Once upon a time I was an avid watcher of Serie A football.
That was back in the 90s before my family got Sky TV and its endless streams of live sporting action from across the globe. At that time the only free to view weekly football was via Channel 4's Football Italia.
The show consisted of well know presenter James Richardson sitting in cafes, striding alongside canals and generally taking in the magnificent scenery of which ever Italian town or city he happened to be in that week while all the time talking about football - nice work if you can get it!
Most of the Italian I can speak comes from watching Football Italia
Beyond the obvious advantages to the Italian Tourist Board was the football itself. This was a time when Serie A was the strongest, richest league in the world. The likes of Ronaldo (the Brazilian one), Zidane, Batistuta, Zanetti and Nedved all plied their trade in Italy's top flight alongside local stellar names such as Maldini, Del Pierro, Baggio and Buffon (yes, he's really been around that long).
My best Serie A XI of the mid 1990s to early 2000s
The football they played was light years ahead of most of the action in the Premier League which didn't really become a credible force in Europe until around the turn of the century following Manchester United's 1999 Champions League victory.
Ultitmately the Premier League upped its game, the likes of Real Madrid went on galactico spending sprees and Serie A itself imploded with a string of clubs going under due to financial mismanagement and several others at the very top of the Italian game caught up in match fixing and corruption.
I guess you could say that with Juve's signing on Cristiano Ronaldo, Serie A is beginning to flex its muscles once more but the fact remains the very best of the best in club football are more likely to be found plying their trade in England, Spain and Germany while a move to Italy is generally reserved for those on the downward curves of their career.
Of course the traditional strength of Italian football hasn't just been it's ability to attract the very best talent from abroad, the backbone has been the local talent. However, there too, Serie A and the Azzurri national team are struggling.
Gone are the days when the vast majority of the Italy squad could be found as key players at the likes of Juventus, either of the Milan giants or the big 2 in Rome. These days Brecia who have already been relegated to Serie B contribute as many players to the national team as AC Milan and Inter while mid-table Torino's squad has received more international call-ups this season than their city rivals and top of the league Juventus.
Until Italian grassroots football begins to produce players of the calibre that have delivered it 4 World Cups to date and those players begin to get game time at the biggest cubs then it seems unlikely that Serie A will be fully revived any time soon.
Still, with most of the other major football leagues in Europe finished for the season this is what we are left with! So here are some value odds on the final round of Serie A matches for 2019/20 being played today.
You can find my odds at zero % commission on betscorum