy. I loved it.”

The question remains however – Is Totti the coolest footballer ever?

However, Totti is not the first sportsman to take a selfie. Lukas Podolski, on loan at Inter Milan from Arsenal took a selfie with Arsenal fans in the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

The result means Roma remain behind Champions Juventus in second place on goal difference. A won would have taken the Giallorossi above the Turin club.

Totti made his debut for Roma in 1992, having been at the club from the start of his professional career in 1989. The talisman has found the back of the net on 239 occasions in 573 games for Roma.

The Italian has also played 58 games for Azzurri. Totti has 28 honours to his name, including five Italian Footballer of the Year awards.

 

Video via YouTube (FootballHighlights)

The game was perhaps overshadowed by what happened in Paris just a week earlier. Roma manager, Rudi Garcia placed pencils on the chair of every journalist attend the derby, prior to kick-off, as a mark of respect.

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Juventus versus Torino: The oldest derby in Italy

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It may not get as much press as the Derby della Madonnina or Derby della Capitale (Rome versus Lazio), but the Derby della Mole is certainly one of the fiercest.

Granata fans ahead of tie in the Stadio Olimpico di Torino (Creative Commons)

Granata fans ahead of tie in the Stadio Olimpico di Torino (Creative Commons)

The 165th meeting between the two teams is truly a David and Goliath tie. Torino go up against Juventus on Sunday, having not won the Serie A giants in 16 occasions.

So, after all this is the oldest derby is the Serie A. Juventus first played Torino on January 13 1907, Granata’s first competitive match following their foundation the prior year. Also born the same year, was the socio-economic dimension, Torino – represented by proletariat and Juventus who are represented by bourgeoisie.

The proletariat is a term used to describe a class of wage earners, mainly industrial workers, and in this case, working in the car factories in Turin. Proletariat’s tend to earn fairly low wages and football is a way to unleash the passion. On the other hand, bourgeoisie see themselves as middle-class, typically composed of businessmen.

The question from fans around Europe ahead of the game is, “Does a derby stop being one once the rivalry becomes so one-sided that the underdog only has slim-to-no chances of winning?”

There’s no doubt that despite being in the bottom half of the Serie A, Torino will give it their all to earn bragging rights over their inter-city rivals.

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The Derby della Mole is one of the most eagerly anticipated tie in Italy (Creative Commons)

“Like in a derby in any league, two teams from the same city hate each other, both teams want to be the best and some fans take their passion to extreme levels and do stupid things,” said Marco Messina, a Juventus fan living abroad.

“Torino fans feel like they truly run the city since most of the people from Torino support Torino. Whilst Juventus have a more worldwide reach and have most of their fans from other Italian regions.”

For Torino, this is the biggest match in their calendar: “The players want to give something back to the fans. Winning this for them is like winning the Scudetto,” said Messina.

The Bianconeri have been the dominant of the two teams, with Torino’s last win dating back to the 1994-95 season. Torino’s last goal against Juventus dates back to the 2001-02 season, and towards the end of the last season lost Ciro Immobile and Aleesio Cerci.

Juventus President, Andrea Agnelli famously said on Thursday said that: “Torino have not won the derby for more than 15 years.”

If there wasn’t tension before the derby, there certainly is now.

Unfortunately, Italian football is still marred by violence, with both clubs having been previously fined for vandalism and offensive chanting.

“The lack of effective leadership within the Italian Federation leads to this,” said Messina.

An incident that hit the headlines in Italy was one that happened between Inter Milan and AC Milan. Inter fans had smuggled in a moped, torched the vehicle and threw it from the upper deck to fans below. The incident has then been known as “The Holy Vespa.”

Torino have struggled of late and will do well to get any type of result at the Juventus Stadium. The visitors find themselves in 15th, having not found the back of the net in four of their previous five games.

Their counterparts however, are at the summit of the Serie A, having only lost once this season the league under Massimiliano Allegri.

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Dinamo vs Split match abandoned as fans and players boycott tie

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Hajduk Split refused to play Dinamo Zagreb yesterday afternoon in the Eternal Derby, after approximately 50 supporters were blacklisted from the Maksimir Stadium.

Dinamo Zagreb's Bad Blue Boys at Maksimir Stadium. (Creative Commons)

Dinamo Zagreb’s Bad Blue Boys at Maksimir Stadium. (Creative Commons)

Croatian media had reported that out of the 1,000 travelling supporters, 50 of these who made the trip from the Adriatic coast were listed as troublemakers, barring them from entering the stadium. Hajduk players followed suit and refused to play the tie, the biggest in Croatian football every season.

According to Croatia FA rules, the match will be registered as a three-nil win for Dinamo, while Hajduk face a maximum six points deduction and possibly even being thrown out of the division.

Dinamo director Tomislav Svetina told the clubs official website: “We will sue Hajduk to refund us the expenses of the match organisation. Hajduk only makes a mess of Croatian football. This is one of the saddest moments in Croatian football, and this was planned to create a chaos in our football.

“It was Split police who gave us the list of 92 persons who have stadium bans. And as soon as the first of them arrived, he was denied entrance. And than Hajduk asked for the match to be postponed! For what?! Because fans registered as hooligans could not get in!? Hajduk should be severely punished.”

This is not the first scandal to rock Croatian football. Just last week, Croatian supporters twice held up play against Italy in the Euro 2016 qualifier in Milan. Fans hurled flares on to the pitch as the Croatian FA to condemn their behaviour, urging the government to crush hooliganism.

“Although Hajduk Split are lagging further behind their Zagreb-rivals, hardly making the fixtures decisive for titles. The Eternal Derby between Hajduk and Dinamo steals more or less all the attention and focus in Croatia,” Runar Nordvik told RivalTalk.

The return tie in Split, is expected to draw a much bigger crowd as Hajduk always sell out at the Poljud stadium, providing great atmosphere when Dinamo arrive. Which is the opposite of the game in Zagreb as there are often boycotts.

Hajduk Split's Torcida's at Stadion Poljud. (Creative Commons)

Hajduk Split’s Torcida’s at Stadion Poljud. (Creative Commons)

Since 2010, Hajduk have only won the Eternal Derby on one occasion, a 2-0 win in 2013 with Mario Pašalić scoring a brace, meaning Dinamo have dominated of late.

One of the most controversial transfers between the two teams is that of Niko Kranjčar who left Dinamo for Hajduk in 2005, and to this day the Bad Blue Boys (BBB), Dinamo’s ultras are yet to forgive him.

The BBB started up in 1986, alongside many other supporter groups in the former Yugoslavia who came in to the football scene in this decade. Hajduk’s ‘Torcida’ supporters group were the first recognised group in Europe when they came on the scene in the early 1950’s.

Dinamo’s BBB became a major force in the hooligan scene back in the early 1990’s as the infamous game at home to Red Star Belgrade broke out in riots, making BBB also a symbol of Croatian independency.

“The actual game has often been referred to as what made the Balkan Wars break out,” said Nordvik.

At present, the BBB are still a force in Croatian football.

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AC Milan vs Inter Milan: Five players who have played for both sides

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Key game in the Serie A this weekend is the Derby della Madonnina. (Picture courtesy of AC Milan, Creative Commons).

The Derby della Madonnina returns to the Serie A for the first time this season. It’s AC Milan vs Inter Milan and RivalTalk looks at the top five players who have featured for both sides.

1. Andrea Pirlo

Whilst Andrea Pirlo is not known for his time at Inter, the deep-lying playmaker currently playing his trade for Juventus featured 22 times for the Nerazzurri.

The 35-year old claimed that he could have been a “legend” at Inter had Marcello Lippi not been dismissed from the managerial role in October 2000.

“When I see him, I am instantly reminded that, if he stayed on as Inter coach, I’d probably have become a legend there,” Pirlo said in his autobiography.

Marco Tardelli took over the reigns from Lippi and Pirlo was loaned out to Brescia after failing to impress the new coach.

“I won the European U21 Championship. Maybe he [Tardelli] did not recognise me at Inter, the fact that I never played. I suffered and wanted to scream so many times,” said Pirlo.

The Italy veteran then moved to fierce rivals, AC Milan in June 2001, three years after making his debut for Inter. Pirlo came on to become a pivotal player for Milan, lifting two Serie A titles and two Champions Leagues, before moving to Juventus.

Pirlo went on to make 284 appearances for Rossoneri in a decade, after making his €17million switch, which included Dražen Brnčić moving in the opposite direction.

During his time at Milan, Pirlo was nominated for the Ballon d’Or on two occasions, as well as World Player of the Year, in which he finished seventh.

2. Clarence Seedorf

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Clarence Seedorf was influential during his decade in Milan (Creative Commons)

Another Milan favourite, Clarence Seedorf played for rivals Inter Milan before making his move to the Rossoneri.

The now 38-year old, started his career at Ajax, before moving to Italian side Sampdoria, before earning a move to Real Madrid.

From here, Seedorf was almost ever-present, attracting the interest of Inter, who agreed a £21million transfer fee to take the Dutch international to the Serie A club.

Unable to bring any major silverware to Inter, Seedorf moved on to Milan in 2002, in exchange for Francesco Coco, where he would become the key player in Carlo Ancelotti’s 4-3-2-1 formation.

During his time at the San Siro, Seedorf helped Milan to the Coppa Italia in his debut season before winning the Serie A and Champions League, both on two occasions.

3. Hernan Crespo

The Argenine will be known for his two goals in the 2005 Champions League final, which will be known as one of the biggest shocks in European football, as Liverpool battled back from 3-0 down to win on penalties.

“It’s hard to forget such a game, but now I’m proud to have been part of it,” said Crespo, on loan from Chelsea at the time.

Crespo earned his move to Inter after finding the back of the net on 39 occasions in 54 games for Lazio, in a two-year spell. The Argentine only managed a season for Nerazzurri before earning a move to Chelsea, where he was loaned to Milan in 2004.

Despite scoring 20 goals for Chelsea, Crespo was struggling to adapt to English football and was loaned back to Inter in 2006, for two-seasons, before making a permanent move.

4. Ronaldo

‘The Phenomenon’ joined Inter from Barcelona in the summer of 1997, where he scored 25 goals in his debut Serie A season.

The Brazilian moved to Real Madrid after scoring 49 goals in his five year Inter career, where he would then become one of the most feared strikers in the world.

Injuries ravaged the striker during his career, where he only made 127 appearances in five years for Madrid, before moving to Milan in 2007, where he spent a year.

Ronaldo is one of two players who have scored for both sides in the Derby della Madonnina, 1998-99 season for Inter and 2006-07 season for Milan.

5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his time at Milan. (Creative Commons)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his time at Milan. (Creative Commons)

The Swedish striker arrived at Inter in 2006 and won three consecutive Serie A titles before earning a move to Barcelona.

Having written an autobiography, Ibrahimovic had much admiration for Jose Mourinho, whom he worked under during his time at Inter.

“Mourinho would become a guy I was basically willing to die for,” said Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic found the back of the net on 57 occasions in 88 games for Inter before his move to Barcelona, which included Samuel Eto’o moving the opposite direction.

After playing under Pep Guardiola for one season, Ibrahimovic was loaned back to the Serie A, this time it was to Milan, where he would spend the season before making a permanent move to the San Siro.

On November 14, Ibrahimovic scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory against his former club, Inter Milan.

Known for his strength and finishing abilities, the Swedish striker scored 42 goals in 61 appearances for Rossoneri, whilst winning the Serie A in the 2010-11 season.

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