, , , , , , , ,

The True Perspective is a guest opinion piece. In this edition, Italian native and calcio connoisseur Marco Cocito-Monoc opines on the state of his beloved league. 


I am sick of Italian football. I mean, I am coming to loathe it. After spending the better part of my life eagerly reading the Gazzetta dello Sport every day, racing around various cities across the globe, heart pounding with anticipation, to catch a Serie A match, ANY Serie A match, I have had my fill. So obsessed with the Italian game was I that, while pursuing my Ph.D. at Cambridge University, I would frequently slip into the language lab (which was equipped with live satellite access to Italian TV in an age that predated ubiquitous access to the internet) just to watch Juventus or Milan play Coppa Italia matches. Yes, Coppa Italia, the conquest of which is equivalent to winning a stuffed teddy bear in a shooting gallery inhabited by sad, dented metal ducks at a cheap circus.

I did this because the game back in the mid-to-late nineties was truly interesting and of the highest quality. It was beautiful, actually. I would thrill to 0-0 draws between Milan and Juve because they were filled with the ostentatious demonstration of god-like defensive prowess by players like Paolo Maldini, Billy Costacurta, Franco Baresi, Ciro Ferrara and Julio Cesar (the 90’s version, not the present cherub-faced Inter goalkeeper). I would skip important classes and meetings with academic supervisors just to have the chance to see Roberto Baggio move the ball up the pitch or make a perfect pass to Gianluca Vialli or Fabrizio Ravanelli. This was a feast for the eyes, nourishment for the soul the sublimity of which made the final score almost irrelevant.

…Massimo Moratti (a man whose monstrous visage makes Shrek look downright handsome)

Today, I can barely stomach the potted meat they are trying to pass off as caviar in my native land. Beyond the mind-numbing mediocrity that has brought parity to the league, the average fan is constantly oppressed by the most banal stories from the same haggard figures who have made an extremely profitable living by perpetuating the inertia that has knocked us down from the undisputed best league in Europe (and, thus, the world) to the third and perhaps even fourth or fifth, depending on how seriously you take the German and French leagues. Every day, we must watch Inter’s Massimo Moratti (a man whose monstrous visage makes Shrek look downright handsome) groan on and on about how referees are mistreating his team. With equal frequency, we are subjected to Adriano Galliani’s self-satisfied pronouncements of Milan’s superiority in world football, despite the fact that the median age of his players constantly hovers around 90. Not to be upstaged is Napoli’s Tourettes afflicted owner, Aurelio De Laurentiis, publicly fighting with his own manager when he isn’t busy cracking off a series of gravelly voiced imprecations on live television. Palermo’s psychopathic owner, Maurizio Zamparini, is far too much of a Freudian mess to describe in the confines of a short blog. Suffice it to say that he has hired and fired Delio Rossi as manager of his team an average of twelve times a season for the past two years. Then there is newcomer Andrea Agnelli, the nephew of the late Gianni Agnelli and self-proclaimed savior of the non-automotive part of the family business, Juventus. At only 35 years of age, young Andrea is in his second year as Juve’s president but has already acquired the looks and manners of a rustic troll. When not parading around the defective stadium that was completed just in time for the start of the current season, he is busy alienating legendary Juve players like Alessandro Del Piero and Gigi Buffon with comments that not even Moratti would utter in the sanctum of his honorary offices in Telecom Italia.

Leading this assembly of circus freaks is Bozo himself, Giancarlo Abete, president of the tragi-comical Italian Football Federation, the same body that so expertly oversaw the farcical two-month Calciopoli “investigations” during the summer of 2006 and which, despite a mountain of conflicts of interest and other unsavory facts that have been uncovered since then, steadfastly refuses to alter its decisions or even to explain the reasoning behind its intransigence. This is the same guy, by the way, who so spectacularly failed to avert the strike that paralyzed and further de-ligitimated the Serie a at the beginning of this season. So ridiculous is Abete that even Sepp Blatter, the most corrupt man who has ever led FIFA and the undeniable spawn of Satan, openly laughs every time the Italian federation tepidly squeaks its displeasure at yet another egregious breach of ethics and/or another attempt to screw Italian footy.

Would I die if I didn’t read about Mario Balotelli piously lecturing child bullies after pulling off yet another supreme display of antisocial behavior on or off the field?

I am tired of the scandals. I am tired of reading about footballers, managers and owners and their profoundly uninteresting, unedifying lives. Do I really need to see Marco Borriello’s abdominal tattoos yet again? Would I die if I didn’t read about Mario Balotelli piously lecturing child bullies after pulling off yet another supreme display of antisocial behavior on or off the field? Would my world view shrink if I stopped reading the asinine and repetitive comments of Gazzetta readers whose contact with the opposite sex is limited to chat rooms and pornographic magazines?

From now on, I am done with you, Serie A. I am done – at least until the January transfer market.