Back when the Serie A was leagues ahead from the rest of European football, a match between Juventus and AC Milan could be considered the best club match in the world.
Things are different now. Barcelona and Real Madrid are so far ahead of the rest when it comes to the importance of a single rivalry and its effect, especially economical, on European viewers and globally. In England, the Manchester derby and the United vs Chelsea clashes have turned into something of the highest quality. In Germany, Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund over the last couple of years has been one of the best fixtures anyone can watch when he sits down to grab a game of football/soccer.
In Italy, football is in a strange flux. The Inter dominance days, the depressing days of Inter dominance, are gone. There are quite a few teams playing attractive and open football in Italy, with the special tactical touch. Juventus do it better than anyone else, but they’ve managed, through smart financial behavior over the last three years and finally some clever signings, to pull ahead of the rest, while the big names we’re used to seeing next to them are struggling coping with the new financial reality.
AC Milan did strike first in the Cup match played in Turin, but they were always dragged by Juventus, who set the pace and the tone of the match. There’s no real competition between the two teams when it comes to quality and depth. Milan are getting rid of the pieces that once led the side, most during the last summer, while Pato has now left to Brazil and Robinho is on his way out. Two massive disappointments.
Milan actually beat Juventus when the two met at the San Siro in the league match, but it’s hard to deny the difference between the two sides at the moment, with Juventus pretty close to cruising their way towards a second consecutive title while doing a fantastic job in their return to the Champions League.
They didn’t even have to play a full lineup to dominate the match, only to be thwarted by not having the kind of striker they want. It’s still quite unclear whether they’ll be upgrading with Fernando Llorente or maybe even Didier Drogba. At the moment they have two forwards, Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella, who are both unreliable in terms of goal-scoring despite their moments of brilliance. Mirko Vucinic, coming off the bench, sealed the deal in extra time, which sent Juventus into an embarrassing stretch of trying to make time fly without actually playing football. They almost paid for it in the end.
A strong Juve and Milan means a world of good for the Serie A, who needs its two strongest global brands to become great again. Juventus are on the right path, Milan are currently in some sort of financial limbo, like the rest of the league, only having trouble handling it. Napoli and Lazio are filling the void at the moment, but it doesn’t feel like they’re here to stay for a long time. Milan have a future, but it’s going to take time until it kicks in. Juventus? Their future and a potential beginning of a golden age has already started.