Italian Football: An Inevitable Decline

Hello, everyone! My name is Bailey Morton; and if you know me well, my name is practically synonymous with “AC Milan Fanatic”. I am an avid fan of football/soccer(whatever you wish to call it),mainly of the european sort, and i truly enjoying observing the many different styles of football that are utilized in the 5 major leagues: Bundesliga, Serie A, EPL, Ligue 1, and La Liga. Football is a fantastic game that allows people of all different cultures to share a similar passion and connect on an emotional level. I hope to take you all on a journey throughout the exciting world of European Football! Cheers!

Italian football is rapidly spiraling into an endless pit of decline.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to most that top flight Italian football is no longer grabbing the headlines like it used to. And it truly is a shame that a league that has fostered the growth of a multitude of prodigious players is now slumping in terms of viewers and quality. Don’t get me wrong, it is still one of the most popular leagues, globally, but its popularity is noticeably fading.

If we look at the statistics from the 2012-2013 season, the Premier league brought home 4.7 billion views and more TV views than all the other top leagues combined. Amassing almost 70% of the Earth’s population, it truly dominated the competition. The Bundesliga and La Liga both brought in more views than Serie A, and even the Ligue 1 is appearing to be a growing threat. It is important to note that for many American viewers, myself included, that beIN sports network, an Arabian-based company, bought out the rights to Serie A, making it a burden to watch any games. I was forced to stream multiple games filled with poor quality and commentators with non-native tongues; it was an unenjoyable experience.

The loss of superstar players, like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, due to enticing contracts and exciting leagues, is leading to a lack of quality in Serie A.

The loss of superstar players, like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, due to enticing contracts and exciting leagues, is leading to a lack of quality in Serie A.

Moving along from the technological aspects, let’s shift our attention to the physical world. In modern football, loyalty is dead. As bold of a presumption it is, the phenomenon is growing with players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edison Cavani, and Ezequiel Lavezzi leaving for PSG for lucrative deals ranging from $20-50 million; it is evident that fortune seems to be the most attractive prospect. And rich oil tycoons have bought out clubs such as PSG and Man City and are going on shopping sprees to build the top teams.  Also, teams such as Inter Milan and Roman sank to mediocracy, with Inter Milan having dominated the domestic league and the UEFA Champion’s League and Roma having been consistent winners of the Italian Cup and fierce UEFA Champion’s League competitors. These teams had players who blossomed in Serie A, dominating the teams inhabiting at the bottom of the table, and blowing them out, score-wise, possession-wise, etc. To add, AC Milan(7-time winner of the European Cup), Inter Milan(3-time winner of the European Cup), Roma and Napoli were teams that posed serious threats in UEFA Champions League play, proving to be tough tests to super powers such as Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich. However, these squads have been depleted of their star players, and in the rebuilding phases. Not to be biased, but AC Milan is the prime example.

The 2010-2011 season looked to show signs of a new, star-studded, revitalized Milan squad that was ready to contend at all levels. They won their domestic league, and had good results in both the Italian Cup and the UEFA Champions’s League. The season after, the season looked promising, as they again competed well in domestic cup and european cup competitions, and finished second in the league. But, the form of some players was questionable, and the owner, Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, was under-fire for corruption and faced other issues, and things looked bleak for Milan. At the end of the season the old-guard of veterans such as Seedorf, Nesta, Pirlo, Gattuso, Zambrotta, and stars such as Thiago Silva and Ibrahimovic were let go, and Milan crumbled. However they were able to finish third in their domestic league in the 2012-2013 season, appearing to be a squad filled with new fresh players; a new Milan. But this season has been disastrous: the manager, Allegri, was fired and they were barraged by a multitude of losses to cut-rate teams, and they crashed out of the european and italian cups, looking nothing like the former champions they were.

Getting back the general outlook, Italian football is slowing moving and lacks creative players who make daring plays. The EPL(premier league), La Liga, Ligue 1, and Bundesliga all offer exciting matches with the world’s top players wowing crowds, consistently. The italian style focuses on heavy defending and slow build-up, leading up to average, “safe” goals. Who wants to see that? The world wants to be thrilled, it wants excitement. And this is something that needs to change in Italian football.

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