4 Things Delusional Fans Think They Learned From The Juventus-Inter Match

This morning Juventus and Inter Milan played a 90-minute match that ended in a 1-1 draw and subjected everyone to a bout of tepidly taken penalties. 

Like most friendlies, there were some players trying mildly hard and others not trying one iota (looking at you, João Cancelo). Like most friendlies, some players were in good shape and some players were not in good shape. And like all friendlies, the game was, for the most part, a meaningless spectacle meant to earn both clubs fat paychecks. 

(At least nobody got hurt: In yesterday’s friendly between Arsenal and Real Madrid, Los Blancos star Marco Asensio ruptured his ACL and will surely miss most or all of the next campaign. Obviously players need to get back into game shape, but the notion that globetrotting them around is the best way to do it is, quite clearly, silly.)

What’s equally aggravating is when fans and pundits — who must, I suppose, have something to write about — draw sweeping, irrevocable, and absolutely certain conclusions from these games. 

So here, in honor of all those fans and pundits, are four takeaways from today’s Juventus-Inter game that are definitely wrong. 

1. Matthijs de Ligt is a bust

The Old Lady’s blockbuster summer signing hasn’t looked fantastic so far, and he’s leaned so heavily into the “poor start” narrative that he decided to score his first goal for Juve’s most dreaded rivals. 

This is great: 



For Juventus haters, this has to be pretty funny. In a preseason rendition of the Derby d’Italia, de Ligt rifles one into the back of his own net. There’s equally satisfying anti-Juve poetry — if you’re into that, which a lot of people are — in the fact that Gonzalo Higuain netted the Bianconeri’s first goal of the season against Tottenham a few days prior.

Anyway, de Ligt is going to be fine. Both he and Merih Demiral are killer signings for a team whose center backs were around when Fiat started.

2. Antonio Conte has turned Inter into a contender overnight

Conte’s Inter edged Juventus in possession and shots with a roster missing just as many pieces as the Old Lady. But the main takeaway is that last year’s fourth-place finishers are looking a bit more ferocious and intense — a classic Conte team. 

But the only person who would say this team is immediately ready to compete with Juventus (and Napoli, for that matter) is a brainwashed Inter fan, an old stodgy British critic on ESPN trying to contrive some content, or some random 14-year-old on Twitter who has all the hot takes.

Calm down.

Conte may yet bring this Inter side into the championship race, but that’s going to take time. The last time Inter finished in the top three was 2010-11, so people should probably simmer down just a bit.

3. Ronaldo is unstoppable because he scored a free kick goal

For Juventus fans who have been Juventus fans long before Ronaldo showed up, the post-Ronaldo era is one of the stranger things to deal with on a day-to-day basis. The trove of rabid devotees — somehow it seems like 100 percent of his worshippers are male — is the most shocking and appalling consequence of all, their rhetoric and justifications littering every message board on the interwebs. 

Ronaldo has now scored two goals in two preseason games. It makes sense since he’s both a good player and incapable of taking it easy. 

But this goal was just kind of dumb and lucky:



Juventus have two better free kick artists than Ronaldo in Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala, but somehow this free kick deflected into the back of the net. For everyone looking through CR7-tinted glasses, the Portuguese star probably used some mind-control trick that only he wields to move the ball off the Inter player for the game’s tying goal. 

But here's the bitter truth: Ronaldo is good, but he’s declining. 

Take a look over at Sam Wilson’s excellent analysis on this Twitter thread. In short: Fabio Quagliarella, Krzysztof Piątek, and Duván Zapata all were better finishers last year in Serie A. Where Ronaldo maintains a superior edge to basically all attackers is in dribbling.

Ronaldo is in decline. Say it again, Ronaldo fans: Ronaldo is in decline. 

It’s up to Juventus to strike while the iron is still a bit toasty.

4. Maurizio Sarri’s style won’t work with Juve’s roster

As with Conte, so with Sarri.

Sarriball isn’t going to take effect overnight — especially considering the polar opposite tactics of Max Allegri — and the new Juventus manager admitted as much himself after the game. Juventus fans, now armed with Cristiano Ronaldo, are extra frenetic and insane these days, so whether or not they have the patience to bear with Sarri as he instills his system remains to be seen. But so far their side has been clunky, to say the least.

Maybe Inter are ready to win a title?

Roma Defender Chris Smalling Has Been Stellar In Italy

As if he’d not made enough of an impression since joining AS Roma on loan from Manchester United in the summer, defender Chris Smalling really stood out as an exceptional talent on the week of his 30th birthday. 

Hofstra Coach Simon Riddiough Doesn't Need The Power 5 To Define Success

By Jerry Beach

Simon Riddiough, the head coach of the Hofstra women’s soccer team, spent about two minutes of a 21-minute interview Tuesday afternoon discussing why he’s content at the Long Island school and not planning to see if he can replicate his success with a higher-profile Power Five school that would offer the resources and opportunities to make a deep NCAA Tournament run that are generally lacking in the mid-major arena.

Carlo Ancelotti, Aurelio De Laurentiis & Napoli Are In Complete Chaos

It’s hard to believe that only as far back as April 22, 2018, Napoli beat Juventus 1-0 in Turin to move top of the table with only four games remaining. Maurizio Sarri — himself now in charge at Juve — had broken the club record points total in each of the previous two campaigns, and would do so again in 2017-18, but the Naples men ultimately finished second, albeit with yet another unseen total of 91 points.

Canada Has An Opportunity To Prove Their Standing On Friday Against USMNT

This is the moment of truth for Canada's men's national team. 

Concacaf Nations League Returns For Final Group State In November

After nearly a month of waiting for the Concacaf Nations League to kick back into gear, the tournament is finally back this week with the final two matchdays in group play. 

Seattle Sounders & Toronto FC Clash With The MLS Cup On The Line

Just over a week after the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC went on the road and upset the favorites, MLS Cup 2019 is on the horizon as the 24th season in league history comes to a close. CenturyLink Field in Seattle will be the epicenter on Sunday at 3 PM when the two sides face off in the MLS Cup final for the third time in the past four years. 

Paulo Fonseca & The Unlikely Resurgence Of AS Roma In Serie A

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Potential USMNT Contributors From The Nations League Pre-Camp

November 15 could be a day of reckoning for Gregg Berhalter and the United States men's national team. After last month's 2-0 defeat to Canada — the first loss to their neighbors in 35 years — Berhalter needs a win in Orlando to help rectify the USA's position in the first-ever Concacaf Nations League. Anything other than a win would mean that Canada will advance to the semifinals, a shocking result for the U.S.

10 Things In Italy: Mario Balotelli, de Ligt Handballs & Conte's Inter

With the action in Italy heating up both on and off the field, it’s time to get you caught up with what’s been happening in the world of Serie A and, as always, “10 Things” is here to bring you right up to date.

Concaclusions, Ep. 9: Pulisic Strikes Again, Jiménez Haunts Arsenal

Another round of club play is in the books, and several of the region’s top players were in the headlines once again through clutch goals, quality performances, and even uncharacteristic errors.