Italians are accustomed at creating works of arts in times of chaos. Lest we forget that the marvels and inventions of the Renaissance took place during extraordinary upheaval among the warring Italian city-states.
Call it a personality trait or character quirk. Whatever it is, Italians thrive under such conditions. I’m sure they would be at a loss to explain this curious fact of history themselves.
The Italian soccer scandal was supposed to destroy Italian soccer. Commentators and observers who have been calling for the demise of Italian soccer for years saw their moment to increase their charges. This was the moment of truth. How was Serie A possibly going to overcome such an unbecoming mess? With one of the world’s greatest soccer clubs relegated to Serie B it was surely too much for Serie A to withstand, right?
Well, not exactly. True, attendance has dipped in Italy. The numbers are especially jarring next to England and Spain. Even Germany has now surpassed soccer-obsessed Italy. The next logical step was for the quality of play to drop.
This is where things become typically Italian. Machiavellian in its cunning sophistication and as artistic as a Michelangelo sculpture, Italian soccer is both admired and loathed by fans.
Anyone watching the domestic league will have noticed the quality of soccer in Serie A is simply outstanding. The games have been open and exciting. If things keep going at this pace, Serie A will have a higher goals per game ratio than the Premiership or La Liga for yet another year.
This may come as a surprise to many, but the ‘opening up’ of Italian soccer started way back in 1994. Old habits die hard and the old-fashioned defensive style mastered by Italy is slowly being abandoned, if not reduced. The revolution will continue as Roberto Donadoni recently stated after he took over for Marcello Lippi.
One of the greatest soccer matches I ever saw was the Milan derby between Internazionale and AC Milan. The score ended 4-3 for Inter as they held back a ruthless and menacing Milan attack. That same weekend, not to be outdone, Palermo defeated Fiorentina 3-2 in a game of high tempo and frenetic paces matched only in England. This weekend, Roma upset Milan 2-1 in yet another exciting match.
These are just a few games that should excite and entice any soccer fan.
If the Italian soccer scandal was supposed to jade an already cynical Italian public any deeper, it sure has a strange way of showing it.
It’s hard to tell what the ramifications will be from all this. After all, they are not the only ones to face corruption. France, England, Spain, Germany, and South America (where the bulk of great teams and players are born, groomed, work, and play) have all faced similar unfortunate happenings at different points in different variations throughout soccer history. The difference is that Italy took the extraordinary step in demoting one of its most cherished soccer clubs and penalizing several other clubs.
In terms of concentration and influence, the Renaissance produced men of genius unparalleled in modern Europe. To find anything remotely close to that period, one would have to go back to Ancient Greece. In both cases, as it were, war kept those societies unstable.
As Serie A contends with a corruption scandal, ironically, the league is producing scintillating soccer. The sneering naysayers will have to wait a little longer for the demise of Serie A.Powered by Sidelines