May 29, 2017 / 7:53 AM / 2 months ago

Soccer-Ten talking-points from the Serie A season

4 Min Read

MILAN, May 29 (Reuters) - Serie A has lost some its allure in the last few seasons yet, with its unpredictable club owners and the tactical nous of its coaches, remains one of the most colourful of the big five European leagues.

The following are 10 of the highlights and low points of the season which finished on Sunday:

Unstoppable Juventus

The Turin club won the title for their sixth successive season, the last three under phlegmatic coach Massimiliano Allegri.

They scored a pre-season blow by signing the top players from their two biggest rivals, Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain and Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic, and were almost invincible at home, winning 18 and drawing one of their 19 matches.

Palermo Chaos

Volatile owner Maurizio Zamparini announced he was selling the club after 14 years to a fund led by American-born businessman Paul Baccaglini, who opened his shirt to reveal a Palermo chest tattoo during his first press conference.

On the field, Palermo employed five difference coaches and were relegated to Serie B.

Milan Doldrums

AC Milan followed in the footsteps of neighbours Inter as they were sold to a Chinese consortium in April but both teams had mediocre seasons.

Seven-times European champions Milan finished sixth to sneak into the Europa League qualifiers while Inter employed three coaches on their way to seventh place as they missed out on Europe altogether.

Genoa

Eighth at the end of the November, Genoa finished four points clear of relegation after a second half slump.

Fans protested at one match by turning their backs to the pitch while coach Ivan Juric was fired in February, only to be recalled in April after his replacement Andrea Mandorlini failed to stop the rot.

Coaches

Apart from Palermo, AC Milan and Genoa, only Lazio, Pescara and Udinese changed coaches. Marcelo Bielsa had the shortest reign, quitting after just two days at Lazio in July because he said the club had failed to sign any of his transfer targets.

Crotone's Great Escape

Eight points adrift of safety at the start of April, Crotone spent the whole of their debut Serie A season in the relegation zone until the very last day, when they beat Lazio 3-1 to pull clear and send Empoli down instead.

The Calabrians won six of their last nine games, having won just three of their first 29.

Francesco Totti

The 40-year-old played his 25th and final season for AS Roma although it was often an uncomfortable situation as coach Luciano Spalletti left the talisman on the bench for most of the time.

Racism

Serie A continued to struggle with racism.

Lazio left back Senad Lulic was banned for 20 days after saying that AS Roma defender Antonio Ruediger was selling socks and belts in Stuttgart, seeming to imply that the German, whose mother is from Sierra Leone, was once a street vendor.

Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari walked off in protest during a match for Pescara at Cagliari, saying the referee had booked him for dissent when he complained about racist abuse from some fans.

Dzeko

Bosnia forward Edin Dzeko rediscovered his scoring touch for AS Roma as he ended the season as the league's leading marksman with 29 goals. He netted another eight in the Europa League and two more in the Coppa Italia.

Napoli

Despite Higuain's pre-season departure, Napoli finished third and set club records for the number of points in a season (86) and goals scored (94). They lost just four matches, three of them in October, in a slump that effectively cost them the title. (Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by John O'Brien)

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