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What we learned from the closing Serie A games

Wednesday 31st May 2017
With the Premier League and other top European leagues all wrapped up, the attention of soccer crazy fans moved to the Serie A. Although Juventus had clinched the trophy a week ago, the final weekend of top-flight football in Italy still had teams with a lot to play for.

Here are five things we learned from those games.

Totti, more than just a football legend

Many football greats have come and gone but there's something distinctive about Francisco Totti. Perhaps because he spent his entire 25-year career at the Stadio Olimpico making over 700 appearances with 307 goals. He once told Uefa.com: "Roma is everything to me, everything a person can want: passion, love, joy – the team I have always supported and always will." That commitment, allied to his class as a forward, helped create Totti's legend. If his trophy haul at Roma was fairly modest – one Scudetto, two Italian Cups – his reputation is enormous. No wonder almost 60,000 fans turned up and cheered when the 40-year-old replaced Mohamed Salah in the 54th minute in Sunday's 3-2 victory over Cagliari. And even if Totti didn't score or set up any goals, his mere presence was what the supporters came to see.

Edin Dzeko is king of Italy



While Totti is unarguably Roma's greatest of all time, Edin Dzeko is presently the man delivering the goods for the club. The Bosnian forward, who joined from Manchester City in 2015, isn't just the deadliest marksman in Luciano Spalletti's squad, but the entire country, after hitting 29 league goals. His strike against Genoa gave him an edge over Napoli's Dries Mertens who notched one less. The likes of Andrea Belotti (26), Gonzalo Higuaín (24) and Mauro Icardi (24) had to settle for third, fourth and fifth respectively. When compared to kings from other European leagues, the 31-year-old is ranked fifth behind Lionel Messi, Bas Dost, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Robert Lewandowski.

Roma addicted to second place



Juventus has been the dominant team in the last decade. The Old Lady have won six out of the last six Serie A titles; leaving other sides scrambling for the other spots. One of which is Roma. Three league trophies - just one in the new millennium for a club its calibre, is simply not good enough. However, the Romans would have had a trophy-stocked cabinet had there been any for runners-up. Sunday's 2-1 victory over Genoa meant they finished in second again, ahead of Napoli. In fact, since their last Scudetto in 2001, Roma have finished in the second position on eight occasions, including thrice in the last four years.

Crotone gets second chance

Crotone is guaranteed top-flight football for at least another season after edging Lazio 3-1 on Sunday. The Pythagoreans, who secured promotion to the elite division for the first time in their history in 2016, risked returning to the lower ranks going into the final fixture. It was a straight contest between them and Empoli, who held a point advantage, ahead of their trip to Palermo. However, it turned out that Davide Nicola's side deserved it more after winning six of their last nine games. A brace from Andrea Nalini, coupled with Diego Falcinelli's 13th goal of the season, confirmed their status. Empoli, on the other hand, slumped to a 2-1 defeat.

Milan clubs settle for crumbs



How the mighty have fallen. AC Milan and Inter Milan, two clubs with unrivalled history, achievements and followership, presently find themselves in a pathetic mediocre state. That was highlighted by another disappointing Serie A campaign where they finished one point apart in sixth and seventh respectively. The Rossoneri lost their final league game on the road at Cagliari, while Nerazzurri won 5-2 against Sampdoria. It is another shameful climax for both sides who have 10 Champions League titles between themselves, yet, failed to make it to the last three editions. More appalling was that Milan depended on Juventus to win the Copa Italia in order to qualify for the Europa League. While Inter will once again be missing from continental football.
Toby Prince

If the sport has 11-men on each side, a ball and lasts for 90 minutes then I'll write about it. Simply put, I'm an unrepentant soccer freak that other freaks will, however, call a geek. I do find time for music when not watching the beautiful game, though and have been known to produce the odd track. 


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