This whole Cuper thing smells like low tide at the pier. It would be one thing if Porky Pig had lined up a class coach who didn't have anything to do this weekend and could hold off picking out window treatments at Crate & Barrel for another week or so. Hell, I would've understood it if he asked Mimmo Di Carlo to return for a one-off and finish what he started. He must want to beat Inter as much as Cuper after the shit that was pulled at the San Siro in January. Or I could've lived with pulling a Chievo and plucking a highly respected former Gialloblu out of the club archives to come in for the final spell. But a youth team coach who has a few weeks experience in Serie B and some stints in Serie C2 and lower with less than favorable results? Come on.
I'm always so hesitant to throw out an actual "cheater". I've often been mighty suspicious and Inter's calls (they got another favorable, potentially scudetto-deciding, call this weekend) give us every reason to be. But how often is it now that Inter has been benefited by various happenings? This is just another. They say where there's smoke there's fire. Well there must be a nuclear explosion behind Internazionale FC +1 this year, because it won't stop billowing.
Of course, looking at this from Parma's perspective, what do they have to gain by bending over for Moratti and going down? Only last year they were participating in the UEFA Cup and they'll surely be looking at a stripped down squad after a mass exodus this summer. They'll inevitably lose a ton of money and it's no walk in the park to get back to Serie A, especially after you lose your best talent. (Last year's clubs are 1st, 8th and 12th.)
My first thought is simply that Porky Pig is a moron and that he has no clue what he's doing. I'm sure a Parma fan or two would agree with me there. Then again, there's the concept of dietrologia which essentially says there is always something behind what you see on the surface...
We've run this route before. I'll just say I wouldn't pack a parka for a seat next Hades in the event that it turns out there's something happening behind the scenes.
Tricky tricky. It appears this didn't come from the FIGC, but actually the local authorities in Catania, which explains the lack of fairness towards Inter. There will be a meeting Thursday to discuss this, because this isn't what the FIGC wanted - even if it makes sense in the cases of Parma-Inter and Roma-Catania. It may be unfair for the visiting teams competing for a scudetto, but if one team wins the championship at the expense of another being relegated, you have the makings of a disaster.
Of course, can we now check the bank account of the Powers That Be in Sicily to see if any Western Unions from Milan came in under the name "MM"? Again, would you put it past him? Not at all. The only thing I think we could put past Moratti is a quality Italian.
We'll see on Thursday.
Now that the stink of discussing Inter has passed, a little bit on what has transpired over the course of these few weeks.
Didn't see it coming. It's as though the sounds of church bells and angels on harps have awoken me from a deep calcio-induced slumber. There was "hope", you could say, but more in the class of "I hope that I passed gas on our first date won't preclude us from having a second" than "Oh hey, she kissed me goodnight, I may actually get a second date with Destinee" (Destinee being the artist from a local pole dancing club, not Destiny, the young, sexy lass Roma is chasing furiously). Not when Inter was up by eleven. Not even a few weeks ago:
There is still a mathematical chance the season isn’t over, but that’s simply numbers.
As you can see, I'm an idiot.
Of course, I strongly doubt I'm the lone man in this boat. Inter was so dominant for so long that even a fall back to earth would've meant being chauffeured on cruise control to the scudetto. The good money, perhaps the only money, was on their victory. Something which may still happen (+1).
If we ever needed another reason to love our fair Giallorossi, this is it. When they were decimated by injuries, others stepped up. When very few believed, they still kept fighting. When the Champions League ended in sorrow, they simply switched fronts. When the symbol of Rome went down, they each brought a little something extra to the equation, outscoring their next three opponents 9-1. And when we thought all was lost, they proved to us it wasn't.
This is not a stable. This isn't Inter or Manchester United, and it's not quite Cinderella. This is not a team which, on paper, should even be in contention with the northern bank accounts. This is the true epitome of a team with a tactical Geppetto pulling the strings on parts of varied qualities and skill. It's just....Roma. A team unlike any other.
Whatever happens, I just hope everyone realizes we watched something special this year, Inter collapse or not. Roma has set its all-time point total (though benefited by four extra games). They became the first Italian team to defeat Real Madrid, the Club of the Century, at the Santiago Bernabeu in the CL knockouts ever. They managed a second straight quarter final run in the continent, only defeated by a team which had stolen their blueprint and used it with more expensive parts. They'll defend their Coppa Italia title at home in two weeks. They took home the Super Cup. And they did much of this without their best player, leader and icon. It may not be the model organization, but they're becoming the model team.
It's going to be a great future, of this I'm convinced. I've always thought Destiny would come calling to bring the wolves home next season, and she still may. But for now it's Tuesday and I have no fingernails left. God help us all.
II) Francesco is saying he thinks Inter will win the scudetto. Mind games, clearly.
And were it any other team, I'd say inevitably fruitless mind games. But this is Inter...it may just work. Hell, I'm not even sure he would need to say it for the overly arrogant squad and its equally pompous coach to believe going in a victory is a formality. [Insert late game penalty joke here.]
III) I personally believe this list is a bunch of horseshit, but we'll run with it. The Don has supposedly drawn up a 29 man squad for the Euros, and on it are a few Giallorossi. A couple surprising inclusions as well: Daniele De Rossi, Simone Perrotta, Christian Panucci, Alberto Aquilani, Marco Cassetti & Max Tonetto.
Gotta say I don't see how the last two make without a run of injuries in front of them. Oddo, Panucci, Zambro and Grosso should be enough to get the job done on the defensive flanks. And if one's going, it's probably Cassetti. Absolute revelation this season, particularly in the first half. Plus there's that versatility thing. And then there's the possibility Donadoni grows a brain and sends Oddo back to Pluto.
Rumor is Aquilani's inclusion is between he and Riccardo Montolivo. If that's the case, I'll just copy and paste why it's gonna be Alberto from Italy page:
1. Alberto plays both ways and his attack is just as lethal as Montolivo’s.
2. Real Madrid. Aquilani looked like an absolute god in Spain, and the world sat up and took notice. Donadoni certainly did so as well.
3. Montolivo has a friendly cap, Aquilani has been a part of The Don’s starting XI.
4. This one’s most important: Montolivo is eligible for the summer Olympics, Alberto is not. Riccardo’s time in Swissaustria would almost surely be off the bench, while Aquilani is a real option. Montolivo’s time would be better served in Beijing perfecting his nazionale game, because we’re damn sure going to need him for the next eight years or so.
Really only needs number four.
Of course, I think this whole list is BS and the only reasoning I need is that Tommaso Rocchi is one of the 29 names listed.
IV) I've yet to meet a footballer player whose brain is connected to his feet, therefore I don't pay a whole lot of attention to what many of them say unless it rips a good rant out of me. Not the case with Gigi Buffon:
“What ever happens both teams have been excellent but I must say that Roma have played the better football.”
What this says for me, and something which has been evident since February/March, is that if Inter wins the scudetto, the better team will not have won. Of course, we've got all sorts of video to back this up anyway...
V) See what happens when you kick Christian Wilhelmsson the @#$5 outta town? Scudetto races happen, that's what. Mauro Esposito has done more for Roma in riding the pine for a year than Chippen ever did on the pitch. Ass.
VI) Materazzi and Julio Cruz picked up bans for their actions against Lazio in the Coppa semis, which means they're both going to be back in Milan spooning while watch the game on TV. Cruz got 3 for his punch on Kolarov and Marco got 2 for attempting to tackle Goran Pandev while on the ground - an attempt which ended up nothing more than a typical Matrix hatchet job. Yeah, he'd be good to bring to the Euros.
Anyway, best of both worlds: Lazio players get punched in the face and hacked down at the legs and Inter players get suspended. Man hugs all around.
VII) I could watch this thing all night. In fact, I just may: