With football fans around the world still reeling from Italy’s triumphant victory over England in the UEFA European Football Championship final in July, all eyes are on the 2021/2022 Champions League and Europa League. Despite their recent success, however, it has been over a decade since an Italian team in the form of Inter Milan defeated Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 2010. This has led a number of European football fans to speculate whether or not they are capable of yet another win and, perhaps more importantly, whether or not they can match up to some of the best football talent Europe has to offer.
Everyone wants to compete on the biggest stage. Whether that stage is the GGPoker sponsored WSOP or spelling bees, each individual wants to test themselves against the best. With a smattering of wins under their belt, Italy have proven to be a worthy contenders in the world of European football. But with Europe home to some of the best football players ever to grace the sport in its 158-year history, they are yet to find themselves on par with the likes of Belgium, Spain, and France. But as well as sheer star power, Italy has also fallen short when it comes to spending and talent development and acquisition. As a result, a number of alternative European teams have led the way when it comes to club development and progression.
Since 1955, Italy have continued to make a name for themselves in the world of European football by getting involved in a number of tournaments including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Inter-Cities Fair Cup, as well as the now-defunct UEFA Intertoto Cup. They have also gained global recognition for their performance in a number of worldwide inter-club competitions since their international debut at the Intercontinental Cup in 1963. Since then, fans have continued to support their favourite teams both during in-person matches as well as from the comfort of their own homes. Since their debut, they have also taken home 12 Champions League titles, nine Europa League titles, seven UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup titles, nine UEFA Super Cup titles. Four UEFA Intertoto Cup titles, one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup title, seven Intercontinental Cup titles, and two FIFA World Cup titles. As a result, they are certainly more than capable of echoing their earlier success during this season’s Champions League and Europa League.
What can they learn?
Before Italy can rise from the ashes and claim victory, they may benefit from learning a thing or two from a number of competing European teams. Despite Juventus retaining its long-standing title as one of Europe’s richest football clubs, several Italian teams are yet to benefit from the same level of investment. Because of this, Italy is unlikely to climb the ranks and find themselves positioned amongst some of the continent’s most successful and commercially viable teams. For example, England, Spain, and Germany have poured money into developing the best possible line-up in recent years and, as a result, now dominate the European football league. Italy may be great at selling but if they are to compete with Europe’s best in the Champions League and Europa League this season, teams like Inter Milan, Napoli, Lazio, and Atalanta must focus on investing in the greatest talent available to them and doing whatever it takes to become the best.
With this season’s Champions League and Europa League well underway, all eyes are on Italy as they return to Earth following their last-minute victory over England during this year’s 2020 UEFA European Football Championship final.