Serie A action gets back underway this weekend and what could well be a four-way fight for the title will resume, and 10 former Scudetto winners have given their predictions.
La Gazzetta dello Sport spoke to 10 former players who have won the Scudetto multiple times: Dino Zoff, Hernán Crespo, Ciro Ferrara, Andrea Barzagli, Mauro Tassotti, Julio Cruz, Franco Causio, Aldo Serena, Fernando De Napoli and José Altafini.
The paper asked them who will win the 2021-22 Scudetto and the players that will be key in getting their team over the line. Milan are top of the table with eight games to go but only lead Napoli by three points and Inter by six (who have a game in hand).
Starting with Dino Zoff (via PianetaMilan), he believes that ‘Juventus can get involved in the fight for first place’ and added that ‘whoever has the strongest group in terms of experience, personality, ability to manage the various phases and also athletic condition will win the league’.
Hernan Crespo: “For what the table is saying at the moment, Milan are the big favourite and in the end they will be able to take home the Scudetto. The reasons are very simple: today Pioli’s team is the one that plays better football than the big names, and then it has a huge advantage: their head is free, the pressure at this moment is all on the rivals.
“The men of the season end will be Ibrahimovic and Giroud, with their goals the two ‘older’ ones, those used to playing to win, will be fundamental. They will be the ones to drag their teammates, who in any case have shown throughout the season that they have acquired the winning mentality that makes the difference.
“Looking at the calendar, I really believe that there may be an escape. The next three matches will be decisive: there are important clashes, Milan will take advantage of them.”
Ciro Ferrara: “It is impossible to say now who will win the Scudetto, the next day will be decisive because Napoli and Inter have two big commitments away against Atalanta and Juventus. Milan can take advantage of this situation, the advantage in the standings puts them in the position of favourites but I put them on a par with Inter and Napoli, while Juve pays for the bad start and for me they are further behind.”
Andrea Barzagli: “I believe that Milan have a few more percentages than the others, because they have enthusiasm, have a good schedule and can take advantage of the two direct clashes of the others in the next round of the season. Juventus are in the running but it does not depend only on them, they must make the maximum effort by winning them all and hope that the other three stop.”
Mauro Tassotti: “Everything is still in great balance, especially among the top three. They are close and with so many points still up for grabs, nothing can be ruled out. But if there is a favourite, it is Milan, it is useless to deny it. The advantage in the table is indisputable and especially in the next round they will have to be good at feeding it. In general, the calendar is good, a point in favour to be exploited to the fullest.”
Julio Cruz: “I am convinced that in the end Inter will be able to win: considering that they have to recover a game, then in my opinion they will be able to recover and straighten out the last period which was not exceptional. But with 9 races available there is still time to get back on track: they will reach the top.”
Franco Causio: “I’ll tell you a story from the past. When I took the coaches course, I had a very good partner, super fussy. Already in those days, in Coverciano, he understood he would become good. It was Stefano Pioli. In my opinion, his Milan are favourites, partly because they play well together, they are a united group, partly because their schedule seems good to me.”
Aldo Serena: “At this moment I say Milan and not only for the advantage of the points in the table but because lately it has shown that they can win even ugly, narrow matches. It means they have the right belief.
“The decisive man at this stage of the season can be Leao, obviously as a Milan fan. He has a verve superior to the others, and still unexplored room for improvement. He has quality combined with speed, he can create numerical superiority, put every opponent in difficult conditions. For Pioli he could be decisive in unlocking the balance.”
Fernando De Napoli: “I see Milan as the favourite also because they have a three-point advantage over second place. But Napoli must also be kept an eye on: a lot will depend on Sunday’s away match against Atalanta. Without forgetting Inter who have the most competitive squad: at least on paper. While I don’t think Juventus can go back to first place.”
Jose Altafini: “Honestly, I don’t see a team with more chances than the others, everything is still very open. Given the number of games left, and the calendar in hand, I can’t name a favourite in the title race. Ibra and Giroud can bring their experience, Leao and Vlahovic their talent and enthusiasm. And let’s not forget a goalkeeper too: Maignan, is the strongest in the league.”