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3 reasons why Italian football has a long way to fill the gap with Bayern, Real Madrid and Barcelona
1-7 is a bottomless score which Calcio should meditate on. The quality and intensity of the game displayed by the three European top clubs are still immensely superior
by Federico Formica
Roma's poor showing in the Champions League against Bayern Munich is mainly a problem for Roma's coach Rudi Garcia. But it's much more than that. It's about the entire Italian football.

Along with Juventus, who has never impressed in Europe under Conte's management, Roma are currently the best Italian side around. When the best Serie A team gets blown away by the best Bundesliga team, a hint of concern is warranted.

1-7 is a bottomless score which Italian football should meditate on. One can believe that the gap between Pep Guardiola's team and the Giallorossi is not really 6 goals wide, nonetheless the difference was huge, maybe abysmal.

There is a long and perilous way for Italian football to fill the gap with the European top teams, i.e. Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid. For these clubs every season, a Champions League semifinal is considered as a minimum goal. There are many reasons why Calcio is still a million miles away from Champions League top-flight. Yesterday, three reasons clearly emerged.

- Crazy pressing game. Pressing is one of Roma's main weapons. Bayern Munich taught them that this kind of strategy can be applied with much greater intensity and organization. There was no Bayern's player on the pitch who didn't chase the opponent with the ball at his feet from beginning to end. Muller, Gotze, Lewandowski, Robben - players who have won everything in their career and, in Robben's case, time-honoured men - never stopped pressing Roma's players. From the first to the 90th minute.

Roma and Juventus are not used to cope with such an intense pressing game. The vast majority of Serie A teams play a waiting game and press only in the final third. When they recover the ball, they start counter-attacking. When Giallorossi and Bianconeri face Europe's big wigs, they're unprepared and give an impression of constant pressure, it seems that they never have enough time to think. And that's exactly what happens.

- Which leads up to another theme: Bayern were better than Roma even physically. The tempo of their game was higher and the intensity immensely superior: after 90 minutes, with six clear goals on the scoreboard, Guardiola's boys were still dominating the field and pressing Roma. On SerieAddicted we already explained how Italian football is struggling with the pace problem, and referees can also be blamed for it.

- Quality.
It's trivial we know, but it's the truth: Bayern Munich have a stronger team, more complete, more technically gifted, more tactically aware and physically stronger. Everybody thought that De Rossi-Nainggolan-Pjanic was a top-team midfield, worthy of the Champions League, which is partially true. But even such an amazing trio fades in front of Xabi Alonso, Lahm and Gotze (or Alaba, depending on the time of the game). It's also about international experience, but the truth is that Guardiola is leading one of the best teams ever. It's perfectly normal that Bayern has a stronger side, as their revenues are otherworldly if compared to Roma's. According to Forbes, Bayern Munich revenues in the last season reached EUR 431M, while Roma got EUR 124M (we talked about Roma's finances in this piece last week). As long as the financial gap will be as overwhelming as it is now, it will be impossible for Italian sides to compete at the same level. In two weeks we'll see with our own eyes another reason for this immense gap: the Allianz Arena, or rather, "property stadia which grants huge incomes to the club during all the week. At least, Roma fans can take refuge in the fact that Roma is working hard to imitate the Bavarians' model.


Thursday, October 23 rd, 2014
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