Inter Milan won their first Serie A title in 11 years, but have dethroned Juventus, who will be eager to reclaim the trophy they had created for nine consecutive seasons.
AC Milan and Atalanta have the ability to challenge, while Jose Mourinho’s return to Italy with Roma could turn things upside down.
AFP Sport examines how five title contenders will form:
Antonio Conte’s Inter have dominated Serie A this season, sealing their 19th title with four games to lose and their first ‘Scudetto’ since their historic treble under Mourinho in 2010.
Conte rebuilt the ‘Nerazzurri’ when he arrived two years ago, finishing second in his debut season before winning his fifth league crown after three with Juventus between 2012 and 2014 and one with Chelsea in 2017.
# photo1 An early European exit has allowed Inter to focus solely on the league campaign, with Conte now aiming for dominance with Inter as he did with Juve ten years ago.
First of all, the 51-year-old wants guarantees from the club’s Chinese owners on new players and stars in this campaign, including Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez, Achraf Hakimi, Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolo Barella.
Inter finished with 91 points, their second best season in history, and had the second best attack behind Atalanta, with 89 goals scored by 17 players, as well as the tightest defense.
“We want to take advantage of it but from Monday we will immediately dive into the new season,” Conte warned.
Stefano Pioli’s Milan have survived a difficult second half of the season after leading halfway to establish their side as contenders in the next campaign to tie Inter’s 19th titles with a first ‘Scudetto’ since 2011.
Despite poor form at home, Milan have been solid on the road with a Serie A record 16 away wins to finish second – 12 points behind Inter – and return to Champions League football for the first time. in seven years.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the catalyst, on and off the pitch, in a season eclipsed by injury and illness where he scored 15 goals in 19 games.
# photo2The Swedish veteran has signed up for another season with the “Rossoneri” taking him over 40 years.
Ibrahimovic has proven to be a mentor at a club with Italy’s youngest players, with midfielder Franck Kessie having his best season with 13 goals.
The club are also keen to welcome 22-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, whom Pioli praised on his “incredible season”.
Atalanta missed out on a historic second place, days after losing his first trophy since 1963 in the Coppa Italia final.
A third consecutive season of Champions League football awaits us despite the disappointment of falling to third place after a 2-0 home loss to Milan.
“I think Atalanta is at the top level today, but it won’t even be easy to keep it up against rivals who have more resources,” said coach Gian Piero Gasperini.
Atalanta tied their best points total with 78.
The Bergamo team finished the season with 90 goals scored by 14 players, including top scorer Luis Muriel (22) and Duvan Zapata (15).
Struck by injuries and irregular form, Juve’s Andrea Pirlo managed to snatch a Champions League spot to the death, with a three-game winning streak.
They lost points to lowly Benevento, Crotone, Fiorentina and Verona as novice coach Pirlo experimented tactically in the first half of the season.
Injuries to striker Paulo Dybala and veteran defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci have complicated matters.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 29 goals were not enough to secure the title for a 10th consecutive season.
Ronaldo’s future at the club remains uncertain with Federico Chiesa, Dejan Kulusevski, Alvaro Morata and Dybala showing solid strength in the latest 4-1 win over Bologna as the Portuguese striker remained on the bench.
Pirlo thinks he deserves another season in charge, despite the slippages.
“Now I know the players better, I managed to put the conditions in place so that they perform 100%,” insisted the 42-year-old.
” We are on the right path. “
Jose Mourinho will travel to Rome next season to turn the capital into Serie A title contenders after two fruitless decades. Roma won their third and final ‘Scudetto’ in 2001 with their last trophy, the Coppa Italia in 2008.
Paulo Fonseca’s side won just seven of 19 games in the second half of the season to finish seventh overall and secure a place in the Premier Europa Conference League.
© 2021 AFP