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At Italian Open tournament, Nadal vies for 10th title

At Italian Open tournament, Nadal vies for 10th title

14/09/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30040810
Rafael Nadal vying for his tenth Italian Open title

 In an exhilarating rite of spring, I often attended the Italian Open.  This year the tournament takes place in mid-September like a farewell to summer, but because of Covid-19 I won’t be there.  Still, I remember years past when I returned to Rome to watch the grueling clay court matches and to participate in the fascinating spectacle that swirls around the periphery of the courts. If a city as multilayered and complex as Rome can be said to have a microcosm, then the Italian Open is it, compressing into a single week the essential elements of a 2,700-year-old metropolis that calls itself eternal, yet displays the frenetic energy of a fruit fly living only for a moment. All the Roman hallmarks are here—dazzling color and motion, dense golden light, copious food and wine, high fashion and low comedy, spontaneous friendship and rabid nationalism, grace under fire and ham-handed evocations of a real and imagined past.

 The tournament site, the Foro Italico, bristles with conflicting signs of order and anarchy. The order is entirely architectural, emphasizing examples of high Fascist style. Built in 1935 during Benito Mussolini’s regime, the structures and statues and a tall obelisk, which still bears Il Duce’s name, were intended to remind the world of the grandeur of ancient Rome, which the dictator was determined to re-create. Instead he led the country onto the losing side of WWII, and the Foro’s broad slabs of marble now serve as benches or as billboards for graffiti.

 The anarchy at the Italian Open doesn’t appear to perturb Italians, but it can be daunting to visiting fans who set a premium on linear reasoning. In the parking lot vehicles follow patterns and jockey for places in a fashion few Americans can imagine.  It’s like a jolly bumper car game.  Then at ticket booths and entry gates, where one expects to see lines, Italians tend to form jostling arabesques.  That won’t be the case this year, however.  Italian authorities have banned spectators from the tournament because of Covid-19.   

 Once past the gates and onto the grounds, the crowd used to spread out and ogle not just the tennis, but the fashion show. It’s hard to say who is more elegantly dressed, the players or the spectators.  Often they wear the same outfits. Designer tennis clothes, in bold stripes or clinging pastels, are synonymous with Italy, and in no place are Fila, Ellesse, and Tacchini products better displayed than at the Foro Italico, where style, the creation of a bella figura, appears to be important to fans and players alike.

 Bordered by Viale delle Olimpiadi and Viale dei Gladiatori, the field courts are set in amphitheaters sunk below street level, and the torrid air that collects in these hollows is thick with pollen, women’s perfume, and the aroma of garlic and oregano from nearby restaurants.  Surrounding Campo Centrale, the main show court, loom massive white marble statues of athletes. Ironically, they are all—even the skier and the ice skater—naked, and after recent renovations added seats at the top of the stadium, the statues appear to be comically inverted Peeping Toms who, while nude themselves, gaze into the bleachers full of completely clothed people.

 On my first trip to the Foro Italico in the late 70s, an immense man with an even more immense voice stood up during change-overs and sang arias.  It was Luciano Pavarotti cheering on Adriano Panatta, then the Italian Number One.  But not all of Pavarotti’s countrymen are as artful at urging on their local heroes, and the history of the Italian Open has been marred by fans flinging seat cushions, soda cans and sandwiches.  On a few notable occasions players have retreated rather than suffer the outrages that the crowd and Italian officials sometimes commit in support of local players. In 1976, Harold Solomon defaulted in the semifinals after getting a string of flagrantly unfair calls. Two years later, José Higueras, a Spaniard with a reputation for impeccable manners, walked off when spectators started hurling insults and coins. A day later, when Adriano Panatta played Bjorn Borg, the Swede held an unassailable advantage. He was used to people throwing money at him. Promoters and advertisers had been doing it for years. When Italian fans slung coins at Borg, he coolly pocketed the loose change and beat Panatta.

 The outside courts lie at the bottom of an enormous oblong cavity styled on the lines of the Circo Massimo, Rome’s ancient chariot racecourse.  In years past,serious fans often remained standing on the walkway encircling the courts. This allowed them to shelterunder the umbrella pines that canopy the footpath. Up there in the shade the air is mild, while down on the courts, during long, hard-fought rallies, players shed rivulets of perspiration that speckle the clay with what looks like blood, calling to mindbullfights. Guillermo Villas, the Argentinian ace, once described the Italian Open in terms worthy of any matador facing death in the afternoon: “The sun is hot. The court is slow. The balls are heavy. It is not easy.”

 In what now seems like a former life fans werefree to retreat from matches and sip Campari and soda.  Inrestaurants on the grounds, they witnesseda different kind of entertainment. Say what you will about Italians and their frequent indifference to northern notions of efficiency, they can certainly choreograph a meal. If the food falls short of gourmet standards, the show is never less than world class. As in France, eating is a religious ritual, but it’s low church rather than high, closer to a fundamentalist revival than to a solemn benediction. Each course is heralded by loud hymns of praise or blame, the clatter of dropped cutlery and plates, the fast-forward ballet of white-jacketed waiters shouting “Momento!” or “Subito!” as they scurry between tables.

 By one of those screwy coincidences that abound in Rome, tennis at the Foro Italico during the 1980s could claim no better than second billing. On Viale delle Olimpiadi, in a gymnasium barricaded by sandbags and surrounded by armored personnel carriers, the Italian murder trial of the century took place over the course of three years.  While players bashed ground strokes back and forth, judges heard evidence against Red Brigades terrorists who kidnapped and assassinated Aldo Moro, the former prime minister. It was almost as if John Hinckley, President Reagan’s would-be assassin, were tried in a locker room at Flushing Meadow during the U.S. Open.  But in Rome nobody seemed to find this bizarre.

 In 2020, with Rafael Nadal vyingfor his tenth Italian Open title, at least one thing might seem utterly predictable.  But in Rome one never knows when some surreal or sublime incident will upset the odds.  I’ll stay tuned on TV thousands of miles away, tensely following what will happen.

------------------------

 Michael Mewshaw’s three non-fiction books about tennis, Short Circuit, Ladies of the Court, and Ad In Ad Out are now available as e-books.

 cc



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Italian Open Update

Italian Open Update

14/09/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30040521
Rafael Nadal vying for his tenth Italian Open title

 In an exhilarating rite of spring, I often attended the Italian Open.  This year the tournament takes place in mid-September like a farewell to summer, but because of Covid-19 I won’t be there.  Still, I remember years past when I returned to Rome to watch the grueling clay court matches and to participate in the fascinating spectacle that swirls around the periphery of the courts. If a city as multilayered and complex as Rome can be said to have a microcosm, then the Italian Open is it, compressing into a single week the essential elements of a 2,700-year-old metropolis that calls itself eternal, yet displays the frenetic energy of a fruit fly living only for a moment. All the Roman hallmarks are here—dazzling color and motion, dense golden light, copious food and wine, high fashion and low comedy, spontaneous friendship and rabid nationalism, grace under fire and ham-handed evocations of a real and imagined past.

 The tournament site, the Foro Italico, bristles with conflicting signs of order and anarchy. The order is entirely architectural, emphasizing examples of high Fascist style. Built in 1935 during Benito Mussolini’s regime, the structures and statues and a tall obelisk, which still bears Il Duce’s name, were intended to remind the world of the grandeur of ancient Rome, which the dictator was determined to re-create. Instead he led the country onto the losing side of WWII, and the Foro’s broad slabs of marble now serve as benches or as billboards for graffiti.

 The anarchy at the Italian Open doesn’t appear to perturb Italians, but it can be daunting to visiting fans who set a premium on linear reasoning. In the parking lot vehicles follow patterns and jockey for places in a fashion few Americans can imagine.  It’s like a jolly bumper car game.  Then at ticket booths and entry gates, where one expects to see lines, Italians tend to form jostling arabesques.  That won’t be the case this year, however.  Italian authorities have banned spectators from the tournament because of Covid-19.   

 Once past the gates and onto the grounds, the crowd used to spread out and ogle not just the tennis, but the fashion show. It’s hard to say who is more elegantly dressed, the players or the spectators.  Often they wear the same outfits. Designer tennis clothes, in bold stripes or clinging pastels, are synonymous with Italy, and in no place are Fila, Ellesse, and Tacchini products better displayed than at the Foro Italico, where style, the creation of a bella figura, appears to be important to fans and players alike.

 Bordered by Viale delle Olimpiadi and Viale dei Gladiatori, the field courts are set in amphitheaters sunk below street level, and the torrid air that collects in these hollows is thick with pollen, women’s perfume, and the aroma of garlic and oregano from nearby restaurants.  Surrounding Campo Centrale, the main show court, loom massive white marble statues of athletes. Ironically, they are all—even the skier and the ice skater—naked, and after recent renovations added seats at the top of the stadium, the statues appear to be comically inverted Peeping Toms who, while nude themselves, gaze into the bleachers full of completely clothed people.

 On my first trip to the Foro Italico in the late 70s, an immense man with an even more immense voice stood up during change-overs and sang arias.  It was Luciano Pavarotti cheering on Adriano Panatta, then the Italian Number One.  But not all of Pavarotti’s countrymen are as artful at urging on their local heroes, and the history of the Italian Open has been marred by fans flinging seat cushions, soda cans and sandwiches.  On a few notable occasions players have retreated rather than suffer the outrages that the crowd and Italian officials sometimes commit in support of local players. In 1976, Harold Solomon defaulted in the semifinals after getting a string of flagrantly unfair calls. Two years later, José Higueras, a Spaniard with a reputation for impeccable manners, walked off when spectators started hurling insults and coins. A day later, when Adriano Panatta played Bjorn Borg, the Swede held an unassailable advantage. He was used to people throwing money at him. Promoters and advertisers had been doing it for years. When Italian fans slung coins at Borg, he coolly pocketed the loose change and beat Panatta.

 The outside courts lie at the bottom of an enormous oblong cavity styled on the lines of the Circo Massimo, Rome’s ancient chariot racecourse.  In years past,serious fans often remained standing on the walkway encircling the courts. This allowed them to shelterunder the umbrella pines that canopy the footpath. Up there in the shade the air is mild, while down on the courts, during long, hard-fought rallies, players shed rivulets of perspiration that speckle the clay with what looks like blood, calling to mindbullfights. Guillermo Villas, the Argentinian ace, once described the Italian Open in terms worthy of any matador facing death in the afternoon: “The sun is hot. The court is slow. The balls are heavy. It is not easy.”

 In what now seems like a former life fans werefree to retreat from matches and sip Campari and soda.  Inrestaurants on the grounds, they witnesseda different kind of entertainment. Say what you will about Italians and their frequent indifference to northern notions of efficiency, they can certainly choreograph a meal. If the food falls short of gourmet standards, the show is never less than world class. As in France, eating is a religious ritual, but it’s low church rather than high, closer to a fundamentalist revival than to a solemn benediction. Each course is heralded by loud hymns of praise or blame, the clatter of dropped cutlery and plates, the fast-forward ballet of white-jacketed waiters shouting “Momento!” or “Subito!” as they scurry between tables.

 By one of those screwy coincidences that abound in Rome, tennis at the Foro Italico during the 1980s could claim no better than second billing. On Viale delle Olimpiadi, in a gymnasium barricaded by sandbags and surrounded by armored personnel carriers, the Italian murder trial of the century took place over the course of three years.  While players bashed ground strokes back and forth, judges heard evidence against Red Brigades terrorists who kidnapped and assassinated Aldo Moro, the former prime minister. It was almost as if John Hinckley, President Reagan’s would-be assassin, were tried in a locker room at Flushing Meadow during the U.S. Open.  But in Rome nobody seemed to find this bizarre.

 In 2020, with Rafael Nadal vyingfor his tenth Italian Open title, at least one thingmight seem utterly predictable.  But in Rome one never knows when some surreal or sublime incident will upset the odds.  I’ll stay tuned on TV thousands of miles away, tensely following what will happen.

------------------------

 Michael Mewshaw’s three non-fiction books about tennis, Short Circuit, Ladies of the Court, and Ad In Ad Out are now available as e-books.

 cc



http://www.italianinsider.it/?q=node/9473
Q8 Hi Perform win race at Imola

Q8 Hi Perform win race at Imola

01/09/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30018585
David Fumanelli

IMOLA - Team Q8 Hi Perform continued their run of success in the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia as David Fumanelli got their first win on the course at Imola.

The weekend of the Imola race started in the best possible way for the Q8 Hi Perform team. Fumanelli set the best time in the qualifiers, finishing the Individual Time Trial with 1’43”305, thus beating the 2019 record set by Tommasso Mosca and most importantly winning two extra points for having achieved pole position.

 Fumanelli raced without hesitation and led the entire race from the start and even posted the fastest lap time of the whole race. The achievement of first place, pole position and the fastest lap mean that he has achieved 23 points.

 On Sunday however, Fumanelli had to come back, having to go off the track with an ABS problem and only returning in tenth place, pulling his way back to fifth with the fastest lap of the race once more. Speaking after the race, Fumanelli said “I’m coming back from Imola with the joy of having at last given team Q8 Hi Perform our first pole position and victory, as a testament to the great work done up to this point.”

The Porsche Carrera Cup Italia now moves on from Imola to Vallelunga with races on Sep. 19 and 20 on the “Piero Taruffi” track.

jhh



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Messi may be tempted to Italy by tax benefits

Messi may be tempted to Italy by tax benefits

31/08/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30017099

ROME – The ongoing questions around the superstar footballer Lionel Messi's next club may be answered by a move to Italy due to the country’s tax benefits for the super-rich, according to La Repubblica. 

 After announcing on Tuesday that he desired to activate a clause in his contract and thereby leave his club of 19 years, Barcelona, Lionel Messi, 33, has sparked the interest of all big clubs around the world. The clause, if applicable, would entitle the Argentine to depart for free from Spain and European heavyweights such as Manchester City and United, Paris Saint Germain, and Italy’s Inter and Juventus are all reportedly weighing up the prospect.  

 The reason many Italian football fans believe and hope that Messi may opt for a move to Juve or Inter, is that like his Portuguese foil Ronaldo, the tax benefits would be enormous. In 2017, a financial law was introduced that would mean that the super-rich can pay a maximum of 100,000 euros of earnings from outside Italy, which would apply to many of Messi’s sponsorship deals, and there are many given he has the eighth most followers on Instagram in the world.

 The Italian club most likely to secure an historic deal for the player many consider the greatest to play the game are Inter Milan, whose Chinese chairman Steven Zhang, 28, is eyeing up a statement signing never before seen in the world of football. Earlier this year, a stunt was organised to portray the silhouette of the Argentine’s signature celebration onto the façade of Milan’s famous Duomo in a promotion bid for a game between Inter and Napoli. Ever since then, fanciful rumours of a deal to secure the influence of Chinese soft power in European football, bringing the world’s highest paid athlete to Inter Milan, have been rife in Italian media. The suitability of a free-playing and highly creative player into a team managed by the rigid and defensive Antonio Conte, however, suggests round pegs and square holes.

 A more likely fit tactically for Messi on Italian turf is the nation’s super-club and consecutive nine-time league winners, Juventus, managed by famously elegant ex-midfielder Andrea Pirlo. Although Pirlo has 10-days of professional coaching experience, his side’s 4-3-3 formation, and possessive style would suit the increasingly stingy energy reserves of Messi, who would likely have far more freedom to involve himself in the game at his disposal, the way he has operated in the latter years of his career in Barcelona.

 The most tantalising prospect of a move to Turin is however, the possibility of Messi’s lining up alongside rival megastar and five-time Ballon D’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo. Perhaps it is the stuff of schoolchildren’s imagination, but the financial benefits through sponsorship would mean the enormous seven and eight-figure wages for the two greatest footballers of the modern age, might be far more manageable. Added to that is the fact that Juventus’s team sponsor is Adidas, whose pinup is Messi himself. Indeed, after the landmark signing of Ronaldo in 2018, much of the output of the 100 million euro transfer and enormous wage packet was invested with the provisory hope of shirt sales and a worldwide boost to the club’s status. The potential benefit of both Messi and Ronaldo appearing in the same team would exponentially increase all those financial and brand advantages while immediately placing the Juventus team in the history books.  

 The future for Messi is all but certain however, as both FC Barcelona and the Spanish League, La Liga, have stated that he did not inform the club of his wishes before the clause’s stated date of June 10, meant to signify the end of the season. Messi is arguing that this date would necessarily be changed due to the significant extension of the season due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and that his submission of departure by Burofax on Aug. 25 is therefore valid. It is clear that the six-time Ballon D’Or winner is unlikely to budge from his position, especially given that he did not appear for the beginning of season Coronavirus testing at Barcelona yesterday, meaning that he will not participate in the club’s pre-season training.

 Despite the excitement of fans around Europe that hope that Messi might come to their country’s league let alone their club, Italy’s chances are slim at this current moment. Manchester City are outright favourites to capture the Argentine as a result of their manager, Pep Guardiola, and his links with Messi, having overseen his stratospheric rise from Beatle-haired teenager to global goal juggernaut while manager of Barcelona a decade ago. Furthermore, City are owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Group, while the other frontrunners PSG have the weight of Qatari finances to help offset the considerable sums that the world’s highest paid footballer would demand. However, the statement from La Liga on Sunday that sided with Barcelona’s board on the clausular debate, unsurprising given the importance of Messi to the league’s brand, has further muddied waters and dampened any immediate hopes of any imminent and historic transfer.  

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi faced off in La Liga
Pep Guardiola instructs Messi while Barcelona manager


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Basketball to host first Italian sports fans

Basketball to host first Italian sports fans

28/08/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30012308
Olimpia Milano face off against Cantù to empty stands

ROME – After Thursday’s Italian Basketball Supercup, the game prepares to house fans in stadiums for the first time since the Coronavirus lockdown.

 On Saturday evening, the match between Unahotels Reggiana and Fortitudo Bologna will fill 25 per cent of the seats of the Unipol Arena in Casalecchio di Reno. The President of the Reggiana team, Veronica Bartoli, described the game as “an historic match…regarding a first big step towards the return to normality.” Bartoli reassured fans that the club “is working intensely to allow all our fans to attend in the utmost safety a sporting event without having to give up the grand emotions that live basketball gives us.”

 On Sunday, fans of Umana Reyer Venezia will be able to attend their game against Treviso, with a reduced capacity of 648 spectators. The first team to announce the attendance of fans in stadiums were Dolomiti Energia Trento, which notified that 500 of their supporters, selected from the 1,000 who applied for priority, would be able to go to the stadium. The general manager of the Trento team, Salvatore Trainotti, said in an interview to Il fatto quotidiano that, “In an arena for 4,000 spectators, the presence of 500 people won’t create any distancing issue.” Speaking of safety measures he would take, he added, “The temperature of all will be measured and an obligatory self-declaration of health will be necessary.”

 The first game in almost six months took place on Thursday as Olimpia Milano beat Cantù 101-71 to win the Italian Supercup. There were fears that the game might not have gone ahead after a player from Olimpia Milano tested positive for Covid-19.

jhh



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Conte decides to stay at Inter, Messi a target

Conte decides to stay at Inter, Messi a target

26/08/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30009222
Conte with Inter team after defeat to Sevilla

ROME – Antonio Conte, manager of Inter Milan, will stay at the club after fears were sparked that the manager would leave, reports Il fatto quotidiano.

Conte, 51, had spoken of his desire to leave the club after just a year in charge after Inter’s loss to Sevilla in the Europa League final saying, “I haven’t liked the behaviour of the club.” But on Wednesday it was announced that Conte will remain at Inter at least for the start of the next season after a meeting with club chairman, Steven Zhang.

 In an attempt to resolve the issues surrounding Conte’s time at Inter, the chairman and manager had a face to face that lasted three hours on Tuesday. After the meeting, at around 7 p.m. an official announcement came from the club stating “Today’s meeting between the Club and Antonio Conte was constructive, in the sense of continuity and shared strategy. After this the foundations have been stabilised in order to go on together in the project.”

 After Friday night’s 3-2 defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League final, Conte had worried the club with his honest post-match comments, saying “We didn’t feel protected by the club.” However, Tuesday’s meeting in Somma Lombardo, a province of Varese, has resolved those problems and Zhang announced “Yes, Antonio will stay as the leader of Inter.” The meeting took place almost exactly a year after Conte’s first game on Inter’s sidelines, a 4-0 thrashing of Lecce. Since then, Conte has had a reasonably successful year in charge, finishing second in Serie A and getting to the final of Europe’s second biggest competition, the Europa League.

 Conte is one of Italy’s great modern footballers, having won a Champions League and five Serie A titles with Juventus, a team he also captained. As a manager Conte has three Serie A titles under his belt, as well as a Premier League win with Chelsea. Conte broke records in England, becoming the first manager ever to have won three consecutive Manager of the Month awards and sealing the title with a famous 1-0 win against West Bromwich Albion in 2017.

 Meanwhile, rumours are swirling after potentially football’s biggest announcement in a decade, the handing in of a transfer request by Lionel Messi at Barcelona. There were already hopes that Messi might decide to switch from the decadent F.C. Barcelona side to Inter Milan with chairman Zhang reportedly holding a meeting with the Argentine’s representatives. The revelation on Tuesday that Messi, who many consider the greatest player in history, had asked to leave Barcelona after 19 years there added more credit to the rumour of a swap to Italy than ever. Time will tell, but the prospect of Messi lining up against old foe Cristiano Ronaldo in Italy’s top league has never been so close. On July 28, Inter projected the silhouette of Messi onto Milan's famous Duomo, to advertise a game between Inter and Napoli. 

 

Jhh

The projection of Lionel Messi on Milan's Duomo


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Italian women’s football restarts after lost season

Italian women’s football restarts after lost season

24/08/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30006751
Empoli celebrate scoring in 10-0 win

ROME – Six months after being stopped and never restarted, Italian women’s football began again on Saturday as the new season kicked off.

 Games took place over both days of the weekend with reigning champions Juventus Women winning 2-0 against Verona. Elsewhere, newly promoted Napoli lost out 1-0 to Pink Bari and AS Roma drew 1-1 against Sassuolo. The weekend’s biggest shock however came as San Marino Academy, appearing for the first time in the League, were dismissed 0-10 by Empoli.

 Because of the Coronavirus pandemic last season stopped sixth months ago and, unlike the men’s equivalent there was no restart for the women’s Serie A. The new season has however, also seen the introduction of Fantawomen, the first ever fantasy football game for the Italian women’s league.

jhh



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Inter lose Europa League final to Sevilla

Inter lose Europa League final to Sevilla

22/08/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30004482

COLOGNE – Inter Milan were beaten 3-2 by Sevilla in the Europa League final on Friday, an own-goal deciding the tie.

 The Italian side went ahead early with a penalty in the fifth minute from star Belgian striker, Romelu Lukaku. In an entertaining first-half that saw four goals, Netherlands attacker Luuk de Jong put Sevilla 2-1 up before an equaliser from Inter’s Uruguayan centre back Diego Godín.

 The second half did not maintain the to and fro of the first but Sevilla won their sixth Europa League when Romelu Lukaku deflected into his own net in the seventy fourth minute. Lukaku had a night of mixed fortunes after his early goal continued his record run of eleven consecutive games in which he has scored in the competition. The Belgian’s goal took his season’s tally to 34, the most for an Inter player since Brazilian legend Ronaldo.

 Inter had been hoping to end their nine-year wait for a trophy on Friday night, but were thwarted by the competition’s most-successful side. Sevilla have never lost in a final in this competition and Inter’s woes were increased when manager Antonio Conte, fuelled rumours he might depart the club in his post-match comments. Speaking after the game Conte said “I will always be thankful for the opportunity that’s been given to me, but there are so many things I haven’t liked and I don’t want to have another year like that.”

jhh



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Conte hopes Inter write themselves into history in final

Conte hopes Inter write themselves into history in final

21/08/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30003407
Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte

COLOGNE – Inter Milan manager, Antonio Conte said his “must show we want the cup more than them” in their Europa League final with Sevilla on Friday, in an interview with Sky.

 Conte, 51, is looking to pick up his first-ever trophy in European football with an already impressive pedigree as a manager, winning both Serie A with Juventus and the Premier League with Chelsea. Inter’s first season under Conte has been a success that will be truly memorable if they win on Friday night, as in a press conference on Thursday he reflected “There’s only way to enter the history of a club, win.”

 Sevilla will be stiff opposition however, having played five Europa League finals and returned back to Spain with the trophy on every occasion. Inter’s goalkeeper, the Slovenian Samir Handanovic, said the final should be a “starting point” and that “these matches should become a habit for Inter like they were ten or fifteen years ago.” Inter have not won a trophy for nine years, and have only competed in one European final, the Champions League they won in 2010, since they won the Europa League in 1998, then called the Uefa Cup.

 Inter head into the game on the back of a 5-0 drubbing of Shakhtar Donetsk in which both their star strikers scored two goals. Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian signed for 74 million pounds last summer from Manchester United, has scored in his last ten consecutive games in the competition. He stands on 33 goals for the season and will equal Ronaldo’s record of 34 goals in a single season for the club if he scores on Friday.

jhh



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