It’s been the league that has just kept on giving this season, and when the dust settled after an explosive finale, we saw Juve at the top, Napoli close behind and
Roma and Inter in the Champions League.
There were emotional scenes in Turin as Gianluigi Buffon hung up his gloves, and live football betting thrills in Rome where Inter grabbed a late, late top four spot. And the relegation scrap was a humdinger too, for football betting fans, as five teams battled for survival on the final day, with Crotone eventually losing out.
Napoli matched the Bianconeri stride for stride for much of the season, indeed the online betting sites couldn’t split them as late as April, but it was Max Allegri’s nous and his team’s experience, winning a seventh consecutive Scudetto, which took them over the line. Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri thought his side was right in the chase after an away win over the Old Lady in April, but defeat to Fiorentina the following week all but ended his hopes.
Sarri wasn’t happy that the fixtures dictated his team play after Juventus in 14 of the last 16 rounds, saying that they were constantly playing catch-up. And after his side condemned Crotone to the drop on Sunday, he hinted he may well be on his way, saying: “In life, everything comes to an end. Sometimes it’s better to finish stories while they are good.”
Cheer up, Maurizio!
Meanwhile, Juventus completed the double by spanking Milan 4-0 in the final of the Coppa Italia, and Max Allegri is now prepared to sit down with the Juventus board to discuss his future. He owes much of the season’s success, not only to his legendary defence but to the goals of strike partnership Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, who netted 22 and 16.
Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi must be reeling after barely missing a UCL spot in Serie A
But I tell you what; if Sarri thinks he’s had a rough time then spare a thought for Simone Inzaghi, after his Lazio side lost a Champions League place at the last gasp of the season. Needing just a draw against Inter to hold on to fourth place, and with a lead going into the final 15 minutes….they lost and Inter took the prize. In the process Mauro Icardi matched Ciro Immobile as the league-leading scorer, following the Lazio star’s injury lay-off.
Now that is hard to take.
So, after holding a top four spot for much of the season, Lazio must make do with a Europa League place, where they will be joined by Milan, rejuvenated following the arrival of Gennarro Gattuso as boss, and Atalanta who finished seventh. With Gattuso in charge Milan looks a different prospect and could be worth watching next year as the boss tries to rediscover former glories.
And as the relegation battle drew to a compelling close, Cagliari, Udinese, Chievo and SPAL all won on the final day to send Crotone down to Serie B, along with Hellas Verona and Benevento, after a bruising campaign.
Who is joining Italy’s Elite?
Empoli returns to the top flight having romped home in Serie B, but there was last day drama as Parma won away to snatch the second automatic spot from Frosinone, who failed to beat Foggia at home and finished on the same points as Parma.
Morino Longo now needs to pick his team up for the nerve-jangling task of negotiating the play-offs, along with Palermo, Unione Venezia, Bari, Cittadella and Perugia.
Early Transfer Rumours
So Gianluigi Buffon has announced he will be leaving Juventus at the end of the season after 17 years and 640 appearances; and with no World Cup 2018 for Italy he can take a well-earned rest.
Buffon’s ex-team-mate Leonardo Bonucci is reportedly a target for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho tries to bolster his defence. Ever the entertainer is Jose!
EPL fans may have seen the last of Marouane Fellaini and Emre Can as they are rumoured to join Juventus next season
Juventus are ready to announce the arrival of Liverpool’s Emre Can as soon as the Champions League final is over, and another Premier League star, Marouane Fellaini, could be on his way from Manchester United to Milan.
Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij is off to Inter and, after conceding a crucial penalty in the two teams’ clash on Sunday, I bet he can’t get there quick enough!
There may be more bad news for Lazio fans though, as Chelsea is apparently sniffing around star striker Ciro Immobile, as Antonio Conte fancies him to partner Alvaro Morata. Now that would be kicking a set of fans when they are down.
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