For teams around the Italian peninsula, the Champions League has historically been a happy hunting ground, with the total of European Cup/Champions league victories around the fifteen mark, displaying a sense of depth in Serie A that other leagues aren’t blessed with.
Whilst Italy boast’s various European contenders in its ranks: Juve, Inter, Milan, Roma they also have several teams that boast memorable European runs : Sampdoria, Lazio, Genoa etc. However, since the crippling effects of Calciopoli on Serie A, the decline of once Euro Giants Juventus and briefly, Milan hindered the league, resulting in the results such as Rossineri’s humiliation at the hands of Manchester Utd, and Juventus struggling in the Europa League.
But all seems to be turning around in the crazy world of Calcio. After Mourinhos Inter battled their way to that historic treble and the return of AC Milan as a genuine title contender in Serie A has rekindled Italy’s stage in Europe, and as we gaze upon yesterdays revelations, some Calcio fans don’t shudder at the sight of a team with pace and youth like before, but relish the oppurtunity. Milanista’s everywhere will be licking their lips at the prospect of seeing Ibrahimovic, Pato et al run at Dawson and King, and Gallarossi fans will not be daunted at their tie with Shaktar Donetsk.
Ironically, the only team that has serious problems in Serie A are the European Champions. After losing a seemingly guaranteed top spot in their group after a frankly astonishing injury list and equally shocking run of results, Inter Milan have been drawn against last years finalists Bayern Munich, who like Inter have suffered domestically, trailing far behind the runaway Borussia Dortmund, but their European form has not dwindled, easily reaching top spot with only the defeat in Rome as the only blemish. Inter will have regain last years grit and resolve to overcome the German powerhouse, which seems a tall order considering the Nerazurri’s current dilapidation, and the suspected boardroom mutiny that has somewhat darkened the originally triumphant mood in the blue half of the Guiseppe Meazza However, Feburary is far away, and Inter could turn their fortunes around, whoever will be in the dugout by that time.
So all in all, forgetting Juventus crashing out of the Europa League for a moment, There is a genuine chance that all 3 Italian sides could be in the Quater finals come March, and that can only be a good thing.
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