Serie A (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsɛːrje ˈa]), currently called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia Mobile, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top echelon of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new league, the Lega Serie A, has been created for the 2010-11 season. It is regarded as one of the most elite leagues of the footballing world. Historically, Serie A has produced the highest number of European Cup finalists and the most victories in the competition, such as Spanish clubs. In total Italian clubs have reached the final of the competition on a record twenty-six different occasions, winning the title twelve times. Currently, Serie A is ranked 4th among European leagues according to UEFA's league coefficient, which is based on the performance of Italian clubs in the Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. It also ranked 4th in world according to the first trends of the 2010 IFFHS rating.
In its current format, the Italian Football Championship was revised from having regional and interregional rounds, to just one solid league from the 1929–30 season onwards; the Serie A system carries on today. The championship titles won before 1929 are officially recognised by FIGC as a championship in the same way the ones since then are. The 1945–46 season, when the league was played over two geographical groups due to WWII destructions, is not statistically considered, even if its title is fully official.
The league hosts three of the world's most famous clubs as Juventus, Milan and Internazionale, all founding members of the G-14 a group representing the largest and most prestigious European football clubs; Serie A was the only league to produce three founding members. More players have won the coveted Ballon d'Or award while playing at a Serie A club than any other league in the world. Milan is one of two clubs with the most official international titles in the world, and have won 7 European Cups, only surpassed by Real Madrid, and more than Internazionale and Juventus combined. Juventus, the most successful Italian team, is tied for third in Europe and sixth in the world in the same ranking. They are also the only club in the world to have won all official international competitions. Internazionale, following their achievements in the 2009-10 season, are the first and only Italian team to have achieved The Treble.
Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has rejected claims that his side are too old and has backed the Nerazzurri to repeat last year's unprecedented Treble triumph.
Moratti has come under criticism for sanctioning the sale of talented youngster Mario Balotelli to Manchester City last month, with many claiming that Inter have failed to successfully nurture young talent in recent years.
And with Inter boss Rafael Benitez not bringing any high-profile signings to the club before the transfer window closed, while rivals AC Milan brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho, the Nerazzurri's title credentials have been questioned in some quarters.
But despite Benitez having a undeniable wealth of experience at his disposal - including 37-year-old captain Javier Zanetti - Moratti insisted that the club have, and will continue to, invest in youth, adding to the arrivals of teenage pair Philippe Coutinho and Marco Davide Faraoni over the summer from Vasco de Gama and Lazio respectively.
"We are not an old team," Moratti said. "We didn't win 10 years ago but two months ago. We are focusing on youngsters: we already have some here while others will arrive over the course of the season.
"I am not pessimistic by the fact that the other teams have reinforced. We decided that buying just for the sake of buying wasn't worth it. I don't understand that pessimism of some people towards Benitez.
"Rafa will know how to overcome the comparisons with the past and the fans are also on the coach's side. They have understood his philosophy."
Roma manager Claudio Ranieri has confirmed he intends to sign a new contract with the club.
Ranieri, 58, joined Roma in September 2009 and is under contract until June 2011, but he has been touted as a potential future manager of the Italian national team.
However, Ranieri, who led Roma to second in Serie A last season as well as to the Coppa Italia final, insists he has no intention of leaving the club before his work is complete.
"I never thought about Italy and the reason is simple - Rome is my city and Roma is my team," he said. "There is a project at Roma and I am proud that (club president Rosella) Sensi included me in it. I want to continue this adventure with Roma.
"I will renew my contract but I am not in a hurry. There's no urgency. Soon everything will be done."
Roque Santa Cruz has refused to rule out a move to Italy in January despite the collapse of his move to Lazio.
Santa Cruz, who was included in Manchester City's 25-man squad last week, is expected to have limited opportunities at Eastlands and was linked to a number of clubs in the Premier League and Serie A over the summer.
Lazio had apparently been close to a deal but, amid reports they could not agree a deal with City, the move broke down on deadline day.
"I had hoped to arrive in Rome," Santa Cruz told Corriere dello Sport. "That was my dream. Unfortunately, the deal fell through. There has been a lot of talk of my arrival to Italy and perhaps next time it will materialise.
"We will see what happens in the next few months. I don't like to look too far away and I don't know what Lazio's intentions are. I have received many offers but I had hoped to play in Rome. I am happy in England but Italian football fascinates me and I would love to have an experience in Serie A.''
Lazio president Claudio Lotito has said they could revisit the situation when the transfer window reopens.
Cesena's bright start to the Serie A season continued as the newly-promoted side stunned the superstars of AC Milan with a 2-0 win at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi.
Fabrizio Castori's side kicked off life in the top flight with a creditable point at last year's runners-up Roma, and followed that result up with a deserved triumph.
Erjon Bogdani and Emanuele Giaccherini grabbed the goals in the opening period for the hosts, who will enjoy the distinction of sitting second in the standings for a few hours at least.
The visitors kicked off their season with a 4-0 demolition of Lecce but this result will be an early wake-up call for coach Massimiliano Allegri, whose miserable night was capped when Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty four minutes from time.
Daniele Conti was instrumental for Cagliari as they crushed Roma 5-1 at the Stadio Sant'Elia, although the goalscoring midfielder was in hospital when the final whistle sounded.
Conti put the Sardinians in front in the eighth minute before Daniele De Rossi brought Roma level 10 minutes later. Conti was then hacked down inside the penalty area by Nicolas Burdisso, who saw red before Alessandro Matri put Cagliari in front, but Conti was already on his way to hospital as a result of the challenge by the time Robert Acquafresca made it three in the 38th minute.
Matri's second of the game in the 47th minute made it four before Andrea Lazzarri completed the rout with three minutes remaining.
Inter Milan moved to the top of the Serie A table thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 win over Udinese at the San Siro.
Lucio put Inter ahead after six minutes, but Antonio Floro Flores deservedly levelled after 31. Samuel Eto'o scored the winner in the 67th minute after his penalty was saved to earn Inter coach Rafael Benitez his first win in Serie A.
Roma boss Claudio Ranieri has used his weekly press conference to deliver a speech attacking the media.
Captain Francesco Totti said after this week's 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League that the catenaccio approach adopted had been ill-advised, and it was reported in the press that the pair were feuding.
It has also been suggested that Ranieri, 58, could lose his job despite guiding Roma to second in Serie A last season as well as the Coppa Italia final.
Taking no questions from the media, Football Italia quotes Ranieri as saying: "This time I will begin and I will finish, seeing as I have heard so much and want to tell the truth to the fans. As you know, I am very clear and fair with everyone and in everything.
"There are things that are not going well, such as the results and the performance. It's not an issue of playing defensive or attacking football, as we wanted to play to win, just as we always have.
"We lost 5-1 at Cagliari. The coach takes the responsibility and I have never shied from that in my career, let alone at my home club, where I am the number one fan.
"I read that Totti was against me. Nothing more absurd has ever been written. I already said last season that this is a locker room full of healthy, intelligent people who want to do their best. Sometimes they achieve it, sometimes they don't.
"I have a fair and honest rapport with all my players, so imagine if that wasn't the case with my captain. He has been here a lifetime, suffered a thousand injuries for his team. I am Roman and Romanista, do you think I of all people wouldn't understand him?
"I am their leader, I am their coach. Everything I do, I do for Roma, whether it goes well or not.
"It's too easy to talk with the benefit of hindsight. Too easy. I do things beforehand based on all the information I have and what happens during the week. It's too easy for you lot afterwards.
"Last season when I arrived you said this team was too old and couldn't handle it anymore. You hurled mud on this side. These lads allowed you to dream all year. This season we wanted to start at 1,000 miles per hour, but for a series of factors we haven't been able to.
"I don't want alibis and I don't need them. We want to give more and we know that. We won over the fans because we gave everything in every second of every game. We won, lost, played well or badly, but we fought.
"We didn't want to be embarrassed in Munich, but the game wasn't all bad, as we had more chances in the first half. We got it wrong after the break and I take responsibility.
"I will not accept these insults. This team has balls and will prove it. I won't name names on the mud-slingers, but we will remember you. You say, "Ranieri only knows 4-4-2". What do you know of me or my career, where I won with many different systems?
"Whenever a side loses, it's too easy to look to who didn't play. This is like a sports bar conversation."
Slamming his fist on his desk, he added: "We've got to look at reality! You're all, 'Ooh, why isn't Fabio Simplicio playing?' He had an injury and only started training in August. He'll be useful to Roma, but his time will come.
"I would like to talk about Bologna, as we all know it's a difficult game against a side who clam up and go on the counter. We're going through a tough time and in my 20-year career I've been through 3,000 of them. Do you think I always sat on the bench smoking a cigar?
"This team fights hard and proved it last season when nobody believed in us. Our fans will be with us, because we want to give them what we shared last year.
"We're starting with a handicap, just as we did last season, and just as we got back then we will get back now. I tell you this and I underline it. Goodbye and thank you."
Inter star Samuel Eto'o has rejected claims he is a disruptive influence on the dressing room and claims Lionel Messi pleaded with Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola not to sell him.
Eto'o, 29, has been portrayed as a difficult character and Guardiola is thought to have sold the player to Inter in 2009 because he felt he was a negative presence at the club.
However, Eto'o told L'Equipe Mag: "When Guardiola wanted me out, Messi went to him and said, 'Let whoever you want go, but not Samuel'. All my coaches will tell you that I am a great professional. I've not always been a role model in terms of discipline, but I have always been rigorous and professional."
He added: "I've played and I've been successful with Ronaldinho, with Messi - with many great players - and if I couldn't stand playing with other great players, why would I have helped bring my friend Thierry Henry to Barcelona?
"I don't fear for my place - on the contrary, I work for the success of the team. When Ronaldinho arrived at Barcelona, they did not win anything. After my arrival, we won it all."
It was also suggested that Eto'o tried to take control of Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen's team selection during the World Cup this summer, but the striker said: "This is absolutely false."
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