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Juventus are entirely dominant in Italy. When will their rivals step up? | Fede Manasse

Juventus are on course to win a sixth successive Serie A title and are again the last Italian team left in Europe, but other clubs are showing signs of revival

By Fede Manasse for The Gentleman Ultra, of the Guardian Sport Network

To the majority of football supporters, the Italian game is a fallen giant. Serie A is seen as a fading image of what was once the best league on the planet – an image that remains vivid only in the memories of older generations. Its keenest aficionados will disagree but, given that most people only experience Italian clubs through European competitions, can they really be blamed for holding such a gloomy view of Serie A?

This year has followed a familiar trend, with Juventus the only team to make it as far as the quarter-finals of the Champions League or Europa League. Napoli were beaten by Real Madrid home and away in the last-16 of the Champions League, while Roma did not even make it to the group stage after their defeat to Porto in the qualifiers. Instead, they dropped into the Europa League, where they lost to Lyon in the last-16. But at least they went further than Fiorentina, who were knocked out in the first knockout stage, and Inter and Sassuolo, who both finished bottom of their groups. Inter, champions of Europe just seven years ago, finished below Sparta Prague, Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Southampton.

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