Monday September 17 2012
Is Jovetic the last star?

Stevan Jovetic again highlighted his class this weekend. Giancarlo Rinaldi wraps up the Week 3 Serie A action.

After a summer when so many fine footballers dashed for the emergency exits it has been easy to feel sorry for Serie A. The profile of Italian sides in Europe currently sits a little lower than Sebastian Giovinco’s centre of gravity. And yet the weekend brought a sprinkle of stardust in the shadow of the Fiesole hills.  Might Stevan Jovetic be one of the last top players still plying his trade in Italy?

He gave a virtuoso performance against a stuffy Catania side. There were flicks, chips, a goal and an assist as he powered his way to the top of the scoring charts. It looks like one of the best signings of the summer was when Andrea Della Valle convinced the Montenegrin to stay put and resist whatever overtures came his way.

His goal to break the deadlock at the Artemio Franchi was a piece of pinpoint accuracy in a game that threatened to drift into stalemate. That is what a fuoriclasse can give to a team. Suddenly, everything looked a whole lot easier for this completely revamped Viola side.

His assist to put the Florentines out of sight was the stuff that dreams are made of. Luca Toni, back after five years away, dedicated his simple tap-in goal to a son stillborn just a few months ago. There was scarcely a dry eye in the stadium.

Other teams, of course, can rightly argue that they have stars just as watchable as Jovetic. High-flying Lazio have their Brazilian ace Hernanes to thank for their wonderful start to the campaign after such an apparently pitiful pre-season. He was in fine form once again as Chievo were dumped with ease at Sunday lunchtime. The last time the Biancocelesti won their first three Serie A matches was when they were reigning champions of Italy in 1974.

And in Naples, too, they go understandably crazy for Edinson Cavani and new flame Lorenzo Insigne. Both of them were on the mark as Parma were being swept aside. What better way for Walter Mazzarri to celebrate his 300th match in charge in Italy’s top Division? And, although he would never admit it, it was another step closer to a first credible Scudetto challenge in a couple of decades.

Just like Fiorentina, Juventus also had to look to Montenegro – England be warned – for their weekend saviour. Having slipped behind to their old boy Ciro Immobile, they steamrollered back against Genoa thanks to Mirko Vucinic. He set up a couple of goals and scored a penalty to ensure the Bianconeri continued to share the pacemaking duties at the top of the table. Maybe only Champions League duty can slow their stride.

And a couple of their crown jewels got Inter through a potentially tricky trip to face a gritty Torino side. Diego Milito produced a lovely finish to put the Nerazzurri in the driving seat. Then they withstood some impressive Granata pressure before Antonio Cassano delivered the coup de grace. It might not have been an overwhelming display by the Milanese side, but they were pretty clinical in their finishing when chances fell to their key players.

In fact, everywhere you looked there were some star men still strutting their stuff. Maxi Lopez helping high-flying Sampdoria to a win which would have put them joint-top of the table without a point penalty, Alberto Gilardino back among the goals to snatch a shock win for Bologna and Toto Di Natale striking yet again but having to settle for a draw away to Siena. Maybe, when you scratch the surface, there are still a few players who can make you sit up and take notice.

But the deepest despair in Italy at the moment is probably at the side which sold the biggest stars in the summer. Adriano Galliani has been trying to put a brave face on it but, so far, things have turned out to be even worse than many followers of the Milan feared. A home defeat by Atalanta was another miserable night for Max Allegri’s men as they had plenty of pressure, but precious few ideas. The Ibra and Thiago Silva nostalgia just grows and grows. This week’s Champions League clash with Anderlecht already has a make-or-break look about it.

Meanwhile, the least-surprising news of the weekend was the departure of Giuseppe Sannino from the Palermo hotseat. Clearly desperate not to see anyone steal his thunder, Maurizio Zamparini got his first Coach-sacking of the season done with just three matches gone. No doubt there will be more to follow as the year progresses. At least that is clearly still one area in which Italian football remains among the world-leaders.

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Have your say...
Just a quick note: a few people are listing Ricky Alvarez as a potential star - as an Inter fan I had high hopes for him, but he looks too ponderous to be a top player. I imagine he will quietly leave in the summer, though I hope he proves me wrong.
on the 22nd September, 2012 at 1:21pm
Milito is always forgotten!

Italy has lost two stars this summer and no new ones have come in.

Milito, Sneijder, Jovetic, Pato (if he plays!), Pirlo, Buffon, Totti (maybe not anymore), De Rossi, Cavani.

I worry that it would have been better for Serie A if Jovetic had gone to Juve this summer rather than going abroad next summer when his pricetag rises above Juve's means.
on the 21st September, 2012 at 8:15pm
Jovetic, Cavani, and Hernanes are it. Totti, Pirlo are old and easily controlled by competent tacticians. Defenders and midfield destroyers are not top players.
on the 19th September, 2012 at 11:05pm

Leave Nationality out of it? Why the hell would I do that? This is about representing your league. Juve fielded 10 players in the starting 11 against Genoa last Sunday. That is beautiful. That is the only reason Spain has had the success that it's had the last 4 years. All Barca and Real players playing together. That is the way it's supposed to be. 3 foreigners maximum. Arsenal field almost no English players and their league is better but their players are technically crap.
on the 19th September, 2012 at 12:59am
Cavani, Pirlo, Hamsik, Sneijder, De Rossi... still a few others left. It wouldn't be so bad if Italian clubs would fill the void with young Italian players to give the Azzurri a chance, but instead many buy up second rate foreign players who are neither good enough to make Italian clubs competitive or good enough to benefit the Italian players around them. See Udinese and Inter.
on the 18th September, 2012 at 9:15pm
jovetic may not be the last star BUT is defintaely a star, what i dislike most right now in italy is this obsession of medium clubs to sell off players like Jovetic to any foreign club as long as NOT Juventus or even inter and milan, even at lower prices, this is all envy and is not right JOvetic CANNOT stay in florence forever come on!!! sorry but this is the laws of economics + HISTORY..
on the 18th September, 2012 at 3:02pm
Yeah, Juventus' and their 2nd best Midfield in the World, is starless.
So, is there defense, w/ Chiellini and Buffon...
De Rossi could play for anyone, as could Cavani.
on the 18th September, 2012 at 2:56pm
@Rocke you mentioned some pretty average players in your list, clearly a Juve fan...and missed out some true quality players! Pato, Montolivo, Milito, Zanetti, Coutinho, Cassano, W.Samuel, A. Perriera, F.Guarin, R.Alvarez, Juan Jesus, Di Natale and Dick Van Dyke! I mean Diamanti, Vicinic, Florenzi, Poli...stars!? Lmao I have included 'Up and coming' so do not blame Editor for missing them but you take the biscuit!
on the 18th September, 2012 at 9:37am
Your final comment about Italy staying as the world leader in the number of and rapidity with which coaches are sacked as a sad indication of why it has declined so much in recent years. A country whose culture is solely based on results rather than performance is what causes this. After all there is a reason why teams which play awful football but get results domestically then get regularly knocked out of Europe by teams who do not do great in their own leagues.
on the 18th September, 2012 at 8:44am
When Giancarlo, who has forgotten more than any of the correspondents on here might think they know says Jovetic is the last star then Jovetic is the last star. period. Like the man himself who watched Antognoni through wire fences at the Tuscan pre-season camp he has seen it all and I trust in Mr G
on the 18th September, 2012 at 8:20am
we are still among the top in regards of talent across the league and i would say the top with talent in the coaching department.Serie A's problem is that they dont like to sell big stars to other italian teams so obviously all the superstars we produce ie jovetic will go abroad instead of stay in italy and simply go to a bigger italian club ie juve. just like cavani would have gone to man city over juve cause de laurentis hates juve .
on the 18th September, 2012 at 7:55am
Aside from Jovetic

GK: BUFFON, Handanovic, S. Romero, Stekelenburg
DF: CHIELLINI, Barzagli, Bonucci, Ranocchia, Ogbonna
FB: LICHTSTEINER, Balzaretti, Armero, Maggio
MF: PIRLO, DE ROSSI, VIDAL, MARCHISIO, Asamoah, Sneidjer, Hamsik, Hernanes, Poli, Florenzi
FW: TOTTI, CAVANI, Insigne, Vucinic, Giovinco, Osvaldo, Destro, Diamanti, Immobile

CAPITAL mentions = Amongst the current best players in the world on their positions / Legendary top player.

on the 17th September, 2012 at 9:09pm
Footballers go where the money is,serie a needs to get the stadium situation sorted out. Every team should own the stadium they play in so they make more profits off the ticket sale revenue and also be able to build the stadiums to be a modern and to be family friendly.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 8:48pm
Is this a serious blog or one just trying to gauge how ridiculous a statement like that can be?
on the 17th September, 2012 at 8:33pm
@ Franco B

Its not about fielding italian players in the starting 11 it's about winning. Better for you country? Isnt football bout being winning and getting entertained??

Love how italians are more concerned about having 11 italian players fielded then actually winning the game.

In Football we're all from the same country except for brief tourneys such as wc an ec.

Leave nationality out of it.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 8:28pm
Jovetic the last top player? Please watch Serie A carefully before you make such stupid statements. Cavani, Vidal, Pirlo, Buffon, Chiellini, Asamoah, Boateng, Hernanes, De Rossi, Lamela, Lichtsteiner, Sneijder, Handanovic and Guarin. You call the sub-top players? On their position they belong to the very best. If you don't realise it please stop writing articles. Btw, Lorenzo Insigne will become as good as Hazard.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 6:51pm
not bad for a fledgling league I guess.. A World Cup Trophy in 2006, 2 Champions League titles (Milan, 2005 and Inter 2010) and Euro's finals appearance.. I'd say we're still doing OK in an era thats considered a down period for us.. We'll be back, once we re-vamp stadiums and eliminate the Ultra's problem.. Football works in cycles and Italy will always be a country at the fore front.. Football is a religion in Italy and with a population of over 60 million, we'll always be churning out talent
on the 17th September, 2012 at 6:38pm
Interesting article but frankly somewhat sensationalist. Serie A was great last season amongst a resurgence and expect more quality this year. Last star... doubt it

Eventually the teams will get their house in order and hopefully serie a will get some pointers from epl to become a great league again internationally.

first start, translate everything into english!!
on the 17th September, 2012 at 4:32pm
Keep on saying all this but let me tell you one thing Mr. Editor, serie a is still THE MOSt EXCITING league in the world where:-
1. A team like Juventus with their lion like coach can go undefeated the whole season and win against super star team of Milan.
2. A team like Napoli with their counterattacking skills surprise the whole of europe.
3. A team like Inter sell almost all of their treble winning stars in just 1 month and still play like champions.
4. A team like florentina assemble almost a new team and fend off interest from chelsea, mancity and juve for jovetic.
5. A team like Udinese who again sell their stars and in the end again end up in CL.
6. A team like Roma who have perhaps the most attacking coach of all time and plays with formation of 2-1-7
7. A man Zamparini who is really an enigma.
8. The serie a is the most open league where six teams play for the title unlike in spain where only 2 and in england where only manu, manc and chelsea play for the title.

I know the star attraction is no more in italy and partly due to FIGC and partly due to economic crisis, but what they lack in star power, they make up in team spirit and tricks and licks. No matter what they say, I will always follow serie A and if you guys are not feeling well, just wait for FFP.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 4:31pm
Someone thinks Sneijder is not a top player in Italy or any league.....lmao! Coutinho, Juan Jesus, Ricky Alvarez, Giovinco, Lamela are Italys best youngaters, El Shawaryrawy is a joke! Way over-rated, Milans results thus far say a lot about his quality lol
on the 17th September, 2012 at 4:12pm
I am with Giancarlo. The Serie A is losing its star quality. Sure there are still a few about but its not like in days gone by. Also, the Italian national side used to be much stronger during the 90's when there were a host of top foreigners playing in Italy. So I dont buy it that its better for the Azzurri. Top class foreigners make for better competition which can only help better Italian players.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 3:03pm
I have to admit, the premise of this article is a little strange. "The last star?". Hardly....

The decline of Serie A, although tangible and somewhat real, has been greatly over used, exaggerated, and is becoming trite.

The talent is still plentiful, and I could easily make the argument that the young talent matches/bests that of any other league.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 2:35pm
I disagree, but it's no mystery why Serie A isn't attracting the biggest or best anymore. Don't get me wrong, It's still my favourite league to watch but when you pay players who start like Florenzi $30,000 a season it's no wonder why bigger names are headed to the EPL and La Liga.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 2:09pm
Sneijder, Totti and Pirlo are the serie A's brightest?? I don't think so...maybe at one time. Sneijder is by no means an elite player in any of the top leagues. The ship has sailed on Totti, though he still has "star" status in Italy but nowhere else. That's the problem with Serie A, or should I say it was the problem...all of the top players are aging. With the likes of Gio, El-Shaw, Insigne and Destro coming through now though, the future is bright for Serie A, but as it stands....
on the 17th September, 2012 at 2:04pm
Because of the financial difficulties in Italy atm, Serie A doesn't have as many established world class players like it once had, but the league has got A LOT of young players with HUGE potential to be superstars! I really rate players like Coutinho, Alvarez, Lamela, Viviani, Florenzi, Pjanic, Destro, Insigne, Marrone, Pogba, Immobile, Muriel and etc...
on the 17th September, 2012 at 1:17pm
Last star is a very strange thing to say! Yes, there are less top players than in the past, but the best Serie A 11 would be a match for any other leagues best.

The worry, though, is that he'll be gone in 12 months. Juve are probably the only ones who could afford him and Fiorentina don't look like they want to sell to them.

He, like Cabvani now and Silva before, would be huge losses.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 12:39pm
The word "star" means nothing. All of the Italians of Euro 2012 play in Italy and are worth far more than this English overrated players. If you mean foreign stars.... Vucinic, Asamoah, Snieder, Milito, Cavani, Hamisik and a few others. It's better for our Nazionale, that a player like Lavezzi leaves and we have Insigne instead. Better for our country. England has all foreigners and the only tournament they ever won was that WC in their own backyard. Spain is now adopting the Italian way.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 12:37pm
Been a juve fan it's hard for me to say this but I think Ricky Alvarez in a season or two can be a massive star . huge potential I think he's playing for the wrong half in the San siro
on the 17th September, 2012 at 11:55am
Last star!? Sneijder, Milito, Zanetti, Cassano, Coutinho, Handanovic, Buffon, Chiellini, Pirlo, Pato, Totti, Hernanes, Jovetic....I think you are a little confused between Serie A and The Eredivise! Jovetic plays in Serie A
on the 17th September, 2012 at 11:29am
The Juve team spirit is the star.
on the 17th September, 2012 at 10:26am

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