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Serie A is quite different from all the other European leagues. The Italian fans see each game as a performance. There are ultras in some of the clubs, who are neither hard core fans nor the hooligan types found in England. Even football is called as calcio, literally translating to “kick” in Italian. Sadly, lot of these are lost in translation for the world outside Italy.
Empty stands, stadiums which vibrate with noise as if to fall and the language barrier restricts the reach of Serie A. Injury times are longer, the fans at home enjoy it as much as they enjoy the goals. The goals are called conclusions and a player is said to author the goal. At moments, the green pitch is treated like a battlefield. A ball is conquered from the opponent, in a “duello,” and get past through “contrastos.” And some times, like art. A regista or playmaker controls the fraseggio or possession. A great game is known as spectacollo, or a play.
Maestros like Paolo Maldini, Roberto Baggio, Gianluigi Buffon, Favio Cannavaro, Alessandro Del Piero, Andrea Pirlo and Cristiano Ronaldo have composed symphonies with the ball in Italy. The world has seen some great masterminds from Italy too. Coaches like Carlo Ancelotti, Fabio Capello, Marcello Lippi, Vittorio Pozzo and Giovanni Trapattoni have won European and international accolades.
There is no trouble as far as the action is within the pitch, when it happens in the stands, chaos follows. The Ultra culture died down in the start of the millennia but is returning. Modern ultras don’t care much about the games or club loyalty, as witnessed in the Romelo Lukaku incident. Napoli are often found at the epicentre of the abuses from these ultras.
AC Milan and Inter have a long-standing rivalry going on between them. Derby della Madonnina is played in San Siro during the domestic league games. Both the clubs claim their rights to the stadium. Milan’s refusal to include foreign players was the starting point of the rivalry.
Derby della Capitale is another famous Italian derby fought between the capital clubs, Roma and Lazio. The ultras of Lazio represent the far-right wing and some of them openly support fascists. A riot broke out in the stands on 21 March 2004, in a derby between the two clubs. Around 170 policemen were injured, injuries to fans are unaccounted.