Once upon a time there was romantic football
There was a time when the Serie A seemed to be free from the financial problems that have always enlightened the lives of ordinary people. In the beginning, there was the romantic football, the one that since the mid-70s and throughout the decade with the number 8 in front of, made young and old people fall in love, thanks to the exploits of the champions who wore the shirts of the team of the fans.
A football that included among in its ranks footballers likes Roberto Pruzzo, Roma’s iconic striker; Evaristo Beccalossi who in 1975 moved to Inter, the defender of Lazio Pino Wilson, Marco Tardelli, a midfielder for Como who seemed close to the Nerazzurri of Milan, but in the end it will be Juventus of Giampiero Boniperti to close the deal; and the striker Beppe Savoldi, paid by of Corrado Ferlaino’s Napoli more than a billion lire: a Guinness figure for that time in 1975.
Then came the decade of the ’80s. The clubs of Serie A begin buying players also coveted by other European teams: Diego Armando Maradona goes to Naples, the three Dutches of the historic Milan of President Berlusconi, Gullit, Van Basten, and Rijkaard, the Germans of Inter, Rummenigge first, Brehme and Matthäus then, with that Giovanni Trapattoni who won the Scudetto of Guinness in 1989. Impossible not to mention the three times Ballon d’Or Platini at Juventus, or the Brazilian champion, Zico at Udinese, Falcao at Roma, Socrates at Fiorentina, and so on.
The decade 90-00, the 7 sisters are born
It is very likely that with the arrival of Arrigo Sacchi on the bench of Milan, Italian football has undergone a change of tactics and historical ideas. The Italic style of play, previously, was associated with the word “Catenaccio“, for the way to defend behind the line of the ball and restart in the most classic way of counterattacks. The native coach of Fusignano gives an entirely new imprint and brings in a modern football, made of Zona, fierce pressing and an almost maniacal managing: A real mix between Nils Liedholm’s AC Milan and Rinus Michels’s Netherland whose predominant character was the Prophet of the goal, Johan Cruijff. With the Rossoneri, he managed to win 2 consecutive Champions Cups, a Serie A Championship, 2 Intercontinental Cups, 2 European Supercups and an Italian Supercup.
President Berlusconi with his “Diavolo”, kicks off the era of the so-called “7 sisters”. The appetite comes from eating, as the saying says, and many entrepreneurs from various sectors, begin to invest in the world of football. In a short time, Juventus, Milan, Inter, Rome, Lazio, Parma and Fiorentina find themselves in an almost exclusive league, a league where you don’t pay attention to expenses, in order to have the player or even the strongest players “on the market”.
President Massimo Moratti buys Luís Nazário de Lima, known simply as Ronaldo, paying 52 billion lire and Christian Vieri, called Mr. 90 billion. Calisto Tanzi‘s Parma buys Crespo, Veron, Thuram. AC Milan counts on Shevchenko. Sergio Cragnotti’s Lazio recruits Mendieta from Valencia, Iván de la Peña from Barcelona and many others. Roma, has his name on the cover, they have him at home, he is called Francesco Totti, but certainly, they do not disdain purchases such as Vincenzo Montella, Gabriel Batistuta or Hidetoshi Nakata: the Japanese and Argentine will be decisive for the victory of the Scudetto in 2000.
Important investments, billions and billions spent to achieve personal goals, but also to make their fans rejoice. In the “trentennio”, from 1980 to 2010, the “7 sisters” have won 49 national titles: 26 Scudetti and 23 cups. 8 Champions League: 5 Milan, 2 Juventus, 1 Inter. 7 UEFA Cups: 3 Inter, 2 Juventus, 2 Parma. 9 European Super Cups: 2 Milan, 1 Juve, 1 Lazio, 1 Parma. 5 Cup Winners: 2 Milan, 1 Juve, 1 Lazio, 1 Parma. A level of success never had before, but gradually, it led these clubs to have to “make the bill”, in the truest sense of the word. Nowadays, those “7 sisters” no longer exist. The only team still owned by the same owner is Juventus, which continues to be controlled by the Agnelli family.
Serie A 2021/22: are the “7 sisters” back?
In a certain sense, one could say that the current Serie A championship seems to bring to mind the challenges of twenty years ago. Of the original “7 sisters”, Napoli of President De Laurentiis took the place of Parma, relegated to Serie B. For the rest we have the Inter of Suning, Italian Champion, Milan of Elliot, back to the glory of the past, Roma and Lazio are trying to recover ground and have bet on two top coaches, such as Mourinho and Sarri, the Fiorentina of Rocco Commisso, always ready to invest in the market to try to fight at the highest levels and the Atalanta of the Percassi family, an example of foresight and entrepreneurial capacity.
The championship tells us that the “7 sisters” may be back. At this moment we could say that there are at least 8 sisters, but comparing them to the original ones is really difficult. At the time “The Golden Age“, now the Renaissance that seems to have started in the best way and only the time will tell us if the Italian championship will return to its former glory by starting to make millions of fans dream, but then Nelson Mandela said: “A winner is simply a dreamer who has never given up”.
By Giovanni Maggio