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?

Berhalter With A Decision To Make, Canada's Vicious Attack & A Growing Cuba

null

Group A of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League offers no shortage of intriguing storylines. 

D.C. United Can't Overcome Reyna's First Half Goal, Fall 1-0 To 'Caps

With Wayne Rooney back in the lineup, D.C. United could not turn a plethora of shots into a goal on Saturday night, falling 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place. Yordy Reyna scored the game's only goal in the 18th minute, as United failed to pick up their first two-game winning streak since May. The loss dropped the Black-and-Red down into fourth place in the Eastern Conference, just one point ahead of rivals the New York Red Bulls, who come to town on Wednesday.

D.C. United Begin Busy Week With Visit To Face Vancouver Whitecaps

The New Look D.C. United

After scraping together a much-needed 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy on Sunday, D.C. United will look to make it two wins in a row tonight when they travel to Canada to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Black-and-Red haven't won two games in a row since May 4 and May 12, when they took down the Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City in back-to-back games at Audi Field. The win over LA last weekend catapulted United back into third place in the Eastern Conference, despite just three wins in their past 14 games.

Concacaf Legends: Honduras' Left Back For Over A Decade, Emilio Izaguirre

Sometimes, it's hard to go back home. 

Clint Dempsey Forged A Career & Persona Unlike Any Other US International

Small-town Texan. Bass fisherman. Rapper. Premier League star. World Cup hero.

League C Brings Caribbean Nations Trying To Climb The Concacaf Ladder

null

The inaugural Concacaf Nation kicks off in less than a month and in League C — the lowest tier of the competition — are 13 nations aiming to grow and gain promotion to League B in the next edition. The tournament is the first of its kind involving all 41 teams in the region and is a welcomed opportunity for many of the participants to convene and take part in more competitive matches than ever before, seven of which FIFA President Gianni Infantino recently visited to assess the development of the sport in the Caribbean.

El Salvador, Jamaica vs Guyana & A Potential Upset Team Highlight League B

null

League B of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League has a couple of surprising teams to go along with several teams that could vie for a promotion spot, against all odds. Despite finishing Nations League qualifying on the same amount of points as three teams that ended up in League A, Jamaica and El Salvador fell to League B by virtue of their goal differential over the four qualifying games. 

Balanced Group C Offers Best Fight In League A Of Concacaf Nations League

null

Just around the corner, the Concacaf Nations League tournament hits the group stage for the first installment of the tournament. After the qualifying stage that took place at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, the 41 teams in the region have been split up into three leagues, with group play starting during next month's international break. 

Chicharito's Mexico Legacy Is Secure, But Don't Count Him Out Just Yet

Right place, right time.

Sans Rooney, Arriola And Rodriguez Fire United To Win Over Galaxy

Coming off a challenging week, and without their captain on the field, D.C. United put an end to a recent poor run of results, beating the LA Galaxy 2-1 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. With Wayne Rooney out sick, and Luciano Acosta on the bench, Paul Arriola and Lucas Rodriguez scored on either side of the half, canceling out a second-half strike from Favio Alvarez.