Italian Serie A Tomorow, August 25, 2012, the new 2012/2013 season starts. Poor Serie A. From a once dominant European competition in the 80s and 90s, it is now in precipitous decline and was recently overtaken by Bundesliga in UEFA rankings... There are many issues here, from (yet another) betting scandal (Juventus coach Antonio Conte was banned from attending games for 10 months, many players disqualified, Lecce relegated to third division) to crumbling infrastructure and stadia, from departing star-players to extreme financial hardship for many teams. Juventus seems to be by far the dominant power, Inter and AC Milan are definitely weaker this year, their owners trying to reign in spending drammatically. Possible surprises Napoli, Roma. Here's how last year's competition ended: Here's this year situation: - Teams and stadia (3 teams from Serie B were Promoted: Pescara, Torino and Sampdoria): - Locations: The value of the teams (the value of player's cadre accorfing to transfermarkt) and the percentage of the foreign players: Juventus 323.400.000 â‚¬ 38.7% Internazionale 252.850.000 â‚¬ 78.8% Milan 204.925.000 â‚¬ 53.6% Napoli 179.150.000 â‚¬ 47.8% Roma 155.950.000 â‚¬ 64.3% Fiorentina 126.750.000 â‚¬ 70.4% Lazio 123.550.000 â‚¬ 60.6% Udinese 97.800.000 â‚¬ 77.4% Genoa 83.225.000 â‚¬ 60% Palermo 76.450.000 â‚¬ 67.7% Parma 64.800.000 â‚¬ 43.3% Cagliari 64.225.000 â‚¬ 46.2% Atalanta 62.400.000 â‚¬ 27.6% Sampdoria 61.650.000 â‚¬ 50% Bologna 58.650.000 â‚¬ 43.8% Catania 54.475.000 â‚¬ 56.3% Torino 50.575.000 â‚¬ 37.9% Chievo 42.650.000 â‚¬ 46.9% Pescara 32.075.000 â‚¬ 35.3% Siena 28.575.000 â‚¬ 24.2% As far as nationalities are concerned, Serie A is now less than half Italian, i.e. 51.5% are foreigners and many "Italians" are really naturalized foreign citizens. Compared to other "big" leagues, it has the most foreign players after the English Premier League. Here's the data: Payers Total - 600 Foreign Players - 311 51.5 % Compared to foreign players in other top leagues: England 62.9% (however this percentage includes players from Scotland, Wells, N. Ireland) Germany 49.8% France 40.7% (however, many "French" players are really Africans and Arabs) Spain 34.5% Foreign players by country (number of players and percentage of the total of foreign players, i.e. not percentage of all players): Argentina 54 17,4% Brazil 47 15,1% Uruguay 25 8,0% France 15 4,8% Serbia 15 4,8% Switzerl. 12 3.9% Chile 11 3,5% Colombia 10 3,2% Spain 9 2,9% Ghana 9 2,9% Slovenia 9 2,9% Sweden 8 2,6% Romania 6 1,9% Belgium 5 1,6% Senegal 5 1,6% Slovakia 5 1,6% Nigeria 4 1,3% Paraguay 4 1,3% Peru 3 1,0% Hungary 3 1,0% Greece 3 1,0% Austria 3 1,0% Germany 3 1,0% Albania 3 1,0% Netherlands 3 1,0% Poland 3 1,0% Croatia 3 1,0% Denmark 3 1,0% Lithuania 2 0.6% Czech 2 0.6% Japan 2 0.6% Morocco 2 0.6% Montenegro 2 0.6% Bosnia 2 0.6% Macedonia 1 0.3% Algeria 1 0.3% Venezuela 1 0.3% Kenya 1 0.3% Guine 1 0.3% Egypt 1 0.3% Israel 1 0.3% Tunisia 1 0.3% USA 1 0.3% Cote Ivoire 1 0.3% Iceland 1 0.3% Mali 1 0.3% Sierra L. 1 0.3% Finland 1 0.3% Portugal 1 0.3% On the racial front, there is a mix of good news / bad news. The good news is that Serie A is still an overwhelmingly White league. Most of the foreign players are White South Americans or Europeans. The racial breakdown (by my estimate) is Whites 85%, Blacks 11.3%, Arabs 1.3%, Mesitzos/Amerindians 1.5%, Asians 0.3%, Turks 0.3%, Jews 0.1%. Here are the non-white players by country of origin and team. Out of a total of 600 players, non-Whites are: Blacks: 68 (11.3%) Udinese: 11 blacks Maicosuel - Brasil/Udinese Jean-Alain Fanchone - France/Udinese Allan - Brasil/Udinese Mohamadou Sissoko - France/Udinese Pablo Armero - Colombia/Udinese Luis Muriel - Colombia/Udinese Emmanuel Badu - Ghana/Udinese Christian Obodo - Nigeria/Udinese Odion Ighalo - Nigeria/Udinese Allan - Brasil/Udinese Williams - Brasil/Udinese Milan: 9 blacks Robinho - Brasil/Milan Jonathan - Brasil/Milan Cristian Zapata - Colombia/Milan Kevin-Prince Boateng - Ghana/Milan Sulley Muntari - Ghana/Milan Urby Emanuelson - Netherlands/Milan KÃ©vin Constant - Guinea/Milan Bakaye TraorÃ© - Mali/Milan Rodney Strasser - Sierra Leone/Milan Inter: 8 blacks Alvaro Pereira - Uruguay/Inter Fredy GuarÃn - Colombia/Inter Gaby Mudingayi - Belgium/Inter Ibrahima Mbaye - Senegal/Inter Joel Obi - Nigeria/Inter McDonald Mariga - Kenya/Inter Juan - Brasil/Inter Alfred Duncan - Italy/Inter Lazio: 6 blacks Abdoulay Konko - France/Lazio Modibo DiakitÃ© - France/Lazio Luis Pedro Cavanda - Belgium/Lazio Ogenyi Onazi - Nigeria/Lazio Andre Diaz - Brasil/Lazio Hernanes - Brasil/Lazio Torino: 4 blacks Abou Diop - Senegal/Torino Angelo Ogbonna - Italy/Torino Lys Gomis - Italy/Torino AlfredGomis - Italy/Torino Parma: 4 blacks Jonathan Biabiany - France/Parma Dorlan PabÃ³n - Colombia/Parma Afriyie Acquah - Ghana/Parma Fabiano Santacroce - Italy/Parma Fiorentina: 4 blacks Juan Cuadrado - Colombia/Fiorentina Nii Nortey Ashong - Ghana/Fiorentina Kenneth Zohore - Denmark/Fiorentina Romulo - Italy/Fiorentina Juventus: 3 blacks Paul Pogba - France/Juventus Richmond Boakye - Ghana/Juventus Kwadwo Asamoah - Ghana/Juventus Chievo: 3 blacks Marcos De Paula - Brasil/Chievo Isaac Cofie - Ghana/Chievo Boukary DramÃ© - Senegal/Chievo Catania: 3 blacks Amidu Salifu - Ghana/Catania Souleymane Doukara - Senegal/Catania Alex Rolin - Uruguay/Catania Pescara: 3 blacks David Mbodj Mbaye - Senegal/Pescara Juan Quintero - Colombia/Pescara Jonathas - Brasil/Pescara Atalanta: 3 blacks Adriano Ferreira Pinto - Brasil/Atalanta Moussa KonÃ© - Cote d'Ivoire/Atalanta Siena: 2 blacks Angelo - Brasil/Siena Reginaldo - Brasil/Siena Napoli: 1 black Camilo ZÃºniga - Colombia/Napoli Cagliari: 1 black VÃctor Ibarbo - Colombia/Cagliari Sampdoria: 1 black Pedro Obiang - Spain/Sampdoria Palermo: 1 black Abel Fernandez - Uruguay/Palermo Genoa: 1 black Anselmo - Brasil/Genoa Bologna: 1 black Roger Carvalho - Brasil/Bologna Turks: 2 (0.3%) GÃ¶khan Inler - Switzerland/Napoli Mervan Celik - Sweden/Pescara Arabs: 8 (1.3%) Ishak Belfodil - France/Parma Yohan Benalouane - Tunisia/Parma Mounir El Hamdaoui - Morocco/Fiorentina Ahmed Hegazy - Egypt/Fiorentina Mehdi Benatia - Morocco/Udinese Djamel Mesbah - Algeria/Milan Stephan El Sharawi - Italy/Milan Saphir Taider - France/Bologna Mesitzos/Amerindians: 9 (1.5%) Daniel MartÃnez - Paraguay/Genoa Rinaldo Cruzado - Peru/Genoa Carlos LabrÃn - Chile/Palermo Arturo Vidal - Chile/Juventus Rafael Romo - Venezuela/Udinese Edinson Cavani - Uruguay/Napoli Marquinhos - Brasil/Roma Matuzalem - Brasil/Lazio Marcelo Estegarribia - Italy/Sampdoria Asians: 2 (0.3%) Takayuki Morimoto - Japan/Catania Yuto Nagatomo - Japan/Inter Jews: 1 (0.1%) Eran Zahavi - Israel/Palermo The bad news is that even serie A is darkening. We can see teams like Juventus (which in the past had minimal number of black players) acquiring 3 Africans, and even a traditionally right-wing/nationalistic team like Lazio having 6, which is astonishing. AC Milan is as colored as ever and Inter traditionally cosmopolitan with Italians being a tyny minority. Probably the most disgusting team is Udinese (the "Italian Beveren") which is really a reselling agency for players from the Third World than a real team. They have 11 Blacks, 1 Arab and 1 Amerindian, which is astonishing from a provincial team. Sending their scouts to the four corners of the World, buying (mostly) colored players on the cheap and using Serie A as a shop-window for the big teams has been their main business model for years now. Serie A lost some star players this transfer season (Ibrahimovic from AC Milan, Lavezzi from Napoli etc.) and there were no "big" newcomers. The largest incoming transfer appearently being that of Alvaro Pereira from Porto to Inter Milan for 11M Euros, not a very large sum in top European football. This continues the trend that sees this league being less and less attractive for top players (which may not be a bad thing in my opinion, see my post "Against modern football"). And last, but not least, some things to watch: - Will Juventus be dominant again? - How will the exchange Cassano-Pazzini between AC Milan and Inter Milan play out? - See how some coaches will do - Stramaccioni at Inter, the Czech Zeman at Roma, the Bosnian/Croat Petkovic at Lazio... - See how low AC Milan and/or Inter can fall - See if there is a team that can challenge the "big 3" (my choices for possible surprises - Roma and Napoli) - See if some new star players emerge (my choice, Insigne from Napoli) - See how some oldtimers hold their own (Totti, Zanetti) - See who is going to be the dissapointment of the season (my choices - Fiorentina and Lazio who spent a lot on colored players) For those (like myself) who follow Serie A - enjoy!