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Juventus snaps up Ronaldo in 100 million euro deal

Juventus snaps up Ronaldo in 100 million euro deal

11/07/2018, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 27248732

ROME - The dream has become reality: Cristiano Ronaldo has been signed with Juventus, according to the official communication released by Real Madrid on Tuesday.

 Juventus Football Club has signed the contract with Real Madrid to have the rights to the sporting services of Cristiano Ronaldo for the price of 100 million euros, to be paid over two years. In addition to this, they will be paying 12 million euros to FIFA in solidarity contribution and accessory charges. In the Juventus press release, it was revealed that they had signed a four-year sports performance contract with Ronaldo, lasting until June 30, 2022.

 In a statement released on Tuesday Ronaldo said that although he was sad to leave after nine fantastic years with Real Madrid, “I think the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that's why I asked the club to accept to transfer me.

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Vatican cricket team go to England on interreligious tour

Vatican cricket team go to England on interreligious tour

09/07/2018, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 27227405

ROME - Vatican cricket team are to go on tour in England to promote interreligious dialogue and experience religion through sport.

 Running for the fourth year in a row, the ‘Light of Faith’ tour will take place from July 3 to 15.

 St Peter’s Cricket Club was founded in 2013 and the team is made up students of priesthood in Rome. It is run by the auspices of the pontifical council of culture and was created with the aim of strengthening ecumenical relations via a shared love of cricket.

 The first match of the tour will be played at Stonyhurst College, the prestigious cricket ground in Lancashire which was founded by Jesuits at the end of the sixteenth century.

 On the July 6, the players will play in London against the Archbishop of Canterbury cricket club at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The Archbishop’s team is an interreligious mix of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews.

 Other opponents include the Commonwealth XI club and the Royal Household Cricket Club to be played at Windsor castle. On July 8 they will play at a youth detention centre.

 In the moments when they are not playing, the Vatican team are set to visit a mosque, a Sikh gurdwara, a Hindu temple and a synagogue. The visit aims to strength interreligious relations and highlight the essential role which religion plays in modern society.

 Follow the team’s progress on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vaticancricket?lang=en

 And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vaticancricketclub/

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Vatican cricket team in England on interreligious tour

Vatican cricket team in England on interreligious tour

09/07/2018, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 27227949

ROME - Vatican cricket team are currently on tour in England to promote interreligious dialogue and experience religion through sport.

 Running for the fourth year in a row, the ‘Light of Faith’ tour started on July 3 and goes on until 15.

 St Peter’s Cricket Club was founded in 2013 and the team is made up students of priesthood in Rome. It is run by the auspices of the pontifical council of culture and was created with the aim of strengthening ecumenical relations via a shared love of cricket.

 The first match of the tour will be played at Stonyhurst College, the prestigious cricket ground in Lancashire which was founded by Jesuits at the end of the sixteenth century.

 On the July 6, the players will play in London against the Archbishop of Canterbury cricket club at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The Archbishop’s team is an interreligious mix of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews.

 Other opponents include the Commonwealth XI club and the Royal Household Cricket Club to be played at Windsor castle. On July 8 they will play at a youth detention centre.

 In the moments when they are not playing, the Vatican team are set to visit a mosque, a Sikh gurdwara, a Hindu temple and a synagogue. The visit aims to strength interreligious relations and highlight the essential role which religion plays in modern society.

 Follow the team’s progress on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vaticancricket?lang=en

 And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vaticancricketclub/

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Mancini rebuilding Italian football after Azzurri 'apocalypse'

Mancini rebuilding Italian football after Azzurri 'apocalypse'

06/07/2018, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 27196691
Roberto Mancini is hoping to spark an Italian football renaissance

ROME – Rarely has the top job of this football-obsessed nation held less appeal, but for Roberto Mancini, Italy’s new head coach, the doom and gloom swamping the national team ever since their calamitous World Cup qualifying campaign provides a unique opportunity to breathe new life into the Azzurri.

 Mancini’s journey as Italy coach kicked off with the national team at an all-time low; Italy fell to a 1-0 playoff defeat against Sweden in November last year, denying them of a last-ditch ticket to Russia 2018. For the first time since 1958, the four-time world champions had been forced to take a humiliating sabbatical from the football’s most prestigious tournament.

 ‘Calcio’ fanatics, in turn, found themselves condemned to a subdued, side-lined screening of this year’s enthralling World Cup.

 As the final whistle sounded, confirming Italy’s flopped qualification bid, the inevitable finger-pointing ensued as the cracks of an ageing and poor squad came crumbling down.

 Unsurprisingly, Ventura’s sacking swiftly followed whilst the Italian Football Federation received their fair share of criticism, marking deeper-rooted problems. Several members still need to take a hard look in the mirror if change is to take shape, although Mancini’s appointment does resemble a sense of ambition, which had been severely lacking during the dramatic decline.

 Many called for quotas on foreign players in the Serie A as cynical fans highlighted the country’s ‘talent drain’, lacking any exciting, world-class prospects. Arguments failed to stack up, however, with both Portugal (who won Euro 2016) and Germany (who won the 2014 World Cup) hosting a higher percentage of overseas players that Italy. Likewise, the Premier League dwarfs all leagues in this regard, yet the English national team has witnessed a recent surge in emerging home-grown talent.

 Instead, the Federation must tackle massively underfunded youth academies which find themselves in desperate need of development and investment.

 Yet, what had been a steadily declining squad has now, albeit partially involuntary, hit a sudden turning point. The colossal disaster of missing out on the World Cup may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, no matter how painful, allowing Mancini to rebuild the foundations of Italian football.

 Most of the remaining old guard are arriving at the twilight stage of their careers, and as such won’t be at their peak in two years’ time for the Euros, whilst the nation has bid farewell to their last three world champions of 2006 – Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi – highlighting the scale of the transition.

 Italy’s glorious past may be overshadowed by a miserable present, but given time, a bright future awaits. The national team has long been crying out for change, and without ready-made stars Mancini has to take the youth route and embrace the rawness of his squad.

 Despite Buffon’s tear-jerking farewell, Italians can largely sleep peacefully knowing that they possess one of the world’s most sought-after young stars. From one Gigi to another; Gianluigi Donnarumma has enormous boots to fill, but is perfectly poised to do so having broken onto the global stage at just 19 years-old, with many regarding him as one of the most promising young Italian players of his generation.

 A series of highbrow blunders may have drawn in the critics, but the talent he possesses in indisputable and he will certainly benefit from tough competition with recent Juventus signing Mattia Perin for a place between sticks.

 Midfield, however, seems to be the part of the field where the national team has struggled desperately – partially due to Ventura’s puzzling selections – but for decades, successful Italian teams have boasted of at least one highly-skilled playmaker to give them an edge: Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero, Francesco Totti and most recently Andrea Pirlo.

 Jorginho has been touted to solve a spineless midfield, filling the palpable void left after Pirlo’s exit, and is expected to pull the strings in the centre of the park for many years to come. The versatile playmaker was pivotal in Napoli’s refreshing, attractive style of football last season, which took them agonisingly close to a first Serie A title since 1990.

 Still under 24-years-old, Mattia Caldara, Daniele Rugani and Alessio Romagnoli will flourish as the key stone of a new-look defence, pushing to transcend to a world class level as they begin to play lead roles at their respective clubs.

 Similar rebuilding tasks, from the bottom up, were required after the 1974 and 1986 World Cups, with several great players emerging, and two semi-final appearances at the most recent Under 20 and Under 21 World Cups confirm that there is light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how faint it currently seems.

 Mancini appears to have taken a much more open-minded approach to his predecessors. The failures of Ventura are blindingly obvious, but even Antonio Conte, despite all his success, can be held culpable for his dogmatic approach, and at times blinkered selections, overlooking the vast young talent and stifling inexperienced players.

 The new national coach wasn’t afraid to experiment against a world-class French line-up, handing debuts to three new promising youngsters. This bold, long-term approach, a strategy which Ventura could only dream of conjuring up, is not only refreshing after such a turbulent spell, but also precisely what Italy need to take steady, progressive steps.

 Mancini also appears to have brought clarity to the lingering Mario Balotelli debate. Maligned in the past, but now somewhat matured, the maverick striker hadn’t featured for the Azzurri since the 2014 World Cup, but in recent years has shown signs of experience and marked his long overdue recall with a brilliant solo goal, complimenting a menacing display.

 In many ways, Balotelli is exactly what the monotonous Ventura-led side needed. In three hours of mind-numbing football against an unspectacular Sweden the toothless Italians couldn’t manage a single goal – the fact they only netted three times in their final six qualifying games, against Israel, Macedonia and Albania, does little to suggest this was a one-off.

 Similarly, Lorenzo Insigne who was continuously disregarded, or played out of position, is set for a revival under the new system and is widely seen as Italy’s most creative player – one of few with genuine flair.

 In his first press conference, an enthusiastic Mancini told journalists that he would “bring Italy back to the top of the world and Europe,” citing his managerial role as a chance to fulfil a life-long dream of lifting the World Cup.

 Whilst, for now, this may seem far-off fantasy, Italian football is far from dead.

 The Mancini era is filled with promise, but supporters have to be patient and realistic. He must be given time to see through extensive renovations or the Azzurri risk an excruciating return to square-one.

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Alessandro Florenzi after Italy’s failed World Cup qualification bid
Gianluigi Donnarumma (left) training with his mentor, legendary keeper Gianluigi Buffon


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Juventus close in on Ronaldo swoop

Juventus close in on Ronaldo swoop

06/07/2018, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 27194676

TURIN – Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was reportedly close to sealing a move to Italian giants Juventus on Friday, whilst former general director of the Bianconeri even claimed the deal had been completed.

 The Turin club are said to be prepared to break 100 million euros in order to lure the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to the Allianz Stadium, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to ever grace the game and is Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer with 451 goals.

 However, Los Blancos are looking to overhaul their squad after finishing a whopping 17 points behind La Liga rivals Barcelona, and the sudden departure of former manager Zinedine Zidane, despite an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League triumph, has signalled a drastic refurbishment in Madrid.

 Ronaldo, whose stoppage-time penalty knocked Juventus out of last season’s Champions League, is seemingly very keen on a move to Turin and has emphasised the mutual respect he shares with the Juve faithful having received a standing-ovation after scoring a stunning bicycle kick at the Allianz Stadium.

 “Cristiano Ronaldo has already signed and has passed a medical in Munich,” Juventus’ former general director Luciano Moggi tweeted on Thursday, adding that he had “spoken to important people” in the club.

 The wages of the 33-year-old Portuguese forward are likely to cause issues as discussions unravel. Juve would reportedly need to quadruple the wages of current highest earner Gonzalo Higuain in order to bring the Ronaldo to the Serie A. Despite the Turin club’s share price rocketing 20 percent last week, Juve will most likely have to balance their books with Higuain or Paolo Dybala touted for an exit.

 Transfer speculation rapidly gained momentum after Ronaldo, who is never far from the cameras, was left out of a Real Madrid’s advert, publicising their strip from for the upcoming season with images of Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Marco Asensio and Tony Kroos.

 Ronaldo’s unhappiness at Real seems a topic that resurfaces each year, but the reaction of the Spanish press suggests the Madrid club are finally ready to let go of their superstar.

 Spanish sports paper ‘La Marca’ said that, amid persistent tension between Ronaldo and club president Florentino Perez, the former had been insulted by Madrid’s decision to reduce his release clause from 1,000 to 100 million euros and the players agent had effectively ended his spell in Madrid. Portuguese newspaper ‘A Bola’ also highlighted Ronaldo’s desire to leave whilst his battle with the Spanish tax authorities lingers.

 It has been five years since Real Madrid broke the then world record fee for Gareth Bale, splashing out 91 million euros, and it is clear that should Ronaldo’s transfer go through, Perez wouldn’t hold back in his recruitment of new stars, with the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe immediately offering a mouth-watering prospect for Madridistas.

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Five Star gambling curb 'threatens football industry in Italy'

Five Star gambling curb 'threatens football industry in Italy'

05/07/2018, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 27177382
Amendola as the face of a well-known betting agency

ROME - Bans on gambling advertising have been launched by Di Maio as of Tuesday as part of the Dignity decree, in a bid to limit the strong public presence of betting agencies in Italy. The ban means that betting agencies will no longer be able to advertise on Serie A footballers’ shirts, or anywhere else in the media. Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said  “Enough with all these celebrity endorsements sponsoring betting websites,” as the ban is also to restrict Italian public figures from appearing on gambling adverts.

 Claudio Amendola, the star of “Cesaroni”, is the face of a well-known betting website and was among the first to speak out against the new ban. Amendola launched a complaint against the Five Star movement, on account of the decision being “seriously detrimental to [his] image”.

 It was just a week ago that Beppe Grillo attacked Amendola for his endorsement of gambling brands, calling him “an exponent of the frou frou left… one who campaigns by endorsing gambling and wishes us every possible evil”. For this reason, the government’s gambling ban could be seen as a double attack; in general, against celebrity gambling endorsement, but also against the opponents to the new government.

 In defence of Amendola, a screenshot of Grillo’s campaign blog from 2013 was published by Leu Nicola Fratoianni, secretary of the Italian Leftist party, showing how the site was full of betting agency adverts as well as those from online trading banks.

 The turnover from gambling in Italy in 2016 amounted to 96 billion euros, with Italians spending an average of almost 1,500 euros per person per year on gambling. This makes Italy the world’s fourth-largest gambling market, according to games industry news agency Agimeg. The problem is "no less pernicious than alcohol and drug addiction," said PM Conte. 

 Di Maio’s new ban is also attracting a positive response, as Italy has recognised its growing gambling problem for many years but has made little progress to counteract it. In 2016,  Renzi’s government attempted to slash the number of slot machines found in public spaces by a third. However, such attempts have often been abandoned due to the enormous revenue that gambling brings to the State, helping to keep the country afloat during times of severe deficit.

 Indeed, with Di Maio’s decision, “there are thousands of jobs at risk” according to Serie A football managers; last season alone, 12 out of 20 Serie A teams had sponsorship deals with the gambling sector. The government has been criticised for its quick approval of the decree, as was effectuated without a proper consultation from unions and business associations. A decree law is a legislative instrument which activated for reasons of urgency: it immediately comes into effect, but must be confirmed by Parliament, and possibly amended, within 60 days.

 According to the League, “The Italian State could lose up to 700 million euros in revenue over the next three years,” as a result of the ban. Despite this intimidating figure, the government has followed through with its promises to tackle Italy’s gambling addiction.

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New gambling restrictions threaten football industry in Italy

New gambling restrictions threaten football industry in Italy

05/07/2018, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 27176710
Amendola as the face of a well-known betting agency

ROME - Bans on gambling advertising have been launched by Di Maio as of Tuesday as part of the "dignity" decree, in a bid to limit the strong public presence of betting agencies in Italy.

 The ban means that betting agencies will no longer be able to advertise on Serie A footballers’ shirts, or anywhere else in the media. Di Maio also said on Tuesday: “Enough with all these celebrity endorsements sponsoring betting websites,” as the ban is also to restrict Italian public figures from appearing on gambling adverts.

 Claudio Amendola, the star of “Cesaroni”, is the face of a well-known betting website and was among the first to speak out against the new ban. Amendola launched a complaint against the Five Star movement, on account of the decision being “seriously detrimental to [his] image”.

 It was just a week ago that Beppe Grillo attacked Amendola for his endorsement of gambling brands, calling him “an exponent of the frou frou left… one who campaigns by endorsing gambling and wishes us every possible evil”. For this reason, the government’s gambling ban could be seen as a double attack; in general, against celebrity gambling endorsement, but also against the opponents to the new government.

 In defence of Amendola, a screenshot of Grillo’s campaign blog from 2013 was published by Leu Nicola Fratoianni, secretary of the Italian Leftist party, showing how the site was full of betting agency adverts as well as those from online trading banks.

 The turnover from gambling in Italy in 2016 amounted to 96 billion euros, with Italians spending an average of almost 1,500 euros per person per year on gambling. This makes Italy the world’s fourth-largest gambling market, according to games industry news agency Agimeg.

 Di Maio’s new ban is also attracting a positive response, as Italy has recognised its growing gambling problem for many years but has made little progress to counteract it. In 2016,  Renzi’s government attempted to slash the number of slot machines found in public spaces by a third. However, such attempts have often been abandoned due to the enormous revenue that gambling brings to the State, helping to keep the country afloat during times of severe deficit.

 Indeed, with Di Maio’s decision, “there are thousands of jobs at risk” according to Serie A football managers; last season alone, 12 out of 20 Serie A teams had sponsorship deals with the gambling sector. The government has been criticised for its quick approval of the decree, as was effectuated without a proper consultation from unions and business associations. A decree law is a legislative instrument which activated for reasons of urgency: it immediately comes into effect, but must be confirmed by Parliament, and possibly amended, within 60 days.

 According to the League, “The Italian State could lose up to 700 million euros in revenue over the next three years,” as a result of the ban. Despite this intimidating figure, the government has followed through with its promises to tackle Italy’s gambling addiction.

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Molinari runs away with historic PGA Tour win

Molinari runs away with historic PGA Tour win

03/07/2018, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 27155894

ROME – Francesco Molinari ended Italian golf’s 71-year wait for a PGA Tour title, shooting a final-day score of 62 to finish 21 under par at the Quicken Loans National in Maryland.

 The 35-year old saw off competition from Tiger Woods with a stunning decisive round on Sunday to finish eight shots ahead of his rivals and claim victory on the golfing world’s most prestigious circuit. Molinari became Italy’s first success story on US soil since Naples-born Toney Penna won at the Atlanta Open in 1947.

 The Italian carded six birdies and sunk a 50-foot putt for eagle at the 10th, effortlessly brushing aside competition as he narrowed in on his first PGA Tour triumph, which joins his five European Tour victories.

 “What Francesco has done is phenomenal,” said 14-time major winner Tiger Woods who couldn’t keep up with the pace of the Italian, despite recording his second-best result of the season.

 “I told him that the secret is pasta,” Molinari replied. “This victory is special. We hope there are more coming,” he added. “I’m very proud of the way I played, some of my best golf. It is difficult to play better than this.”

 The Italian had been weighing up whether to compete in Maryland or head over to the more lucrative French Open as part of the European Tour, but it seems his choice paid off.

 “I came here obviously because I was right on the bubble in the FedEx and I wanted to gain a better position, so I guess job done,” Molinari said, emphasising the mental strength he needed to see out victory.

 “It was [a big risk], but the risk on the other side was I was 123rd on the FedEx Cup. When you play two tours, you need to balance the two things.”

 “It wasn't an easy decision, I thought until the last minute whether to go to France or to come here but seems like it was the right choice in the end.”

 Looking to maintain this rich vein of form, Molinari will stay in the US for the John Deere Classic before jetting over to Scotland and turning his attention to The Open Championship at Carnoustie.

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Italian gold medalists brought into anti-immigration dispute

Italian gold medalists brought into anti-immigration dispute

03/07/2018, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 27155895
The photo of the 4x100 champions has been shared thousands of times across social media platforms

 SPAIN - The 4×400m girls won gold for Italy at the Mediterranean Games on Saturday night, this year taking place in Tarragona, Spain. Mariabenedicta Chigbolu, Ayomide Folorunso, Raffaella Lukundo and Libania Grenot finished first with the time of 3:28:08, a whole second ahead of France.  

 The victory photo of the girls holding the Italian flag on the track has been shared thousands of times across social media, as well as by several Italian politicians and public figures. Roberto Saviano praised the athletes via Twitter, sharing the photo with the caption: “Their smiles are the answer to the racist Italy of Pontida. A multicultural Italy born from the republican dream will not be lost.”

 The athletics news comes in the same weekend as the rally at Pontida, where Salvini spoke before thousands to call for a Europe-wide alliance against mass immigration in order to build “a proud Italy, afraid of nothing and no one.”

 Matteo Renzi shared the photo of the 4x100 runners, with the caption: “The best news of yesterday comes from the Mediterranean Games and not from Pontida. Here is the real “fearless Italy” #ItaliansFirst. Happy July, friends”, using Salvini’s slogan ironically.

 The League minister Gianmarco Centinaio joined in on the social media storm to call out Saviano and Renzi as “parlor politicians” via Twitter and accused them of being the “real racists” by pointing out the athletes’ ethnicity: “156 medals won by Italy at the Mediterranean Games, but Saviano and the PD can only remember the one won by the athletes of colour.

 Matteo Salvini also had something to tweet about the winning athletes: "Very well done, I would like to meet them in person to congratulate them…. The problem in Italy is the presence of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who did not run away from war. But we do not have a problem with girls and boys who, regardless of skin colour, make our country stronger. Well done girls!!!

 Chigbolu, Grenot and Folorunso represented Italy at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where they placed sixth. Grenot is the European champion in the solo 400m and the first Italian woman to win an international track title in over 70 years.

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