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In a previous post we looked at the title and Champions League contenders in Serie A this season. In part two of our 2018-19 Serie A preview we look at the teams who will be challenging for a Europa League spot, as well as those expected to be in a relegation battle.

Europa League Challengers

The perennial problem for the sides scrapping for a Europa League place is that they have to sell their best or most influential players every summer.

Milan Badelj left Fiorentina for Lazio, Bryan Cristante switched Atalanta for Roma and Samp’s plucky all-rounder Lucas Torreira is an Arsenal player now.

Veteran midfielder Claudio Marchisio has left Serie A champions Juventus by mutual consent after 25 years at the club.

The 32-year-old, born and raised in Turin, made his professional debut in Serie B in 2006 after Juventus were relegated following the Calciopoli corruption scandal.

He went on to play nearly 400 times for the club at which he used to be a ball-boy in his youth, and for which his family are all season-ticket holders.

Following the confirmation of his departure, Marchisio posted an emotional goodbye to social media, featuring a picture of him as a child playing football in a Juve kit.

Serie A action is back this weekend and Juventus look stronger than ever after completing the £100 million signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid this summer.

The Portuguese talisman’s arrival makes this season one of the most highly anticipated campaigns in Italy for years with 19 teams all looking to see if they can break Juventus’ stranglehold on the scudetto.

Ahead of the first round of fixtures, SATO looks at the title and Champions League contenders this season.

Title Winners

Inter have announced they will take legal action against La Liga chief Javier Tebas for his comments about their pursuit of Luka Modric.

The Liga President claimed the Nerazzurri “have no money to buy players but then offer a mountain of money”, before questioning the origin of the funds.

He also accused Inter of “tricks” in their pursuit of Real Madrid midfielder Modric, as well as aiming a dig at Juventus.

Lega Serie A were the first to hit back at Tebas’s comments, releasing a statement saying:

The journey has been longer than predicted, but the real adventure for Mattia Perin is about to start. More than seven years after making his Serie A debut, Perin finally has an opportunity to become the true heir to one of the league’s greatest, in Gianluigi Buffon.

Signed by Juventus from Genoa for €12 million in the summer, the 25-year-old has a chance to live up to the “next Buffon” hype for club and country which has followed him his entire life.

Nicola Melani, who worked with him at Pistoiese’s youth team, and was gifted the shirt by the youngster after his first Serie A match for Genoa in May 2011, said:

Real Madrid have reported Inter Milan to FIFA over their pursuit of midfielder Luka Modric.

A FIFA spokesperson confirmed that football’s world governing body had received a complaint from the Spanish club regarding the Serie A side’s attempt to sign Croatia international Modric.

Given that the Italian transfer window closes on Friday evening, it appears certain that Inter will not succeed in their mission to lure Modric away from the Bernabeu.

The 32-year-old came on as a second-half substitute in the UEFA Super Cup against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, a game Atletico won 4-2 after extra-time.

Roma sporting director Monchi is “happy with what we’ve done” on the transfer market, and says there’s still time for players to leave.

“The market for incomings ends tomorrow, but for exits it will remain open. I’m happy with what we’ve done, even if I’m always convinced we can do better.

“We did what we wanted, we moved quickly at the start to have the squad straight away, then we continued to monitor the market for opportunities. I’m happy, even if you can always do better.

Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly became the third highest-paid player in world football with his move to Juventus, but how does his whopping €30 million annual salary compare to the rest of the top earners in Serie A?

The Portugal captain’s €30 million annual salary in Italy is only beaten by Lionel Messi, who is understood to earn €46 million a year, and Neymar, with €36 million.

However, in Serie A, no one pockets as much as Ronaldo does, and the gap to second-placed Gonzalo Higuain is quite astonishing. The new AC Milan striker reportedly receives €8.5 million annually, according to beIN SPORTS correspondent Tancredi Palmeri.

The Lega Serie A has officially confirmed that Sampdoria v Fiorentina and Milan v Genoa have been postponed in light of the bridge collapse in Genoa.

The Ponte Morandi collapsed on Tuesday morning, with 38 people confirmed dead and more injured. The death toll is expected to rise.

Both Genovese clubs asked not to play their games this weekend, and the entire first round of fixtures could be delayed.

This afternoon the Lega Serie A has confirmed that two games are postponed, but there has so far been no update on the other eight.

Italy have dropped two places in the latest FIFA world rankings, falling outside the top 20 for the first time ever.

The Azzurri failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup, and were sitting in 19th place before the tournament.

Today the new rankings have been released which see Italy fall to 21st in the world, the first time since the FIFA rankings were introduced that they’ve been outside the top 20.

The national team now sits below Peru and above the USA, with France ranked as the best team in the world after winning the World Cup.