With weeks of verbal gymnastics under their belts, Jose Mourinho and his Juventus counterpart Claudio Ranieri finally meet up on Saturday in the derby d’Italia.
This derby is one of the most intense matches in Italy between two teams not from the same city and the derby gets it’s name from the fact that up until the calciopoli scandal of 2006, neither team had been relegated from Serie A.
There is no love lost between these managers, as Mourinho was Ranieri’s replacement at Chelsea and earlier this year was also touted as a possible replacement again at Juventus. At Chelsea Ranieri had built up a decent side only to be sacked in 2004. The Italian would have to watch Mourinho as he jumped into the driver’s seat of his well oiled Blue machine, leading Chelsea to two Premier League titles.
Now that Mourinho has entered the Serie A ring it was inevitable jibs between the two would surface starting first with Ranieri claiming the Portuguese needed to win to be assured of himself, and then Mourinho responding on Ranieri’s lack of desire, “He, on the other hand, has the mentality of someone who doesn’t need to win” continuing, “He’s too old to change his mindset”.
The rivalry with Juventus is an old one and in recent years has become ever so bitter. As mentioned Juventus were demoted in 2006 (due to a match-fixing scandal) resulting in the club being stripped of the title, leaving their derby opponents Internazionale to be awarded the championship. If that wasn’t salt in the wound Bianconeri tifosi would also endure Inter signing their star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and midfield playmaker Patrick Vieira upon decent into Serie B.
With return to topflight last season, the Turin side set sights on a reckoning and in the first derby match drew Inter 1 – 1 at home. The white-blacks would again reek havoc during the return leg of March of this year with a 2 – 1 winner, giving life back to Inter’s closest rivals Roma in the scudetto race. Inter would eventually go on to win the scudetto but it would take the final match day to determine the outcome.
Matchups to Watch
Look out for, Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Giorgio Chiellini these two do enjoy each others company and the big Swede last term gave Chiellini a mouth full of elbow to remind him.
Serie A Talk – Clash of Titans
FootballItaliano – Derby d’Italia: Historical look-back
Bleacher Report – Derby d’Italia Matchup to Watch: Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Giorgio Chiellini
Soccerway – Head to Head Statistics