The inability of any Italian club to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League this season is due to finances says Inter Milan boss Walter Mazzarri.
It has been a bad season all around for Italian sides in the Champions League. Juventus and Napoli did not make it out of the group stages while AC Milan are thumped 5-1 by Atletico Madrid in their last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid. The Milan loss means that no Serie A side is in the quarter final draw for the first time in five years.
Italian football appears to have fallen behind the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga and Mozzarri beleices that is because Italian teams can no longer attract the best players in world football due to the financial problems in Serie A.
“The wage bill almost always translates into the value of the team on the field,” he told Il Sole 24 Ore. “If a player earns a lot of money, it’s because he’s shown in the past that he deserves such amounts.
“Quality always makes the difference, and quality costs money. If you reduce the wage bill to balance the accounts, then it’s only normal that you don’t get the results.”
Not only has Italian football been left behind in terms of investment in players, but Mazzarri believes one of Serie A’s biggest failings has been when it comes to producing young talent.
“Because abroad, they continue to carry forward different policies,” he said. “With time, if you create players in your own home, you can get back to being competitive internationally, but you need a lot of work, and a lot of patience.”
Not sure if I am ready to ring the death knell on Serie A football like Mazzarri is. Keep in mind that Serie A sides have competed in three of the last nine Champions League finals and Italy reached the finals of the 2012 Euros.
But I will agree that the finances in Serie A are all wrong. According to a recent article out of the 20 clubs in Italy’s top division, only six made a profit. Udinese recorded the biggest profit of €32.3 million, followed by Napoli at €8.1 million, Chievo €1.5 million, relegated Pescara €1.3 million, Fiorentina €1.2 million and Catania €100,000.
Until Serie A clubs get in line with Financial Fair Play it will be difficult to attract and keep the best players in Europe.