The national team coach Roberto Mancini sounded the alarm: «There are no players who can be called up». Compared to the past, the Italians play very little in the top seven of the standings. Milan is the worst team
Ten days ago Mancini he read the formations of Milan-Salernitana and turned up his nose: for the first time in their history, the Rossoneri hadn’t fielded a single Italian player since the 1st minute of a Serie A match. On the bench here Tonali, Calabria, Gabbia, Pobega and Florenzithe five blues used by Pioli this season. They put together 66 games totaling 4,232 minutes. Too little, nothing compared to the past. In 2014/15, to give you an idea, Milan fielded 20 Italians, while the following year they gave them over 22,000 minutes with Romagnoli, Bonaventura, Montolivo and Donnarumma in the top 5 of the most used. Hence the coach’s current resignation: «There are no players who can be called up, something must be done».
Inter double Milan
According to data provided by Opta, Milan — the Italian champion team — is the one that lets the fewest Italians play, at least in the top 7 of the rankings. Inter, historically the most “foreign” big name (in the year of triplet only 4 Azzurri), today he fields almost twice as many as his cousins (9). Among Inzaghi’s ten loyalists are Barella, Bastoni, Acerbi and Dimarco. Since 2019, the playing time granted to the Nerazzurri Italians has always gone beyond 10 thousand (it had only happened twice in the previous 15 years), but we are still talking about a very slim consolation.
Juve, the record with Conte is a mirage
Just see the Juventus. In 2011 Conte arrives and is immediately scudetto. Buffon in goal, protected by Barzagli, Chiellini and Bonucci. Marchisio is in midfield, Pepe and Giaccarini run on the flanks, Matri, Quagliarella and Del Piero alternate up front. At the end of the season there will be 18 Italian protagonists, 396 presences, almost 28 thousand minutes (record since 2004, i.e. since when these data were collected). But in 2019/20, with Ronaldo in the squad, the total drops to just over 7,000. Since August, Allegri has thrown 11 Azzurri into the fray, more than anyone else. But he only has the fourth playing time, behind the two Romans and Inter.
Bad Naples and Atalanta
It’s bad the Napoli. The leaders have two workaholics, Meret e of Lorenzo. In the last nine years, however, only in 2020/21 has the total playing time of Italians reached five figures (no one has done worse). In 2007, upon returning to Serie A, the Azzurri were 18 (today with Spalletti 8). Atalanta’s behavior is also worrying which, data in hand, is the worst after Milan (only 96 total games for its Italians, just 6,350′). In 2016/17, the year of fourth place and qualification in the Europa League, the Italians were over 18, more than 21,000 minutes played. From 2018 onwards, third places and the Champions League arrived, however sacrificing his Italian spirit on the altar: the maximum quota was reached at 8.179′.
Positive signals only from Lazio and Rome
Mancini only cracks a smile when he looks at the capital, which saw 10 Azzurri face off in Sunday’s derby. The most virtuous is Lazio, which allows its national teams to play more minutes than anyone else (12,776′, triple Milan’s) and more games (176, Napoli are leaders at 103): «Every time you buy a player, I want him to be Italian.” reiterated Sarri, who never gives up on Provedel, Romagnoli, Zaccagni and Casale, in addition to the various Lazzari and Immobile, when injuries allow.
Immediately behind it is the Roma, second for playing time and total appearances of its blues. Left-handed behind, Spinazzola and El Shaarawy on the outside, Cristante in the middle, Belotti in front. In 2005/06, the season that led to the triumphal world cup in Germany, the giallorossi used 14 Italians, Milan 9, Juve assigned them 18,108′, Lazio 24,331′. Another world: «In the three that qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, there will be seven or eight starting Italians. More than thirty would be needed, I’d settle for 50 percent….”
the words of Mancini. Who looks ahead. Also because looking back is distressing.
March 22, 2023 (change March 22, 2023 | 10:54 am)
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