Here are the reactions from the Italian press after Erik ten Hag’s Ajax knocked out Max Allegri’s Juventus in Turin last night. Juve were the better rested side, but apart from the first 20 minutes, didn’t look like one as Ajax booked their spot in the last four of the Champions League for the first time in 20 overs. Ronaldo’s “throne” (see the GOT style headline before the game), was conquered.
The Juve side this year has been dependent on three players- goalkeeper Szczesny, defender Chiellini and striker Ronaldo. Chiellini was not available for this fixture, Ronaldo scored Juve’s only goal of the game and Szczesny produced several top class saves to prevent what could’ve potentially been a 5-1 or 6-1 to Ajax instead of the 2-1 they won by. A classic example of poor Juve defending was for Ajax’s match winning goal- a fantastic header from De Ligt, that saw him first to a corner despite two opposition players marking him.
Gazzetta went with the headline “Fine Corsa” (end of run), a play on the popular Juve phrase Fino alla Fine (until the end).
CdS went with “Apocalisse”- pretty self explanatory.
Tutto played tribute to the visitors, calling them “Grande Ajax” (Great Ajax). They carried a photo of De Ligt, unlike GdS and CdS, both of whom went with Ronaldo.
Ajax will now play either Man City or Spurs in the last four.
The Italian press wasn’t too chuffed with Napoli’s performance at the Emirates last night. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were expected to give the Gunners a tough fight, but lost 2-0, with Aaron Ramsey (a soon to be Juve player), opening the scoring and Kalidou Koulibaly scoring an own goal. It could’ve been more, but for some fine saves from Alex Meret and profligacy on part of the home side.
Un Napoli Imbarazzante (an embarrassing Napoli) ran CdS. Gazzetta were quick to remind readers that a future Juve player had scored against the Partenopei.
All’s not lost yet for Napoli, especially given Arsenal’s struggles on the road this season, but it will be a tall order for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
In the immediate aftermath of England’s World Cup, there was hope that more unlikely heroes in the same mould as Tripper, Lingard, Alexander-Arnold and Rashford could emerge. Followers of the Premier League have not been disappointed, and several new stars have enjoyed a breakout campaign.
Gareth Southgate has placed an emphasis on youth- only three of England’s 23 member WC squad were above the age of 30, and with recent success at lower age group levels (they’re the reigning holders of both the U17 and U20 World Cup trophies), there is hope that this generation could emulate, or perhaps even do better, than the legendary squad of 1966.
Maurizio Sarri’s position at Chelsea appears to be hanging by a thread after Manchester United beat them 2-0 at the Bridge to knock them out of the Cup. With several other high profile teams like Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool already out of the competition, the FA Cup was a good chance for the Blues to pick up some silverware, but Solskjaer became the first United manager in nearly seven years to win at the Bridge to set up a quarterfinal tie against Wolves.
Sarri’s results against top four teams this year has not been encouraging- he has lost 3-0 to Spurs, 2-0 to Arsenal, 6-0 to Man City and now 2-0 to Man Utd. It seems he no longer has control of the dressing room and even the fans seem to be fed up of his tactics- with several in the crowd heard saying “F*ck Sarri ball”
Against United, Sarri made his traditional changes, and even when they were 2-0 down, chose not to bring another attacking player on (despite Chelsea having several options on the bench), and instead subbed in Zappacosta. Callum-Hudson Odoi’s reaction on the sidelines, captured in this pic, tell a story in itself.
Sarri can probably redeem himself with a League Cup win over Man City, although few will bet on them given the Blues’ recent struggles under the Italian.
Pundit Chris Sutton called for Sarri to be sacked, and added that lack of action from Roman Abramovich could potentially be seen as disinterest in the club from the Russian.
France Football have today unveiled a rather interesting list- rating teams by their “mythical status”. The best way we understand this is for teams that had their heyday in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, or influenced the game in a manner that saw them write their names into the annals of history.
It probably explains why Ajax, with ex legends both on and off the pitch, like Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels, and their Total Football concept, are first on this list. And also explains why teams that have obtained success in more recent times, like Manchester City and PSG, are not on it.
Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United and Barcelona occupy spots 2-5. Other teams that certainly fit into this category (in our opinion!) are the likes of Santos, Benfica, River Plate, New York Cosmos and Budapest Honved. There is a sense of nostalgia about the past greatness of these teams in the current generation, which explains their mythical status.
Interesting list though- here it is below in full (countries on the side in French)