This summer’s A-list managerial swaps continue, as Internazionale officially announced they have sacked Andrea Stramaccioni and hired Napoli’s Walter Mazzarri.
Usually a Champions League contender, Inter finished ninth place in Serie A this season, horrific by their standards.
The brief statement on their website said, “FC Internazionale would like to thank Andrea Stramaccioni for the great commitment and professionalism he showed in a particularly difficult year.”
Difficult is an understatement. Just three years off a treble with Jose Mourinho at the helm, they’ve had four managers sacked since then. They have come up €47 million in the negative in net transfer dealings since, despite the departures of Wesley Sneijder, Mattia Destro, and Philippe Coutinho. They finished this season on five consecutive defeats, a fitting end at San Siro.
Mazzarri, on the other hand, led Napoli to a wildly successful season, finishing second and holding off a surging AC Milan down the stretch. Before Napoli, Mazzarri struggled to find a long-term position, spending time at 5 Italian clubs over a span of 8 seasons. He led the Azzuri to two Champions League spots and a Europa League appearance.
As more managerial changes continue to be announced, it’s looking more and more possible like top teams Manchester United, Real Madrid, Inter, Chelsea, PSG, and Manchester City could all see a change.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.
[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]
Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.
Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.
Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.
Emre Can has recovered from an ankle injury and will be in Liverpool’s squad for their Europa League semifinal against Villarreal on Thursday night.
The German international has not played since April 14 when he was forced off in the Reds’ wild 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund.
[ MORE: Liverpool prepping for Villarreal ]
Giving his team update on Wednesday, manager Jurgen Klopp said Can is back in the team, although captain Jordan Henderson is still out. The Reds enter the second leg trailing 1-0 on aggregate.
Another positive note out of Melwood was the return of Danny Ings to first-team training. The 23-year-old striker signed with Liverpool last summer, but managed just eight appearances before having his season end to a torn ACL in October. Ings is still far away from his full return, but it was a good sight to see him back on the pitch and making progress in his recovery.
Manchester City put in an uninspired performance against Real Madrid on Wednesday, losing the match 1-0 and falling out of the UEFA Champions League.
[ RECAP: Real Madrid 1-0 Man City ]
The match was decided by just one goal, but the scoreline was flattering to City as they failed to create any kind of real chances at the Bernabeu. Over the two legs, City managed just two shots on target.
While City were wildly disappointing in the second leg, manager Manuel Pellegrini did not think the match was that one-sided, saying both teams struggled on the attack.
I am disappointed because I think that was a very close game with two teams who did not create many chances. The two teams were working with no-one making a difference.
It is not the best thing changing a defender very early but I don’t think we had any problems in defence, we had problems creating, same as Real Madrid. They did not create many chances.
Real Madrid was not in top form, but they still could have scored three or four goals on Wednesday. Joe Hart had to come up with some big saves to keep things close, as the England goalkeeper was by far City’s most valuable player throughout the tie.
[ MORE: Liverpool preparing for Europa League match vs. Villarreal ]
The absence of David Silva through injury certainly hurt City’s attack, but there was very little service moving forward from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure. The poor play in the midfield left Sergio Aguero stranded alone up top, nearly invisible in the second leg.
Without service, Aguero was forced to track back to try and find the ball himself, leaving City no options to hit on the counter. For a tie between two of the most expensive teams in the world, neither side was truly impressive, but City surely disappointing.