Italy. Inter Milan and Juventus, weakened monuments of Italian football. Sport
These last two seasons, the poster pitted Romelu Lukaku against Cristiano Ronaldo, under the eyes of the revenge Antonio Conte, ex-bianconero coach recruited at a gold price to bring Inter to the top.
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Italy Derby, as this match is called in the Peninsula, will have a little less flash on Sunday: the two star strikers (and two Serie A top scorers last season) have returned to the Premier League, to Chelsea for Lukaku and Manchester United for Ronaldo, while the coach at the salary of
top player (around 11 million euros per year, according to the press) is now a consultant on television.
If the two giants – 36 league titles for Juve, 19 for Inter – still have the best numbers in the championship, it is a sign of a certain
resizing of Italian football.
The Covid storm, with its empty stadiums, has severely shaken the country’s big clubs, already financially fragile. In the last two years, Inter, Juventus and AC Milan have lost together nearly a billion euros, according to calculations by the specialist site Calcio e Finanza.
« Safe accounts »
Both Inter and Juventus have just announced record losses: 245 million euros for the Nerazzurro club belonging to the Chinese group Suning, 210 million euros for Juventus, controlled by Exor, the holding company of the Agnelli family.
To bring in some fresh money, Inter sold Lukaku for 115 million euros this summer and Achraf Hakimi to Paris SG for 60 million euros, according to the amounts reported by the press. And the defending champion has limited spending on recruiting, focusing mainly on free players or on paid loan.
Now the accounts are safe, we have achieved what we were looking for while maintaining competitiveness, assured the managing director of the club Giuseppe Marotta during the recent Sports Festival.
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This means that there will no longer be sales of fine pieces to bring in money, and Inter’s goals remain unchanged and aim for the top in Italy and Europe., added the club manager, currently third in Serie A.
Juventus does not intend to revise its ambitions downwards either and intends to win back the scudetto abandoned to the Nerazzurri. But she had to downsize, letting go of her biggest star – Cristiano Ronaldo – and betting on an Italian recruitment.
Always the Super League
The departure of the five-fold Golden Ball responds to a sporting logic, Juve not having achieved the expected results in the Champions League. But the club also saw its financial interest in parting with a costly asset.
CR7 each season weighed some 86 million euros on the budget, between his gross salary and the amortization of his transfer from Real Madrid (115 million euros, commissions included).
The bianconeri accounts, which became positive again between 2014 and 2017, gradually deteriorated after his arrival in 2018. The losses have continued to grow, despite income also on the rise, in particular thanks to sponsorship.
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Juventus announced this summer a capital increase to stabilize the situation, while continuing their fight with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona for the creation of a Super League, competing with the Champions League, which would generate more income for the biggest clubs.
It is a new paradigm that football can no longer afford to ignore and on the basis of which a dialogue must resume. Everything can be improved and redesigned, wrote the president Andrea Agnelli in a letter to the shareholders of the club at the end of September.
A project from which Inter, like Milan, quickly dissociated themselves in the face of the rebellion of the supporters, leaving Juve alone in Italy in this controversial fight.