It’s certainly true that there is never a dull moment in Italian football. After Hellas Verona held Roma to a 0-0 draw on Saturday, the Giallorossi were then found to have fielded an ineligible player after Amadou Diawara had been left on the U22 squad list despite turning 23 in July. League officials then handed a 3-0 win to the Veronese as a result of that error, a matter that Roma are appealing.
Another controversy emerged after Barcelona striker Luis Suarez was accused of cheating on the Italian language part of his citizenship exam, a test that was taken in advance of a potential move to Juventus which has now fallen through.
Juve had already filled their quota of non-EU players, which led to the Uruguayan taking the test in Perugia. Colonel Selvaggio Sarri (no relation to Maurizio) revealed that the Italian Guardia di Finanza were already investigating the University for alleged “irregular activities,” and that the exam taken by Suarez had been “predetermined”.
Serie A Match of the Round: Roma vs Juventus
There is to be no let-off for Roma following the Diawara controversy, as they host Juventus on Sunday evening.
There was much interest in Andrea Pirlo’s Coaching debut last weekend, and a comprehensive 3-0 win over Sampdoria meant the former midfielder passed his first test with flying colours.
Yet this weekend will provide a much tougher challenge for the rookie boss, and he will be looking for more excellent performances from Cristiano Ronaldo, Dejan Kulusevski, Aaron Ramsey and new American midfielder Weston McKennie.
Best of the Rest
After their first round fixture was postponed due to their involvement in the Europa League final in August, Antonio Conte’s Inter will host Fiorentina at San Siro on Saturday night as they begin their title challenge for this season. New full-backs Aleksandar Kolarov and Achraf Hakimi are expected to start, latest signing Arturo Vidal will likely be on the bench, and the dynamic front line duo of Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku will be reunited once more.
Elsewhere, Atalanta begin their season away at Torino and will be looking to get started in their hunt for goals. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men bagged 98 goals in the league alone last term, and face a Torino team who are still adapting to new boss Marco Giampaolo. Milan will look to continue their superb form away at Crotone, a side who look like a firm candidate for relegation after a 4-1 loss to Genoa last weekend.
Serie A Player to Watch: Achraf Hakimi – Inter Milan – £3.49
After arriving from Real Madrid for a fee in the region of €40 million, big things are expected from this 21-year-old right wing-back. During a two-season long loan at Borussia Dortmund, the Morocco international made a huge impression, scoring nine goals and providing ten assists in all competitions last season alone.
“I chose Inter because I think the coach’s style is particularly suited to my way of playing and I can be of real help to this team. We’ll try to achieve great results and certainly aim to win the Scudetto,” revealed the youngster in a livestreamed Q&A. “Conte is a great coach, with a very competitive spirit. He has this extraordinary passion for football and transmits that through to his players, fans, and everyone around the club. His motivation allows the side to be fired up for every game.
“I already played 3-5-2 at Borussia Dortmund. When the offer came, I thought this was a great opportunity for me to grow, as the fans here experience football in such a special way. I have joined a great club.”
*To read more of Chloe’s work about Serie A, you can subscribe to her newsletter ‘Curva e Calcio’ to keep up to date with all things football in Serie A: http://curvaecalcio.substack.com/