SERIE A – Marked off the pitch by a cascade of racist incidents, the first half of the season in Serie A was also an excellent duel between Inter Milan and Juventus, pursued by valuable underdog.
Atalanta Bergamo (fifth) is by far the best attack in the league, but the best surprise was Cagliari. Radja Nainggolan has once again become a great player in Sardinia and despite a bit of slack in December, Rolando Maran’s team takes up a good sixth place. The Serbian coach from Bologna announced in July that he was suffering from leukemia. Since then, she has undergone three rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
But even in the hospital, he never let his team go (eighth), after distance training and organizing videoconferencing from his sterile ward. When allowed to leave the hospital, Sinisa Mihajlovic was able to conduct some sessions. Slimmed down and a cap on his head, he even guided his troops through five fights.
As for racist errors, the first target was Romelu Lukaku, the target of monkey calls in Cagliari. Then the list grew: Juan Jesús, Mario Balotelli, Dalbert… Even if things start to move, calcium is still strongly marked by racist incidents. They are not the only supporters, as leaders such as Lazio President Claudio Lotito and Brescia President Massimo Cellino have also made controversial statements.
Instances are not left out. Overflows are almost never sanctioned, or hardly, and the League has caused a scandal by proposing a three-monkey painting to illustrate a campaign against racism.
Ancelotti replaced by Gattuso
What will be left of Carlo Ancelotti’s visit to Naples? A second place without thrilllast and a qualifying this season for the eighth Champions League final. It’s too little for a technician of this caliber. Discarded and replaced by Gennaro Gattuso before bouncing off Everton, Ancelotti left Napoli in seventh place and with desolate play quality. The biggest disappointment of the Italian season, no doubt.
Franck Ribéry, in action at the start of the seasonGetty Images
Franck Ribéry, brilliant at the start of the season, and Mario Balotelli were not enough to lift his teams. Ribery was injured and Fiorentina plunged into 15th place. As for Balotelli, despite four goals and an increase in power this winter, he did not weigh enough and Brescia is relegated (eighteenth).