You have to go back 10 years to find the last Italian Champions League winner. Inter Milan were victorious in 2010, beating Bayern Munich in the final but when will we see the next Italian winner of Europe’s premier club competition?
The Champions League is special, there is no doubt about that. Many fans, clubs and players consider it more important than winning their own domestic title, and those who don’t, would consider it on par, certainly not below.
This means that the big guns all come out and play their very best in the competition, and usually we find the cream rising to the top.
This was certainly the case this season, when Bayern Munich lifted the Champions League trophy, they were by far the best team in Europe. Atalanta fared best of the Italian clubs this season, losing in the quarter finals to PSG, but what about the future?
Can Italy Compete with the Rest of Europe?
At the minute, sadly the answer is no. We saw Atalanta go furthest of the Italian teams this year, and Inter were beaten Europa League finalists, but at the top tier, the Italian teams are simply not good enough.
They cannot match the powerhouses of European football for either spending power or the ability to develop young talent and bring it through.
If you look at the two finalists this season, PSG have spent big money over the past decade and Bayern Munich have both spent money and nurtured their own talent to bring players into the first team.
Italian clubs may have the plans in place to do this, but actually doing it and seeing the rewards is something completely different and something we haven’t really seen for a while.
Who Holds the Most Chance of Getting Involved?
This needs to be done by spending money on new players, but also by bringing youngsters through the ranks and developing them. There is not as much money in Italian football as there is elsewhere, so player development is huge.
If clubs can get that right, and Atalanta have shown they are on the right track this season, then we could see an Italian team lift the Champions League trophy. A continuation of what we have now though, and it may be some time until we see that happen again, which would be hugely disappointing.
What Can Italy Learn from Other Countries?
The key here is that other countries have seemingly developed and enhanced their teams a little faster than Italy. This could be down to many different things, but obviously money is a factor.
Every summer we see big money transfers around Europe, but the majority of these are by teams in England, Spain and Germany. Italy seem to have fallen away from that, and those that do involve Italian teams are normally because it is the Italian team who is selling.
If we are to see another Italian team lift the Champions League then we need to see teams competing with others in Europe, not just those in Serie A. This means the likes of Inter Milan, Napoli, Lazio and Atalanta stepping up their game and spending money to compete in Europe.