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Thread: Italian Footbal : In Decline or not?

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    Italian Footbal : In Decline or not?

    People currently look at Italy and see a hugely declined footballing league. Where once we had Zidane, Ronaldo, Vieri, Nesta, Maldini, these are instead replaced by Giovinco, Cavani, aging players such as Milito, Zanetti, or players who are very late bloomers - such as De Rossi, and to some extent Chiellini. This was further reinforced by the loss - and non-replacement - of players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva in the summer.

    Salaries in Italy are being cut, big name players globally such as J. Cesar & Maicon are leaving - indeed being released - where a few years ago they were worth £20m, £30m, and Italy's european performances have resulted in the loss of one of the highly prized Champions League spots.


    But, does this ring true?

    Italy always has been - for decades - a very attractive place for people to play. Between growing up watching stars such as Meazza, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Kaka, Zidane forge their careers in Italy and still being one of Europe's hottest leagues (Spain promote their own youngsters, as do Germany, and England prefer to overpay for mediocre English players), and one of the ones the 16-20 year olds of today will have grown up watching. Today's 20 year old was 8 when some of the world's best players were in Italy - and the big names they ended up idolizing and emulating will have been Serie A stars. Indeed, it is this bonding that results in Serie A's large international support, particularly for the headline 3 teams.

    So, let's consider what this all means for Serie A, one of the few leagues in professional football which makes profits in the transfer windows. It means that there is a strong emphasis on the youth.

    Why?, you might ask. Well, the answer is simple.

    The amount of money Inter spend on its youth academy is approximately £8 million a season, as a side note - which is nothing compared to the £55 million Barcelona and Real Madrid spend - and with this figure in mind it quickly becomes obvious. The sales of Santon & Balotelli fund the Inter Youth academy for at least 3.5, 4 seasons. That's everything, facilities, development, players.

    With this, creates space for other youth development. Internally, Inter now contribute more youth players to Italy's teams aggregating to U-21 than any other club in the country. The money that Balotelli & Santon put towards the youth team pay for people like Obi, Livaja, Benassi to come through. The average cost for some of the players, for example, Longo or Benassi, is less than a few hundred thousand euros. Massive overhauls in the youth system is not only at Inter, however.

    Average ages in Italy have dropped rapidly - particularly in its two oldest teams, with Inter & AC Milan. Milan's El Sharaaway and De Sciglio deserve their credit, as do Roma's upsurgance of late in youth players (such as Marquinhos or Lamela). Inter speaks volumes for itself with the promotion of JJ from a complete unknown, at the price of approximately 3 million euros, to one of the best young defenders in world football today.


    With wages being slashed, for the more expensive players like Sneijder, Lucio, Maicon, Forlan, etc, money becomes freed up for the younger players. Where 12 million euros might only pay for Sneijder, or Forlan, it covers the price of 12 people on Juan Jesus' salary. The freedom of cash flow, as is reflected in most Serie A benches barring Juventus, has brought down the average age of teams significantly, and where squad players used to be Muntari, Flamini, Cordoba, etc, the cost of the youth players who are being given their chances are sometimes less than even 10% of the price of the more experienced player.

    So, the short answer is No. Serie A is not in decline. It may lack the big name stars it used to have, but where these stars would previously be brought in ready made, the emphasis now is finding good young players and developing them. Alexis Sanchez, Edinson Cavani, Juan Jesus, Stevan Jovetic, even Thiago Silva are good signs of this.

    Serie A will, in the course of the next few years, develop its stars once more. Players like Ranocchia, Quintero, Pogba, "SES", Insigne, are all signs of this. And this time, this rise will be done far more financially viably than previously, and it will spurn on the next cycle.


    Football is cyclical, with La Liga going broke and the Premiership arguably in quite strong decline, Serie A will rise to the top again in the next 3 to 5 years.



    Edit:
    One stat to add in. If I remember correctly, of all the big leagues in Europe, Italy have given the most starts to players U-21. It has the 2nd most minutes given to players U-21, just fractionally behind Germany. The notion that Serie A is just a washed up home for mediocre players, or people who are over the hill clearly doesn't match the stats.


    Edit2:

    What FFP will ultimately do in Italy - who are still the biggest criminals with respect to financial regularity in football - is to bring clubs into a profitable line again, and allow them to grow from there. It's a hard line, as we've seen with massively reduced salaries at both Inter & AC of late, as well as vastly reduced spending, but moves are afoot in the Lega to expand the product massively internationally, and trying to run fiscally in-line from being VERY fiscally OUT of line means that this young revolution is enforced, rather than voluntary.
    Last edited by .h.; 24 Dec 12 at 22:25.


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    tbh tl;dr

    But as I see it, in a short period of time; 3-4 years or so, Italian football will be quite powerful. Teams like Milan, Juve, Roma, Lazio, Napoli and Inter(?) are all trying to build good and young teams and in my honest opinion sooner or later it will pay off. There might be players who will blow up, and some teams will have more of a team-work success.

    What league is doing that? Except for one team or two in each league, no one is doing that. As far as I know, only Bundesliga has some great young players, and a really bright future. Other teams in other leagues are all depending on big money to build up and buy 'superstars'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmaster View Post
    tbh tl;dr

    But as I see it, in a short period of time; 3-4 years or so, Italian football will be quite powerful. Teams like Milan, Juve, Roma, Lazio, Napoli and Inter(?) are all trying to build good and young teams and in my honest opinion sooner or later it will pay off. There might be players who will blow up, and some teams will have more of a team-work success.

    What league is doing that? Except for one team or two in each league, no one is doing that. As far as I know, only Bundesliga has some great young players, and a really bright future. Other teams in other leagues are all depending on big money to build up and buy 'superstars'.
    Just out of interest, why do you go to the article section if it's tl;dr

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmaster View Post
    What league is doing that? Except for one team or two in each league, no one is doing that. As far as I know, only Bundesliga has some great young players, and a really bright future. Other teams in other leagues are all depending on big money to build up and buy 'superstars'.
    Real and Barca will continue to spend for their players whilst also producing their own top class talent so I don't see how La Liga as a whole will be so different in a few years time. As for the Premiership, what's to stop them from just buying Serie A talent? Players will go where the money is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pimpin View Post
    you can all go fuck your mohters, just my 2 cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
    Real and Barca will continue to spend for their players whilst also producing their own top class talent so I don't see how La Liga as a whole will be so different in a few years time. As for the Premiership, what's to stop them from just buying Serie A talent? Players will go where the money is.
    TBH, I find the Barca system fantastic - but it makes average players look better than they are. Because there is TOO much emphasis on home grown players, you end up with people who arent "that" good looking like they might be world class. I mean look at Dos Santos or Bojan for examples.

    England is the wealthier league now, this is certainly true, but theres also a level of prestige. Alot of the stars in the last 10-15 years in Serie A would not have been "perfect" for English football, its so set up to how it needs to be, and as a young player going into England, you'll see the English players get paid 2-3x more, on higher transfer fees, and get given more time on the pitch.

    I think Serie A is a very attractive place for people to go to play football. I could be wrong, but we have a higher home grown proportion than England or Spain even.

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    Completely disagree with the premise of this article. I'll write out a full length response after the holidays. It's well written though
    Quote Originally Posted by Arlen View Post
    The problem with this kind of site in english is the international brand of supporters from non-footballers or non-top-footballer countries..
    You see people from Colombia, Oceania, Ireland(i think) pretending that at least ONCE in their life they saw a young wc talent arriving and becoming a world star.

    Just a idea: if you want a serious debate about football, you should block everybody from countries that NEVER will win nothing and NEVER will have a balon d'or, for example.
    Whats the point about those guys opinions??? Can i go to some New Zealand chat and start to teach them how to recognize the better wc prospects among young Rugby players?
    Again, if you NEVER saw a young wc prospect struggling in his first years, like Kaka or Ronaldinho who were booed by they local supporters here, how could you judge????

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    Amended the article twice.

    ---------- Post added at 22:26 ---------- Previous post was at 22:25 ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by ADRossi View Post
    Completely disagree with the premise of this article. I'll write out a full length response after the holidays. It's well written though
    Looking forward to seeing why

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    Quote Originally Posted by browha View Post
    Just out of interest, why do you go to the article section if it's tl;dr
    I clicked on New Posts and saw your thread. I thanked you just for taking the time tho, didn't want to offend you.
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    as the good lord always says, a thank is a thank

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    tbh this is the best seria i have seen in years they is like 7 teams with a lot of quality and could win the league. if juve want so much of a winning machine, i think seria a got the best under 21s in the world. just been reduced to 3 cl spots might see players in fio or napale go if they dont get in cl

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    I would say its the most competitive Serie A, but not necessarily the best. Juventus are still leaps ahead of any other Serie A team, referees aside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADRossi View Post
    Completely disagree with the premise of this article. I'll write out a full length response after the holidays. It's well written though
    I agree with ADRossi.

    Premiership 'in quite strong decline' ???

    Browha - You've missed quite a number of points if your looking at 'Decline or not of Serie A' ! Just one example (cos I don't have time now to mention all of them) Broadcasting of Italian football outside of Italy and the marketing dollars it is missing out on. Look at EPL's set-up compared to Serie A.
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    The people who say Serie A is in decline are the same people who said Italy was an underdog against Germany in the Euros.

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    To answer your question



    But interesting point on the FFP - youngsters. Let's just hope it will bring Italian football back to its glory, and not turn it into Eredivisie or something where clubs groom youngsters only for them to get poached by the bigger clubs.

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    in decline.

    Seems that Serie A has lost its magic touch. In fact, I'm afraid its gonna become like the MLS (AARP league). Buckle up, Inter fans and co, you're gonna go for a long ride

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    Tbh, I would not be overly optimistic about the Serie A future and here is why:

    1. The league is not marketable in comparison to La Liga, Premier League and Bundesliga. With no law passed on a government level all teams except for Juventus still do not own the stadiums and are required to play at shitty and outdated arenas with low attendace and mediocre TV picture (again, in comparison to major leagues). What does it mean? No lucrative sponsor contracts for the league in future, TV, gate and merchandise revenues all going down.

    2. Inability to retain top talents. Okay, we are talking that a lot of young and talented players are currently being developed in Italy but clubs do not financial power to keep these talents and they are leaving for big bucks. Pastore and Veratti have left for PSG, Sanchez is playing for Barca, Balotelli is at Man City. Again, to grow and scout talented players do not necessarily mean to keep them in the teams. Such thing as club loyalty means nothing in the modern football.

    3. Lack of big names. As it was duly mentioned before, 10 years ago Serie A was a home to the world's finest and most talented players - Zidane, Ronaldo, Shevchenko, Nedved. Even when Figo was moving to Inter a lot of us were opposed to this move as he was reckoned to be too old. But still, Figo was a huuuge name in the world of football. And now we have a clear trend of big players leaving Italy - Eto'o, Ibra, Silva, to mention a few. I do not see how Italian clubs can attract top names back to the league in the future. This fact also pushes league's marketability to go down.

    4. Lack of investments from abroad. Was this deal with the Chinese investors finalized or they decided not to waste their money on a club losing millions of dollars every year?

    5. Lack of transparency in Italian football, both financially and sport-wise. According to the latest research, Italian league was deemed as being one of the most corrupt leagues in the world and we all know that is true. This fact also discourages investments from abroad.

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    browha, I always like your articles but this time you are just trying to make a bad thing look good.

    Serie A is clearly in decline both in terms of overall team quality (given the results in CL and EL) and financially. Having a few good youngster won't change a thing when we face teams like Barça, Real and Bayern who have lots of players with amazing skills and much more experience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by I4E View Post
    I agree with ADRossi.

    Premiership 'in quite strong decline' ???

    Browha - You've missed quite a number of points if your looking at 'Decline or not of Serie A' ! Just one example (cos I don't have time now to mention all of them) Broadcasting of Italian football outside of Italy and the marketing dollars it is missing out on. Look at EPL's set-up compared to Serie A.

    My point on the Premiership is to do with their footballing side, not their marketing side. Broadcasting of Italian football outside Italy has been miserable, granted, but in the last season or two, they are starting to make HUGE moves on the international frontier. I seem to remember at least a couple multi-billion dollar deals being signed lately to broadcast in Asia. In the Premiership now, the way I see it, its only really the two manchester teams at the top of it. Arsenal and Liverpool both are nowhere near the level they used to be, Tottenham and Everton are a long way from filling that gap, Chelsea might get good again this season under Benitez but we need to wait and see.



    Quote Originally Posted by truestorybro View Post
    Tbh, I would not be overly optimistic about the Serie A future and here is why:

    1. The league is not marketable in comparison to La Liga, Premier League and Bundesliga. With no law passed on a government level all teams except for Juventus still do not own the stadiums and are required to play at shitty and outdated arenas with low attendace and mediocre TV picture (again, in comparison to major leagues). What does it mean? No lucrative sponsor contracts for the league in future, TV, gate and merchandise revenues all going down.

    2. Inability to retain top talents. Okay, we are talking that a lot of young and talented players are currently being developed in Italy but clubs do not financial power to keep these talents and they are leaving for big bucks. Pastore and Veratti have left for PSG, Sanchez is playing for Barca, Balotelli is at Man City. Again, to grow and scout talented players do not necessarily mean to keep them in the teams. Such thing as club loyalty means nothing in the modern football.

    3. Lack of big names. As it was duly mentioned before, 10 years ago Serie A was a home to the world's finest and most talented players - Zidane, Ronaldo, Shevchenko, Nedved. Even when Figo was moving to Inter a lot of us were opposed to this move as he was reckoned to be too old. But still, Figo was a huuuge name in the world of football. And now we have a clear trend of big players leaving Italy - Eto'o, Ibra, Silva, to mention a few. I do not see how Italian clubs can attract top names back to the league in the future. This fact also pushes league's marketability to go down.

    4. Lack of investments from abroad. Was this deal with the Chinese investors finalized or they decided not to waste their money on a club losing millions of dollars every year?

    5. Lack of transparency in Italian football, both financially and sport-wise. According to the latest research, Italian league was deemed as being one of the most corrupt leagues in the world and we all know that is true. This fact also discourages investments from abroad.

    Italian teams, if I remember from the last Deloittes report, currently pull in the largest per club TV revenue. Its the stadiums where we really lack to compare to the English sides, or the marketing where we fail to compare to the German sides. However, the stadiums are being fixed. Moving out of the San Siro into our own stadium will earn an estimated ~50 million euros a year extra, already, assuming attendences don't really change. On the marketing side, its obvious to see we're, as a league, moving a lot of effort into Asia. Bringing in people like Nagatomo, Honda hopefully (if he signs for Lazio), etc, will make a big difference in the long run. Inter have also opened up something like ~15000 places of Inter Campus in India recently, too.

    Every big talent that you sell funds the money to retain at least two or three more, or sign four or five more. Sanchez cost 1 million euros, Balotelli cost us something like 800k. Pastore was signed for only a couple of million if I remember, Hamsik was signed for 200k? The first wave is being sold to finance the clubs and bring them much closer towards financial balance. We can afford REASONABLY competitive salaries, where we won't be able to compete is for the ABSOLUTE star players in the Aguero/Rooney/etc bracket on 250k a week+. But of course, its not *just* about money, some players wont want to move out of loyalty, or maybe they aren't desireable enough, etc.

    As long as Italian football can produce its own stars, thats the most important thing. I mean look at Zidane - he was signed (which I Did not know) apparently for like 3.5million euros. Shevchenko was signed for a large sum of money, and I don't know about Nedved. Italy has always had a good history of creating its own stars, and this is no different. Between what I would say is a very promising crop of young Italians, and much stronger scouting from the larger clubs to match FFP austerity (as you can see from us appointing the Udinese chief scout, Angeloni, Juventus with an ever more foreign youth team, Roma with their acquisitions, and AC Milan with a much better youth team than previously), alot of the next generation of players will be coming out of Italy.

    The lack of investments from abroad won't matter as much in the era of FFP. Yes, there are a handful of clubs out there that splash the cash, but they don't really affect the other clubs in their leagues that much. For one, PSG aren't "really" overpaying for players - except for Moura and arguably Pastore, City aren't "really" overpaying for players lately either, and the players they sign have generally been foreign. What we NEED to do as a league, is to invest in getting new sponsorship deals, and get those TV rights out there. Which is exactly what has been happening in the last 3 years or so.


    Quote Originally Posted by Malacaxeta View Post
    browha, I always like your articles but this time you are just trying to make a bad thing look good.

    Serie A is clearly in decline both in terms of overall team quality (given the results in CL and EL) and financially. Having a few good youngster won't change a thing when we face teams like Barça, Real and Bayern who have lots of players with amazing skills and much more experience.
    Star players have to start from somewhere. And, I disagree. If Santon had broken through a season later, he could have been crucial in the Champions League win. Rooney scored a hat trick on his Champions League debut aged 19 if I remember correctly. The top young players will always make a difference, thats why they are the best. And in Italy, now, there is so much more emphasis on finding these players than there have been in the past, when clubs could afford to throw massive losses and just sign them when they are at their prime.





    I would say the situation in Italy is comparable to that of Germany ~10 years ago. In Germany they changed the footballing situation alot requiring, for example, people had to have heated pitches for the youth teams, and similar things. All this resulted in massive investment by the clubs, and a few years of non-competitiveness, before returning to the level we now see them on today. This is sort of whats happening in Italy, too. Forced austerity means the clubs are looking at other aspects, and the marketing appreciation is certainly there now. They're trying to bring in the new marketing revenues, the increased TV revenues, and also the next generation of youth players. It all makes sense - Samuele Longo cost us 170k - whenever we sell him, if we do, it's almost certainly going to be for a large profit.

    Give it 3 to 5 years, Italy will have the next generation of top young global stars, and with alot of the bigger clubs moving into their own stadiums in this time frame, expect a lot of success.

    ---------- Post added at 11:40 ---------- Previous post was at 11:38 ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Malacaxeta View Post
    browha, I always like your articles but this time you are just trying to make a bad thing look good.

    Serie A is clearly in decline both in terms of overall team quality (given the results in CL and EL) and financially. Having a few good youngster won't change a thing when we face teams like Barça, Real and Bayern who have lots of players with amazing skills and much more experience.
    If I remember correctly, without checking, we have as many Champions League wins as England in the last decade. And the same as Spain. The 3 places thing is entirely driven by Europa league results, rather than Champions League results.

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    The issue is that we'll have a few top young players club-trained while other teams will have lots of top young and experienced players both club-trained and purchased. It's very hard to maintain a team without at least some level of acquisitions and Italy is ages behind Spain, England and Germany financially.

    Maybe if Italy manages to do what germany did we could develop and become one of the strongest leagues again, but that should take quite some time (5+ years)



    Premier League has shown pretty poor results lately even with the huge money and signings. But I don't understand what's going wrong over there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malacaxeta View Post
    The issu is that we'll have a few top young players while club-trained while other teams will have lots of top young and experienced players both club-trained and purchased. It's very hard to maintain a team without at least some level of acquisitions and Italy is ages behind Spain, England and Germany financially.

    Maybe if Italy manages to do what germany did we could develop and become one of the strongest leagues again, but that should take quite some time (5+ years)



    Premier League has shown pretty poor results lately even with the huge money and signings. But I don't understand what's going wrong over there.

    Remember, the pool of good young players isn't infinite. I mean how many young CBs like JJ can you name? Maybe 4 or 5 in the world? The fact that we have our hands on these guys says alot.

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