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An Indonesian Funded New Era At Inter While Roma Just Keep Going

Monday 21st October 2013
After an International break that saw the qualification campaign for next year's World Cup in Brazil come to a close and Wembley remembering what it was like to enjoy watching England, normal service resumed at the weekend.

Of course Italy had booked their place for next summer in the last round of matches, but narrowly avoided suffering the same fate as England as they managed to secure a seed for the group stage draw that will take lace on December 6th. Cesare Prandelli's men had Mario Balotelli to thank for saving the Azzurri from a rather embarrassing home defeat to Armenia last week, meaning their unbeaten record remained in tact.

Times are changing at Inter

In the domestic circles, Balotelli's old side Inter have the focus of some of the news during the last fortnight. A new era is dawning for the Milanese club after Indonesian company International Sports Capital, headed by billionaire Erick Thohir, purchased a 70 per cent stake.However, it's not a complete reshuffle in the boardroom, as club President of 18 years Massimo Moratti retains the other 30 per cent shareholding and maintains a role with the Nerazzurri.

Quite what this means for the club remains to be seen, though things are certainly looking up after years of underachieving and mediocrity. Many of the Interisti hold Morratti and Sporting Director Marco Branca responsible for their relative demise since dominating both Italian and European football at times towards the end of the last decade. This new investment in the club can only be good news in their eyes

Though there is no sign that much has to change, certainly in the dugout. Since manager Walter Mazzarri took the reigns at half of the San Siro, his team have performed excellently for the most part and, although it feels strange calling a team who won the Champions League four seasons ago surprise packages, they are certainly doing better than expected and right now look good for challenging for a return to Europe's premier competition.

That is, of course, if you don't take into account home humiliation to high flying and impressive Roma, who ran out 0-3 winners at the San Siro prior to the International dispersion

Whether this campaign is the one that sees Inter really challenge for a Champions League place for the first time in a couple of years it remains to be seen, with only a top 3 spot being good enough to rub shoulders with Europe's elite. It's a long season in which their have only been seven games. But sitting 4th in the league right now and with new found financial backing, it isn't a bad time to be an Inter fan.

Are Roma Europe's top dogs?

It may be very premature to compare Rudi Garcia's charges to the likes of Bayern or Barça, but Roma are taking Serie A by storm. Eight games in to the campaign without dropping a point means the world is sitting up and taking note.

Friday's home game to Napoli was probably Roma's first real test of the season, but having gone to the San Siro and taken apart a seemingly resurgent Inter side, it certainly is no fluke that the side from the capital are on top of the Italian pile.

The way that the Giallorossi brushed aside Rafa Benitez's side 2-0, while Diego Maradona watched on could raise the question of where Roma stand when it comes to the most in form teams in European football.

The facts state that they top that table, too.

It's been well documented that former Lille man Garcia was not first choice for the top job at the Stadio Olimpico, and some of his transfer dealings, notably Gervinho, were questioned at the time. Having been together in Northern France, Garcia has given the Ivory Coast international a new lease of life.

Kevin Strootman has also been an excellent signing, but the most striking thing about the team is the team ethic. Having sold top scorers from last season Pablo Osvaldo and Erik Lamela, Roma have seen the goals shared around this season between the likes of Gervinho, Alessandro Florenzi and of course Francesco Totti.

Miralem Pjanic's double was enough to down the Partenopei on Friday evening, and with fixtures against Udinese, Torino, Sassuolo and Caligari coming up it's more than feasible that this run of form can carry on.

Whether they can sustain this level for long enough to challenge for the Scudetto, you can't be sure. But at the same time, you can't rule it out.
Harry De Cosemo
19 years old, Newcastle season ticket holder. European football enthusiast and aspiring football writer. Currently doing a Journalism degree at Teesside University. You can follow me on Twitter: @harrydecosemo

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