Paolo Bandini

Author's posts

Nov 20

Insigne runs Napoli show on uplifting Serie A weekend laced with regret | Paolo Bandini

The striker granted just 15 minutes of Italy’s play-off defeat against Sweden continued the scintillating club form that made his omission so controversialIt was a weekend for gallows humour in Italy. “Goals from [Ciro] Immobile and [Lorenzo] Insigne y…

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Nov 07

Andrea Pirlo was a rare talent – a winner and dreamer who oozed creative cool | Paolo Bandini

The Italian retires with nothing left to prove, having achieved that highest form of football recognition – the stage at which a footballer’s name becomes synonymous with their position. The ‘Pirlo role’ is understood worldwideAndrea Pirlo loved to pul…

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Nov 06

Youthful Sampdoria trying to turn ‘sci-fi’ Champions League fantasy into reality

Marco Giampaolo is playing down talk of special season for a Sampdoria side flying high with a dynamic midfield trio of young 20-somethings at its heartDon’t call it fake news. If you ask the Sampdoria manager Marco Giampaolo, the idea that his team mi…

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Oct 30

Serie A’s top five maintain frightening pace, with Milan no match for Juve | Paolo Bandini

Juventus’s Gonzalo Higuaín proved the difference at San Siro as the top five teams’ dominance continued, as did talk of reducing Serie A from 20 teamsThe debate about how many clubs should compete in Serie A never really went away. Italian football’s t…

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Oct 26

Italian football needs more than a public reading to bring meaningful change | Paolo Bandini

After a week of Ultras-related outrage and public relations damage in Italy, the only surprise, regrettably, is that anyone should still be surprisedOf all the stadiums Lazio could visit on Wednesday, it had to be the Renato Dall’Ara. Their week had be…

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Oct 23

Leonardo Bonucci’s Milan move goes from bad to worse after red card | Paolo Bandini

The defender’s transfer from Juve was supposed to be a sign of Milan’s title ambition but the club and their new captain have struggled to hit it offHow did Leonardo Bonucci end up at Milan? The question has been asked countless times over the past thr…

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Oct 16

Napoli’s perfect start continues after compelling Serie A weekend | Paolo Bandini

It was ‘Everyone Against Everyone’, as Gazzetta had billed it, but after a Juve shock and Mauro Icardi’s decisive hat-trick, Napoli remained out in frontSooner or later, the wheels had to come off. Napoli set an impossible pace through the first seven …

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Oct 07

Glut of goals, fresh talent and unpredictability fuel Serie A revival | Paolo Bandini

Only a few seasons ago Italy’s top league was regarded as a defensive, Juventus-dominated turn-off but now it is game on

There was a time when Italians might have been insulted by the suggestion of theirs being the third-best football league in Europe. Serie A was always il campionato più bello del mondo – the most beautiful championship in the world. How else to describe a competition that produced 12 European Cup finalists between 1983 and 1998, a place where you could watch Diego Maradona take on Franco Baresi, or Zinedine Zidane battle Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or?

Nobody is blind, though, to the power shift since. Between TV deals and billionaire owners, Premier League clubs became able to offer wages the Italians could not match. Barcelona and Real Madrid kept pace by using the Champions League to solidify their status as global brands. Serie A’s most marketable teams were too busy squabbling over the Calciopoli scandal.

Related: Napoli have never looked more ready under Sarri to challenge for Serie A title | Paolo Bandini

Related: Genoa’s Pietro Pellegri sets Serie A record, sparking tears and transfer talk | Paolo Bandini

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Oct 02

Atalanta’s adaptation neuters Juventus and serves notice to Serie A | Paolo Bandini

Gian Piero Gasperini’s in-game tweaks are one reason his Atalanta side keep recovering from losing positions – and they did it again to draw with Juventus

It should have been all over. Within 25 minutes of Serie A’s Sunday night fixture, Juventus were two goals to the good. What opponent could overcome such a disastrous start against the champs: winners of six consecutive Serie A titles, as well as six consecutive games to begin this season? Who would even dare to fight back against the Old Lady of Turin?

Only the Goddess of Bergamo. Atalanta share their name with Greek mythology’s virgin huntress, and over the past 12 months they have embodied her combative spirit just as well.

Related: European roundup: Neymar double helps PSG breeze past Bordeaux

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Sep 25

Federico Chiesa a chip off the old block as Serie A youngsters flourish | Paolo Bandini

The son of Enrico Chiesa shone in Fiorentina’s draw with Atalanta to further justify optimism in Italy about the young talent emerging there

The bar has always been set high for Federico Chiesa. At 19 years old, he is a fixture of Fiorentina’s starting XI and has already played one unofficial friendly with the Italian national team. And yet, during an interview with La Repubblica, he suggested it may be some time before he considers himself a top-flight footballer. “My dad once told me: you become a Serie A player when you have made at least 300 appearances,” he observed.

An outrageous standard, albeit one founded on personal experience. Federico’s father Enrico played 380 games in the domestic top-flight, representing Fiorentina but also the likes of Sampdoria, Parma and Lazio. Along the way, he won 17 caps for the Azzurri and was named Serie A’s player of the year in 1995-96 by the magazine Guerin Sportivo.

Related: The 50 best young footballers in Italy

Related: Genoa’s Pietro Pellegri sets Serie A record, sparking tears and transfer talk | Paolo Bandini

Related: Golazos galore: the 25 best goals from the golden era of Serie A

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