Serie A Beginners Guide
For those who enjoy delving into the minutiae of soccer tactics, the Italian top flight, known as Serie A, has always been a big favorite.
Since its inception as a round robin tournament in 1929, the division has always been associated with the cerebral side of the beautiful game. While the Premier League is tied to physicality, the Bundesliga associated with intensity and La Liga a hotbed of technical flair, Serie A has been home to some of the most intelligent footballers the game has ever seen.
It’s a reputation that’s lasted up until the present day. While the division may not be advanced commercially as the top tiers in England and Spain, nor boast the best attendance figures in European football, it’s still packed with savvy sides and fantastic players.
In the history of Italian league football, the majority of these stars have represented Juventus, who remain an irresistible force in the division. The Bianconeri have won the title a whopping 32 times, including a run of five in succession between 2011 and 2016.
What’s also long been attractive about the Italian top flight is the amount of massive clubs in the division. Indeed, as well as the Turin giants, AC Milan and Inter Milan have each won 18 league titles in their history and play at the San Siro, considered to be one of the most iconic stadiums on the planet.
Both of the Milan clubs have endured testing times recently during Juventus’ dominance, although it has allowed for the emergence of some fresher names in the upper echelons of the Italian game. Indeed, it’s Roma and Napoli that have been the primary challengers to the Bianconeri in recent years, although neither have done enough to mount a sustained challenge.
The division itself contains 20 teams following an expansion in 2005 and takes a standard format. Unlike La Liga, the Premier League and the Bundesliga, only the top three teams secure a spot in the UEFA Champions League the following season. That’s because Italian sides have struggled to progress into the tournament’s latter stages, lowering the division’s coefficient.
For a UEFA Europa League spot a finish in fourth or fifth is needed, while the bottom three sides face relegation to Serie B.
While the division has a reputation for tight defending and controlling tactical play, there is plenty of attacking football to savor too. Indeed, Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain levelled Gino Rossetti’s record of 36 goals in a season just last term; he’ll wear Juventus’ colors after a big money transfer in the summer of 2016. Roma’s Francesco Totti, the second-highest goalscorer in Italian football history, is also still active at the age of 39.
The league title is often referred to as the Scudetto by Serie A aficionados, while the award for the division’s top goalscorer is named the Capocannoniere.
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