Wednesday January 16 2019
Can anyone stop SuperJuve?

The Juventus juggernaut keeps on rolling, as Milan were barged out of the way in Jeddah for the Supercoppa, writes Giancarlo Rinaldi.

Italian football, to paraphrase Gary Lineker, is a simple game. You can play it when you like, where you like, but in the end Juventus win. They became the most successful side in the history of the Supercoppa outright without even having to be anywhere near their best. Whenever, wherever, the Bianconeri and this trophy were meant to be together.

If this competition had a soul, it would be a complicated one, mind you. It is the seasonal antipasto that has become more of a palate-cleansing sorbet between courses. It is the showpiece of Calcio that is happy to be held anywhere outside Italy that the money might dictate. It is the showdown between last year’s two trophy winners that often features a side which never actually secured any silverware at all. This edition stirred the emotions about as much as sitting in a teacup on a child’s fairground ride.

In fairness, it already felt like Milan were fighting with one arm tied behind their back with the number of players they had missing. Add to that the “fever” - diplomatic or otherwise - that stopped Gonzalo Higuain starting and it never felt like a battle of equals. The 20-odd points of difference in Serie A were always going to be a mountain to climb.

And yet, and yet. The Rossoneri did have their moments before Franck Kessie received his marching orders - most notably when Patrick Cutrone cracked one against the crossbar. There was a spell when Rino Gattuso’s men looked the more threatening, but it ultimately led to nothing. With the inevitability of death and taxes - if it is safe to mention the latter in his presence - Cristiano Ronaldo delivered the killer blow.

This was not vintage Juve but, in the end, it did not have to be. Their opponents put up a fight - they might even have levelled matters with a decent shout for a penalty late on - but there was an air of inevitability about the final outcome. The Bianconeri’s expensive summer signing was grinning from ear to ear after securing his first trophy with his new club.

It was almost certainly the conclusion that the Saudi Arabian hosts were looking for with the anticipation every time the Portuguese superstar got the ball almost palpable. The venue itself provoked protests - with no little justification - but football at the highest level sold itself to the mega-rich some time ago. Personally, I would prefer the game to be played pre-season and in Italy, but my influence with the powers that be is limited. The flipside, of course, is that the authorities often get criticised for not doing enough to sell the global brand of the Italian game.

Max Allegri will probably be happy just to have got this game out of the way and yet another title under his belt. His team - which was missing players of its own - is ticking along nicely towards its other targets of the Scudetto, Champions League and, why not, the Coppa Italia.

Domestically, it is hard to see anyone standing in their way, although on the continent they might yet find it harder. He was clearly unhappy that they had not killed off the game in its closing stages and they left themselves open to a late slap in the face that other sides might be better equipped to provide. For now, anyway, La Vecchia Signora just keeps on winning.

As for Milan, they clearly have more work to do if Higuain does depart and leave a big hole in their attack. New boy Lucas Paquetá showed some promising signs in the first half but he will need to be given peace - and time - to settle in. At least Gattuso will have been pleased that his side did not capitulate after they went behind and a man down, but they still look more functional than inspirational at the moment. That might be alright for a side from the provinces, but this is one of Europe’s biggest clubs we are talking about. Their fans will, quite rightly, expect better.

In the meantime, there is nothing else to do but salute this black and white juggernaut that has crushed the life out of the Italian game for what seems like a lifetime now. Supporters of the Turin giant will not give a fig about how predictable they have made the trophy allocation process in recent years. They have left their rivals trailing and they continue to invest in order to pull even further ahead.

The rest of Serie A is, for the time being at least, little more than a dot in their rearview mirror.

Have your say...
Do you work for Heathrow or Gatwick?
on the 22nd January, 2019 at 11:18pm
@Maldini's Heir: Serie A had 720 departures and 759 arrivals and those other leagues had closer to 300 with the Bundesliga having 234 and 276. This has got nothing to do with has everything to do with Money! Teams like Roma and Udinese are paying for stadiums from profits on selling players. look at the money Fiorentina and Atalanta generated from Player sales...record $$ ...if you waste money like Milan paying 38 mill for Silva, 25 mill for Kalinic you are destined for Failure!!!!!
on the 22nd January, 2019 at 7:47pm
You are still on the bus to your destination and bored I take it carpet? anyway when you arrive at loserville and are not bored anymore and don’t have anything else irrelevant to say. Let me know how it is because I have not been there in 8 YEARS haha hahahah hahahaha . Probably might not be there for a few more as well hahahah oh well guess I’ll just count my trophies by the time and think about grandparents feeding ppl. Hahahah what a salty and sore little loser hahahah away with you!
on the 21st January, 2019 at 2:34pm
@Anonymous there's nothing worse than Southerners supporting Juventus, you wouldn't bite the hand that fed your parents and your grand parents, would you?
on the 21st January, 2019 at 12:20am
@Carpeta yes one day inter will be exposed. Truth is they alteady were lolol. Try again loser, back to loserville with you hahahahha
on the 20th January, 2019 at 9:27pm
Calciopoli represented a hope for the future of Italian Football, unfortunately it has been a big white wash, and that is the reason why we are in this ridiculous situation where a club uses all the tricks in the book to get advantage over their opponents. They either control, or intimidate, but for how long, it will eventually hit the fan, and they will be exposed.
on the 20th January, 2019 at 8:04pm
@ PrimioCalcio I agree a club like Milan needs to make signings and it no k that’s why it’s more important to make one big signing rather than multiple signings. I don’t actually think Higuain was a bad signing. My only issue is having signed him we’re letting him walk away from his contract after 4 months.
on the 19th January, 2019 at 2:06am
@ Jeremy Do you think it’s normal to insult people? Can we keep the discussion focused? Hazard would probably struggle at Milan/in Serie because of the tactical rigidity. Pirlo was struggling at Milan just before he went to Juve and that started a familiar pattern of the exact same players performing better for Juve than Milan: Pirlo, Matri, Bonucci, De Sciglio and now Higuain. What’s the secret? Anyway these are just opinions. There’s no right or wrong.
on the 19th January, 2019 at 2:04am
@maldini heir
Chelsea had players like Hazard who do Milan have Suso? ooo yes certainly same standard!

Juve going from 7th to 1st; have you seen the state of the rest of Serie A?
Pirlo, vidal, Tevez, B.B.C defence; AGAIN- who did Milan have; Honda, Bonera, pazzini, are they the same standard?

Your final comment on Milans 90s strikers nailed your stupidity- It would be a dream to have them over any of the numpties we are subjected to these days. Change your name, change your sport.
on the 18th January, 2019 at 9:55pm
To make things even worse. Juve sold you an injured player and huguain. Then you guys were so lame you made higgy cry during a game against juve and get sent off. Now he is running you are about to spend 40 mil on a half season wonder kid hahahahah !!!!!! Haaaaaaa!!!!!!
on the 18th January, 2019 at 8:55pm
Then why did 4 referees, and the 2 commentators think otherwise if it's crystal clear. Did Fiat pay of the commentators too?
on the 18th January, 2019 at 3:59pm
I don't think I mentioned the Conti incident, did I?
I agree though because Can went to ground, lunged in from behind, and got the player before the ball while he was in the act of shooting.
I wouldn't necessarily say crystal clear in real time but with VAR its pretty obvious.
on the 18th January, 2019 at 3:26pm
In Italy? No. In Europe, many of the remaining sides that are left in the CL will give Juve a much tougher time. If pushed I would say that City and Liverpool have the edge, and I would never rule out the likes of Real, Barca, Spurs, PSG.... even Bayern of knocking Juve out. Despite their incredible record so far this season, they haven't impressed me with their style of play. They rarely put sides to the sword, and let's not forget those defeats in the group stage.
on the 18th January, 2019 at 11:41am

DUDE, have you seen the clip from the penalty incident on Conti, it was CRYSTAL clear penalty. Whats there not to understand?????
on the 18th January, 2019 at 9:20am
to 10th to 1st again in three seasons with basically the same squad. Juve hired Conte and added Pirlo and went from 7th to an unbeaten first. They won their unbeaten title that year with Matri, Borriello and Quagliarella as strikers. Milan won the Champions League and the Scudetto in 02/03 and 03/04 with Dida in goals. Back in the 90s Milan had the likes of Massaro and Simone neither of whom would be top strikers now. It's not about having 11 supermen. It's about having a coherent team.
on the 18th January, 2019 at 6:25am
@ Jeremy These players are in the top 0.00001% of players on the planet. Why? Because they play in a top 6 side in one of the top 5 leagues in Europe. There is not this great dividing line between players at this level. They all have ability or else they wouldn't have reached this stage. A good manager gets the most out of the players at his disposal. We see it time and time again where the exact same players play at a different level in different circumstances. Chelsea in England went from 1st
on the 18th January, 2019 at 6:18am
Stats can be cherry picked to debunk just about anything because stats don't tell the whole story. Does a soft red on Kessie show up in PK stats? No. Does the significance of decisions regarding the outcome of a match show up? No.
I won't even argue Juve get favorable refereeing, because I know corruption is rampant and money talks and that includes all big club, so whining is pointless. But to express frustration at matches being ruined by refs is perfectly fair as a football fan
on the 18th January, 2019 at 4:44am
You make some good points, and you always do, but I'm playing devil's advocate because things aren't as black and white as you suggest they are. A global brand like AC Milan cannot and will not simply stop signing players (it doesn't save money btw if the brand is tanking). Milan needs a star, a proven winner, and Higauin was the best Leo could do in the situation he had. Hindsight, its easy to say it was a mistake but the truth is without international stars Milan is not Milan.
on the 18th January, 2019 at 4:35am
We even have people blaming cars now!! Hahaha yes thats what the problem is here people milan lost because Juve paid the ref and the VARS guy with fiats cars and money. Yes thats what happened. Milans superior star studied side was beaten by the worse team in Serie A and the only way for Juve to win was to cheat to beat this unbeatable Milan side.
Wake up PLEASE!!!!
on the 18th January, 2019 at 1:05am
@maldini heir 'Leave an unsettled side they should get better'... if players are rubbish they will remain rubbish there is no point in waiting to see IF they improve. We waited for Balotelli to be great and look what happened there we waited for that Portuguese sausage to become the next Ronaldo and in 8months he didnt score a single goal if he was still here we would still be waiting. You write an essay on every page. Stop blaming refs- if the opposition is bad they are bad plain and simple.
on the 18th January, 2019 at 12:59am
As long as juve has refs on their side,nobody will ever win.
Somebody post some about fiat been a sponsor for la lega calcio Italia. If this is true,how is this possible ?
on the 17th January, 2019 at 11:54pm
way out. Di Francesco, Giampaolo, and Gasperini have potential but they're not there yet. We can talk about stadium ownership and money but that depends on other people. Each club can do something now to fix the situation. Cut back on transfers, consolidate squad sizes down to 23-25 players, get decent managers in (or embrace modern tactics) and generally do more with the resources available. That's what Juve did 10 years ago after they were relegated.
on the 17th January, 2019 at 11:43pm
superior" (see first point). Thirdly the quality of the football in Serie A is really quite poor these days. Teams really struggle to retain possession. Watching matches reminds me of watching English football in the 80s. The amount of long, aimless balls is terrible. Fourthly some of the biggest tactical revolutions in the last 10 years (e.g. tiki taka and gegenpressing) have mostly passed Serie A by. Sarri has been the one breath of fresh air and Allegri is a solid coach. Ancelotti is on his
on the 17th January, 2019 at 11:39pm
This brings me to AC Milan Fan's point about the coaches. Firstly if you look at Serie A team's performances in Europe then the teams are struggling which suggests that either the players and/or the managers aren't at the same level. Secondly, if you look at the number of players who come to Serie A and struggle (like Silva) then again it shows that Serie A coaches are not getting the most out of players (which is the coaches' job). This has got nothing to do with Serie A being "tactically
on the 17th January, 2019 at 11:36pm
If you leave an unsettled side to develop with the right coach then every year it should improve. Sure add one or two signings if they're going to really add something new (like pace at Milan) but these constant signings are just destabilising teams. For a long time Milan seem to have followed the 'Rule of 3'. They have 3 players for every 1 position. When we had Saponara he was buried behind Kaka and Honda. When we had Locatelli he was buried behind Biglia and Montolivo.
on the 17th January, 2019 at 11:34pm
@ PrimoCalcio I get that football is now a business but Serie A is by far the worst league in Europe for transfers. Serve A had over DOUBLE the number of transfers last summer compared to La Liga, Premier League, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga. Serie A had 720 departures and 759 arrivals and those other leagues had closer to 300 with the Bundesliga having 234 and 276. This has got nothing to do with money. Do you know what a really good way of saving money is? Not buying any players.
on the 17th January, 2019 at 11:28pm
Can anyone beat them?
Maybe someone could, but not till the refs stop helping them. The funny thing is , that they do not need it, would win serie a anyway, it would be just closer. And last year Napoli would have won.
on the 17th January, 2019 at 11:15pm
Juve was just better. Milan were ok, sometimes more than that, they had their chances, and the game could well have ended 1-1 after 90 minutes, but it didn't. At the end of the day Juve won it fair. Regarding all the whining about the non-existent penalty and the just use of VAR to send Kessie off, nobody cares about your whining. You remind me of flatearthers, you seem to enjoy indulging in not acknowledging the realities of life, one being that better teams win more often, but not always...
on the 17th January, 2019 at 10:45pm
Some very deluded people on here
on the 17th January, 2019 at 10:10pm
This is still a glorified friendly right as I wasn’t sure with all the emotions running high on here. The absurdity of this game being played now, in Saudi Arabia and even worse having players being suspended for vital league games for both clubs is astounding. Italy really is a country apart. What should have been a season opener, is played after 19 games of the league season has been played. Incredible
on the 17th January, 2019 at 10:06pm

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