Aug 21

Serie A has video assistant system successes but also some human error | Paolo Bandini

A penalty awarded against Juventus at home in the opening game was just what the VAR was supposed to pick up – but a referee whistling too soon at Bologna proved costly for Torino

It used to be that a new Serie A season would provide us with a fresh round of discorsi da bar – football talking points to get worked up about over a beer or Monday morning espresso. This year, things went in a different direction. When the final whistles had blown and Giorgia Cardinaletti welcomed us back to Rai 2’s long-running highlights show, Domenica Sportiva, she and her studio guests instead dived straight into discorsi da VAR.

Yes, this was the weekend when Italian football fans received their full introduction to the video assistant referee. It is fair to say that not everyone gets it just yet. There was confusion enough before a ball had even been kicked about whether it should be referred to as il VAR or la VAR – taking a masculine or feminine definite article. (Plot twist: it depends on whether you are referring to the technology itself or the official implementing it.)

Related: European roundup: Atlético rally to draw after Griezmann red at Girona

Related: Dortmund jettison Ousmane Dembélé worries as Peter Bosz has instant impact | Andy Brassell

Related: Saint-Étienne unshackled from lifeless approach by Óscar GarcÍa

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/aug/21/serie-a-opening-weekend-good-advert-video-assistant-referee

Aug 19

European roundup: Atlético rally to draw after Griezmann red at Girona

• Griezmann booked twice before Atlético Madrid bounce back from 2-0 down
• Juventus win opener after Cagliari miss penalty awarded by video assistant

Atlético Madrid demonstrated their remarkable team spirit to come roaring back from two goals and a man down to draw 2-2 at promoted Girona, after Antoine Griezmann had been sent off for the first time in his career.

Girona looked set to enjoy a dream top-flight debut when Cristhian Stuani rose to head in a sweeping cross from Alex Granell midway through the first half and three minutes later showed his predator’s instinct to nod in a loose ball from close range. Griezmann was then dismissed for two successive bookings, one for diving to try and win a penalty and another for dissent.

Related: Bibiana Steinhaus: female referee who stood up to Pep is ready for Bundesliga

Related: Bayern Munich get help from VAR to see off Leverkusen in Bundesliga opener

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/19/juventus-cagliari-video-assistant-referee

Aug 17

Serie A preview: Can Milan’s liberal spending challenge Juventus?

Some think Juventus are vulnerable but can Milan, Napoli or any of the other contenders really prevent them from winning a seventh straight Serie A title?

If you can’t beat them, join them. But what if they can’t beat you? Leonardo Bonucci turned the old adage on its head this summer, swapping the Juventus team where he had won six consecutive Serie A titles for a Milan side that haven’t finished higher than sixth for four years.

Can one transfer transform a division? Just ask Juventus, whose signing of Andrea Pirlo after he was discarded by Milan in 2011 was arguably the most crucial factor in launching them back to the pinnacle of Italian football after their post-Calciopoli wilderness years. Bonucci is a different player, in a different role, though he did learn a thing or two from his former team-mate when it comes to ball distribution.

Related: Leonardo Bonucci and the long history of controversial deals between Serie A clubs

Related: ‘His head isn’t right’: Antonio Cassano retires (again) after leaving Verona

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/aug/17/serie-a-preview-milan-juventus-napoli-bonucci

Jul 28

Leonardo Bonucci and the long history of controversial deals between Serie A clubs

Leonardo Bonucci’s move from Juventus to Milan is big news but nothing new. Dino Zoff, Paolo Rossi, Roberto Baggio and Gabriel Batistuta all paved the way

By Dan Cancian for The Gentleman Ultra, part of the Guardian Sport Network

In a transfer window brimming with narratives, Leonardo Bonucci’s move from Juventus to Milan is undoubtedly the biggest story in Serie A. His decision to leave Turin has rocked Italian football and not just because it came as Milan’s new owners set off on a spending spree designed to make the club title contenders once more. Bonucci’s move was utterly unexpected, swiftly completed and left fans on both sides of the divide incredulous, albeit for different reasons.

Milan’s new captain is not the only player to have made a contentious move this summer, with Federico Bernardeschi’s £35m transfer from Fiorentina to Juventus also provoking indignation from fans. Fans in Serie A should really be prepared for unlikely deals by now – Bonucci and Bernardeschi are just the latest in a long line of players to have created a stir by swapping one Italian club for another.

Related: Beyond the Premier League bubble: the biggest transfers in Europe this summer

Related: Roberto Baggio at 50: celebrating his five greatest free-kicks

Related: Crazy transfer fee of Gonzalo Higuaín leads us into theatre of the absurd | Rob Smyth

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/the-gentleman-ultra/2017/jul/28/leonardo-bonucci-controversial-transfers-serie-a-clubs

Jul 25

European football season preview: how will your club fare this year?

Whether you support a club in Scotland, Spain, Italy, Germany, France or beyond, we’d like to hear your expectations for the new season

• Football League: how will your club do this season?

It seemed like only yesterday Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Monaco were being crowned league champions, but in a few short weeks they will begin to defend their titles. With the Ligue 1 season kicking off on 4 August, Serie A following on 11 August, and La Liga and the Bundesliga beginning a week later, now is the time to tell us how your club will fare in the coming year.

Related: Championship, League One and League Two: how will your club do this season?

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/25/european-football-club-season-spain-italy-france-germany-portugal

Jul 24

‘His head isn’t right’: Antonio Cassano retires (again) after leaving Verona

• Former Italy striker will not play again after leaving Serie B side
• ‘There’s an up and a down with him, he talks and then he’s silent’

Antonio Cassano has announced his decision to retire from football just a week after reversing his decision.

The 35-year-old joined Verona on 10 July but announced less than seven days later that he would be retiring, before he was persuaded to perform a dramatic U-turn within hours of making his decision public. Yet despite making two appearances in friendlies for Verona, the Serie B club’s president revealed on Monday that the veteran striker has left the club because “his head isn’t right”.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/24/antonio-cassano-leaves-verona-play-on

Jul 19

Beyond the Premier League bubble: the biggest transfers in Europe this summer

Premier League clubs have been blowing vast sums in the transfer market – £50m for Kyle Walker anyone? – but not every player wants to move to England

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Premier League clubs, Tottenham aside, have been busy in the transfer market this summer. Arsenal have made Alexandre Lacazette their most expensive player; Liverpool have broken their transfer record to sign Mohamed Salah (and they want to break it again on Naby Keïta); Everton have made Jordan Pickford the most expensive British goalkeeper ever; and Manchester City have made Kyle Walker the most expensive defender in history. But, despite its vast riches, not every player wants to play in the Premier League. Below we look at the best players who have opted against moving to England to play elsewhere in Europe.

Related: Milan look set to resurrect golden era that most thought was long gone | Nick Ames

Related: Rose Reilly: the only Scottish footballer to win the World Cup … as Italy captain

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/who-scored-blog/2017/jul/19/transfer-window-europe-biggest-deals-moves-football

Jul 19

Milan look set to resurrect golden era that most thought was long gone | Nick Ames

The £35m signing of Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus has shown doubters that Li Yonghong is serious about building a team to recreate the glory days at the club

“It all happened in a flash. We haven’t yet come to terms with it.” Massimiliano Mirabelli was talking of Milan’s astonishment at signing Leonardo Bonucci and it was a sentiment mirrored far beyond those with a direct hand in events at San Siro. Until last Friday there remained the temptation to see the Rossoneri’s extraordinary summer spend as a curiosity; a sequence of scattergun fripperies that would satisfy the club’s wealthy owners until the point of its high-profile, high-risk failure. It may yet turn out that way but the £35m purchase that so amazed their sporting director has caused the rest of Serie A, and many abroad, to sit bolt upright. Is this something more than a fantastical attempt to recreate an era that seemed to have long since passed?

Related: Transfer window 2017 – every deal in Europe’s top five leagues

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/19/milan-resurrect-past-glories-signing-bonucci-juventus-li-yonghong

Jul 18

Antonio Cassano retires, then un-retires and vows to ‘have fun’ with Verona

• Former Italy forward first tells team-mates he wants to quit football
• Cassano, 35, then calls press conference to say he has changed his mind

The former Italy forward Antonio Cassano has sensationally “un-retired” from football a few hours after telling his Verona team-mates that he was missing his family too much and wanted to quit the game.

The former Italy international joined Verona only eight days ago and made the decision to leave the club and retire from football early on Tuesday. However, in the afternoon the 35-year-old held a press conference to tell the media that he had reconsidered and was now looking forward to “having a fun season” with his new club.

Related: Transfer window 2017 – every deal in Europe’s top five leagues

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/18/antonio-cassano-retire-from-football-verona

Jul 13

Juventus’s Leonardo Bonucci agrees to join Milan in shock move

  • Italy defender leaving Juventus after seven years in Turin
  • Bonucci and manager Max Allegri fell out during last season

The Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has agreed to join Serie A rivals Milan. The Italian international, who has been with the Turin club for seven years, is signing a five-year deal with the Milanese club and is hopeful of concluding the deal before the weekend.

Bonucci, regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, has not always seen eye to eye with the Juventus manager, Max Allegri, and the pair traded insults during a game against Palermo last season, with the defender subsequently being dropped against Porto. The defender was travelling to Milan for his medical on Friday morning.

Related: Transfer window 2017 – every deal in Europe’s top five leagues

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/13/juventus-leonardo-bonucci-set-to-join-milan-shock-move

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