I Ragazzi: 7 Young Players Who Could Take Italy to Glory at UEFA Euro 2020

Italy have come a long way since putting out the oldest starting XI at Euro 2016. Well, not in terms of success – they missed out on the 2018 World Cup altogether.

But that near unprecedented crisis set in motion a series of events that have got the Azzurri where they are today – filled with young, strapping lads ready to take on the world. And it wasn’t just the retirement of Gianluigi Buffon that lowered this average. Or Daniele De Rossi. 

Actual exciting young talent has grown aplenty in the proceeding years, leading some bold folk to present them as potential Euro 2020 winners! How you ask? Well, these young guns (anyone under the age of 25, in my book) might help.


Moise Kean

Moise Bioty Kean

Moise Kean has long been touted as one of the potential saviours of Italian football. At the lowest points, it was his name – forged by the brave players of Football Manager? – that helped quell the tears. 

And now here he is, expected to make his second cap. The record breaking brace-scorer for ?Juventus is now well and truly established in the hallowed hues of the Azzurri, and he’s here to stay. Sure, he’s still raw, as that botched one-on-one prior to Cristiano Ronaldo’s clinching penalty against Atletico Madrid showed. But he’s got it.

And that it is what Italy have been missing for some time.


Leonardo Spinazzola

Leonardo Spinazzola

?The man of the hour. Well, maybe not the hour. But at least the most important hour of Italian football in recent times. Yes, Leonardo Spinazzola was the unsung hero of that dramatic night against Los Rojiblancos. Move over, CR7. This is LS37’s time. 

And look, at 25, you may not think Spinazzola’s the springiest of chickens on this list, but thanks to injury issues he’s made less than half the ?Serie A appearances of the only 25-year-old on this list. So, there’s still some spring in that step. And he’ll be 27 by the time the Euros roll around – that’s peak major tournament age. 

Plus, his agent has said he’s better than Alex Sandro. So, yeah. 


Nicolo Zaniolo 

FBL-EUR-C1-ROMA-PORTO

The Culled Kid of Milan has become the Golden Boy of Rome in just a few short months. Incredible. Our introduction to Nicolo Zaniolo may have been brief so far, but there’s no denying his incredible potential. 

With his first cap beckoning, the 19-year-old looks set for plenty more in this Euro 2020 qualifying campaign and, with AS Roma’s prime target this summer just to keep hold of the attacking midfielder, he should be allowed to blossom a little further at the Stadio Olimpico before the brighter lights come calling.


Nicolo Barella

Nicolo Barella

?Poor Jorginho. No sooner was the central midfielder – who has been restricted to just 12 caps in his career – rid of the likes of Andrea Pirlo and De Rossi that Nicolo Barella came through, all ridiculously accomplished and poised and versatile and mature at the age of 22.

But, aside from the Chelsea man’s perspective, Barella’s breakthrough has been a breath of fresh air, tinged with sunshine and rainbows and sardines (Sardinia, innit). And, he’s already been able to translate his easy-going mentality to the international stage, with his debut against Ukraine as good a showcase of his talents as any. 


Federico Bernardeschi 

Federico Bernardeschi

I know we’ve spoken a lot about the so-called MVPs from that Atleti clash, but let’s be real for a second, it was ?Federico Bernardeschi. And that showing was just the tip of the iceberg for the former Fiorentina man this season. He’s been electric. 

Sure, he may not possess the suit-wearing suaveness of the legends that have come ?before him, but he’s got class on the field. And that’s just about enough. I mean sure, it’s not ideal, but it’s enough. At least for Euro 2020 success. So the ?fresh-from-the-plane pics will have to take a back seat. Big deal…*sobs*. 


Federico Chiesa

Federico Chiesa

While he may have been forced to pull out of this particular national team squad through injury, this is not the end of Federico Chiesa. And that is not a hot take. With 31 games played across competitions, he has already doubled his goalscoring tally from last season with 12, as his transfer value continues to skyrocket. 

Though the wait for his first international score is set go on beyond this month, rest assured he will break this duck in the upcoming qualifying campaign. And, if not then, how about mid-July at Wembley Stadium next year?


Patrick Cutrone

Patrik Cutrone

?The only player on this list who is yet to wear the true blue shirt of a fully fledged Italy international, but Patrick Cutrone does not plan on kicking it with the Under-21s for too much longer. 

While his progress at ?Milan may have been curtailed by the arrival of a certain Polish marksman who is incapable of going scoreless in any game ever, he remains a precocious frontman. Besides, word on the street says that he could be used as a makeweight in a deal for the man standing above him here, so, potentially, problem solved. 

Either way, don’t be surprised to see him super-subbing it at the Euros when the time comes.


Let’

Frank de Boer Insists He Failed at Inter Because He Was Forced to Manage a ‘Rotten Group’

?Frank de Boer has insisted that his unsuccessful stint at Inter in 2016 was due to the ‘rotten group’ he was forced to manage.

The Dutch coach took charge of the Nerazzurri at the start of 2016/17, but he lasted just three months before he was sacked, having won just five of his 14 games in charge. He went on to manage Crystal Palace the following season, but lasted an even shorter amount of time, losing his job after just five games.

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Speaking to Algemeen Dagblad, as per ?Football Italia, De Boer has spoken about his ill-fated time at ?Inter, claiming that the club wasn’t willing to adapt to his long-term visions and that he was prevented from restructuring the squad at his disposal.

“I had taken on too much at Inter. I wanted to change the entire structure and culture, because that club hadn’t won anything for a long time.

FBL-EUR-C3-INTER-HAPOEL-BEER-SHEVA

“I was dealing with a rotten group, but wasn’t allowed to throw out certain players. I perhaps should’ve pushed a bit harder, because if you want to create change, you have to get a lot done right away. Maybe I tried to be everyone’s friend and that just wasn’t possible.”

De Boer is now in charge of reigning MLS champions Atlanta United and, despite being yet to win a league game so far this season, the former Dutch international added that he has learned from the mistakes he made in his previous two jobs.

FBL-CONCACHAMPIONS-MONTERREY-ATLANTA

“I did good things at Inter and ?Crystal Palace, but also have to look at myself in the mirror and admit some things could’ve gone better. I learned from that experience.”

Let’

Il Ragazzo: 7 Young Players Who Could Take Italy to Glory at UEFA Euro 2020

Italy have come a long way since putting out the oldest starting XI at Euro 2016. Well, not in terms of success – they missed out on the 2018 World Cup altogether.

But that near unprecedented crisis set in motion a series of events that have got the Azzurri where they are today – filled with young, strapping lads ready to take on the world. And it wasn’t just the retirement of Gianluigi Buffon that lowered this average. Or Daniele De Rossi. 

Actual exciting young talent has grown a-plenty in the proceeding years, leading some bold folk to present them as potential Euro 2020 winners! How you ask? Well, these young guns (anyone under the age of 25, in my book) might help.


Moise Kean

Moise Bioty Kean

Moise Kean has long been touted as one of the potential saviours of Italian football. At the lowest points, it was his name – forged by the brave players of Football Manager? – that helped quell the tears. 

And now here he is, expected to make his second cap. The record breaking brace-scorer for ?Juventus is now well and truly established in the hallowed hues of the Azzurri, and he’s here to stay. Sure, he’s still raw, as that botched one-on-one prior to Cristiano Ronaldo’s clinching penalty against Atletico Madrid showed. But he’s got it.

And that it is what Italy have been missing for some time.


Leonardo Spinazzola

Leonardo Spinazzola

?The man of the hour. Well, maybe not the hour. But at least the most important hour of Italian football in recent times. Yes, Leonardo Spinazzola was the unsung hero of that dramatic night against Los Rojiblancos. Move over, CR7. This is LS37’s time. 

And look, at 25, you may not think Spinazzola’s the springiest of chickens on this list, but thanks to injury issues he’s made less than half the ?Serie A appearances of the only 25-year-old on this list. So, there’s still some spring in that step. And he’ll be 27 by the time the Euros roll around – that’s peak major tournament age. 

Plus, his agent has said he’s better than Alex Sandro. So, yeah. 


Nicolo Zaniolo 

FBL-EUR-C1-ROMA-PORTO

The Culled Kid of Milan has become the Golden Boy of Rome in just a few short months. Incredible. Our introduction to Nicolo Zaniolo may have been brief so far, but there’s no denying his incredible potential. 

With his first cap beckoning, the 19-year-old looks set for plenty more in this Euro 2020 qualifying campaign and, with AS Roma’s prime target this summer just to keep hold of the attacking midfielder, he should be allowed to blossom a little further at the Stadio Olimpico before the brighter lights come calling.


Nicolo Barella

Nicolo Barella

?Poor Jorginho. No sooner was the central midfielder – who has been restricted to just 12 caps in his career – rid of the likes of Andrea Pirlo and De Rossi that Nicolo Barella came through, all ridiculously accomplished and poised and versatile and mature at the age of 22.

But, aside from the Chelsea man’s perspective, Barella’s breakthrough has been a breath of fresh air, tinged with sunshine and rainbows and sardines (Sardinia, innit). And, he’s already been able to translate his easy-going mentality to the international stage, with his debut against Ukraine as good a showcase of his talents as any. 


Federico Bernardeschi 

Federico Bernardeschi

I know we’ve spoken a lot about the so-called MVPs from that Atleti clash, but let’s be real for a second, it was ?Federico Bernardeschi. And that showing was just the tip of the iceberg for the former Fiorentina man this season. He’s been electric. 

Sure, he may not possess the suit-wearing suaveness of the legends that have come ?before him, but he’s got class on the field. And that’s just about enough. I mean sure, it’s not ideal, but it’s enough. At least for Euro 2020 success. So the ?fresh-from-the-plane pics will have to take a back seat. Big deal…*sobs*. 


Federico Chiesa

Federico Chiesa

While he may have been forced to pull out of this particular national team squad through injury, this is not the end of Federico Chiesa. And that is not a hot take. With 31 games played across competitions, he has already doubled his goalscoring tally from last season with 12, as his transfer value continues to skyrocket. 

Though the wait for his first international score is set go on beyond this month, rest assured he will break this duck in the upcoming qualifying campaign. And, if not then, how about mid-July at Wembley Stadium next year?


Patrick Cutrone

Patrik Cutrone

?The only player on this list who is yet to wear the true blue shirt of a fully fledged Italy international, but Patrick Cutrone does not plan on kicking it with the Under-21s for too much longer. 

While his progress at ?Milan may have been curtailed by the arrival of a certain Polish marksman who is incapable of going scoreless in any game ever, he remains a precocious frontman. Besides, word on the street says that he could be used as a makeweight in a deal for the man standing above him here, so, potentially, problem solved. 

Either way, don’t be surprised to see him super-subbing it at the Euros when the time comes.


Let’

Italy vs Finland: Roberto Mancini’s Best Available Gli Azzurri Lineup

Italy begin their EURO 2020 qualification campaign on Saturday night, when they host Finland in Udine.

The Azzurri are looking to qualify for the European Championship for the 10th time, as well as hoping to win the tournament for the first time in 51 years.

Here’s a look at Roberto Mancini’s best available Italy lineup to face Finland on Saturday.

1. Goalkeeper and Defenders

Giorgio Chiellini

Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK) – Now comfortably established as Italy’s new number one, Donnarumma looks set to earn his 12th Azzurri cap. The 20-year-old has played 31 games for Milan this season, keeping 11 clean sheets in the process.

Alessandro Florenzi (RB) – The Roma right back will make up Italy’s defence against Finland, as he hopes to keep his third consecutive international clean sheet. Florenzi has also been in solid form for his club, having made 22 Serie A appearances this season.

Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – Chiellini has been at the heart of the Italian defence since 2004, and remains the key figure at the back. The Azzurri captain has earned a remarkable 100 caps, more than any other player in Mancini’s current squad.

Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – Bonucci will partner up with Chiellini on Saturday, as he usually does for club and country. The Juventus star has earned 85 caps – bettered only by his defensive partner – having made his debut under Marcello Lippi in 2010.

Cristiano Biraghi (LB) – Having made his national team debut last September, Biraghi is now an essential part of Mancini’s team. The Fiorentina player has already earned four caps, with his first goal coming as a 92nd minute winner in Italy’s 1-0 win over Poland.

2. Midfielders

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Marco Verratti (CM) – Verratti looks likely to retain his place in the Italian midfield, featuring in Italy’s fifth game in a row. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder’s season has been hampered by injury, though he has still managed to make 29 appearances for the Parisian side.

Jorginho (CM) – Though it hasn’t been easy riding for Jorginho recently at Chelsea, Mancini will keep his faith in him. After making his debut in 2016, the Azzurri playmaker regained his place in the Italy side in late 2017 and has since earned 11 caps in their midfield.

Nicolo Barella (CM) – Barella is one of the latest additions to Mancini’s revitalised squad, having made his debut last October. The Cagliari midfielder has since played four times for Italy, making up a very strong midfield three.

3. Forwards

Fabio Quagliarella

Federico Chiesa (RW) – Chiesa should make up Italy’s front three for the visit of Finland, as he searches for his first national team goal. The 21-year-old has been outstanding for Fiorentina this season, with 12 goals and eight assists in his 31 appearances.

Fabio Quagliarella (ST) – Despite not having played for the national team since 2015, Mancini called up veteran striker Quagliarella for March’s fixtures. The 36-year-old, who currently plays for Sampdoria, could earn his 26th cap for the Azzurri in Saturday’s game.

Federico Bernardeschi (LW) – With Lorenzo Insigne injured, Juventus forward Bernardeschi will get his chance for the visit of Finland. The 25-year-old has been a key part of the reigning Italian champions’ squad, making 29 appearances under Massimiliano Allegri this season.

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Serie A in Talks Over Holding Domestic Fixtures in China as Part of Trade Agreement

Serie A and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) are in talks with executives at the Chinese Media Group (CMG) over holding competitive league fixtures in China amid a wider effort to ‘cement economic and cultural ties’. 

The league has held their Supercoppa Italiana fixture abroad 10 times, with Saudi Arabia hosting the 2019 encounter between AC Milan and Juventus this January. China has hosted the tie four times – the most of any country outside Italy. 

FBL-KSA-ITA-JUVENTUS-MILAN

Now, according to a document seen by the ?Financial Times, the league are looking to extend this global outreach programme to competitive clashes, in a bid to improve their marketability abroad and strengthen their ties with the country. 

As revealed in the document, the FIGC are looking to schedule a ?Serie A game “in the next three years and with an adequate budget.” 

The talks are understood to be led by FIGC president Gabriele Gravina and Gaetano Miccichè and Luigi De Siervo of Serie A, alongside several leading figures at the CMG, with the blessings of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is a known football fan. 

The proposal would also account for a number of exhibition fixtures in both countries between their international sides, as well as a multimedia content exchange and Italian assistance in any potential investment from Chinese companies in Serie A teams. 

Torino FC v Parma Calcio - Serie A

However, it would still need approval from both FIFA and the Asian Football Federation. Both ?La Liga and the ?Premier League have been thwarted in their previous attempts to reach such agreements. 

Speaking after the Spanish division were forced to postpone their plans for recurring fixtures in the USA, Fifa president Gianni Infantino said: “Official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association.”

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