[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the 1990’s, Serie A was seen as the pinnacle of European domestic football, with the Italian top flight boasting some of the world’s best players and football clubs.
However, in the modern day, the reality is that Italian club football has fallen behind the likes of La Liga, the Premier League and Bundesliga both on and off the pitch.
The financial power of the main clubs outside Italy have left Serie A’s best in the shadows, while the superstar appeal that Italian football once had has been diminished to some extent.
Controversies over match-fixing and racism have not helped, while Serie A’s fourth Champions League qualification place was removed and handed to the buoyant Bundesliga.
With Italian football looking to get back to its best, here are five key reasons for malaise in Serie A.
The downturn in fortunes of the Milan clubs
Although Juventus are Italian football’s most successful team historically, the Milan clubs have been synonymous with Serie A thriving.
The sight of iconic players in the Nerazzurri and Rossoneri shirts became a mainstay in days gone by, with both AC and Inter Milan able to attract the world’s best.
Fast forward to the current day and both teams are a watered down version of themselves, with no more top-class superstars and both struggling to keep pace domestically, nevermind on the continent.
With the significant historical value of these sleeping giants and their sizeable following all over the globe, getting the Milan teams back fighting for the Scudetto is essential if Serie A is to gain his appeal.
Lack of foreign investment
Although there is something admirable about having homegrown owners in Italian football, the nation’s clubs have fallen behind their European equivalents as a result.
With the continent’s nouveau riche able to splurge multi-millions at will, expenditure on new players by Italian clubs has become a real difficulty.
Roma’s revival in recent years has been largely down to the arrival of American owner James Pallotta, while Inter also now have Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir at the helm.
Other Serie A clubs would be advised to follow their lead, as the sad reality is that Italian teams need investment to compete.
Departure of world-class stars
However, looking at the current playing base in the game in Italy, truly world-class players are few and far between.
The sale of Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva from Milan to Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 signified the shifting of power in European football and for the Italian game to regain its prestige the best players in the division must remain.
Keeping the likes of Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi and Kevin Strootman in Italian football is critical for the league to restore some pride.
Juventus’ complete dominance
Juventus have won the last three Serie A crowns and are currently 15 points ahead of the chasing pack in their quest to make this four in a row.
Although a strong Bianconeri is good for the nation’s game in European competition, a closer title race would make the league more appealing as a whole.
Roma have been the closer competitor in recent campaigns, while getting one or both of the Milan clubs, Lazio, Napoli or Fiorentina to put forward a consistent title challenge would be a massive positive.
In a catch 22 type situation, since Italian football’s Champions League allocation has been reduced to three teams, they have struggled severely to compete against Europe’s elite.
Juventus this season have an excellent opportunity to make the last four of the top tournament, while Napoli are looking strong in the Europa League.
For Italian football to get back to its very best, having Juve or new forces that are ready to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona is necessary.
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