5 things to know about the Italian league
MILAN (AP) — It’s top against bottom this weekend as Juventus visits Catania looking to maintain its charge to a third straight Serie A title.
Juventus is 14 points ahead of second-place Roma, which has a game in hand and travels to Chievo Verona on Saturday.
Here are five things to know about the Italian league this weekend:
SEEDORF IN TROUBLE
Clarence Seedorf was hailed as AC Milan’s savior when he arrived at the start of the year, but the new manager may shortly be heading for the exit door.
Seedorf won his first two league matches in charge to prompt talk of a change in fortunes for Milan.
However, the Rossoneri are on a four-game losing streak and Seedorf’s record in all competition is now four wins, one draw and seven losses.
Milan visits Lazio on Sunday and will also need a positive result against Fiorentina three days later if Seedorf is to save his job.
There are also reports of a dressing room divide, with some of the players unhappy with Seedorf.
“We’re not interested in what the papers say,” goalkeeper Marco Amelia said. “We’re all united in the dressing room and we want to highlight that. If it was true there would be stories of arguments, fights.
“We’re not like that at Milan, at the training ground there’s an air of us being even more united, especially in difficult times. We’re united to get out of this situation.”
NEW MILAN STADIUM
AC Milan has expressed interest in buying land on the northwest outskirts of the city to build a new 60,000-seat stadium.
The Rho area will host the Expo Milan world fair from May to October in 2015.
Milan currently shares the city-run San Siro stadium with Inter Milan.
Plans are in the initial stages and no deal has been signed yet.
With 75 points and 10 matches still to go, Juventus has a chance to become the first Serie A club to reach the 100-point barrier.
Inter Milan set the record of 97 points in 2006-07.
Serie A began awarding three points for wins in the 1994-95 season and the current 20-club format began in 2003-04.
Juventus won the past two titles with 84 and 87 points, respectively.
“We’re doing super super incredible things,” coach Antonio Conte said. “But the title is the priority.”
Juventus has won 24, drawn three and lost just one match — a 4-2 defeat at Fiorentina in October. It visits bottom club Catania on Sunday.
Giuseppe Rossi’s return to the pitch is likely still at least month away but Fiorentina is getting excited nonetheless by his scheduled presence at Thursday’s Europa League match with Juventus.
The United States-born Rossi has been doing rehabilitation in the New York area following the latest injury to his right knee in January.
He is being treated by the same specialists who helped him recover from his previous two — more serious — injuries.
Despite his absence, Rossi still sits joint second with Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain on the Serie A scoring chart with 14 goals. Carlos Tevez of Juventus has 15 goals.
Fiorentina visits third-placed Napoli on Sunday.
PARMA TARGETS EUROPE
Parma will be looking to boost its push for Europe when it hosts Genoa in the lunchtime kickoff on Sunday.
Roberto Donadoni’s side currently occupies the last Europa League qualifying spot as it sits sixth in Serie A, five points ahead of Lazio.
It is also just a point behind Inter Milan and two behind Fiorentina, and has a game in hand on its rivals.
“We are having a great season,” Parma President Tommaso Ghirardi said. “We’ve been building something important for a few years now. Let’s hope that the squad grows still further.
“I’m proud that clubs are after our players. Donadoni is helping the squad grow tactically and on a human level. He has another year left on his contract, I would make him sign for another four or five.”
Parma is on a club record 16-match unbeaten run.
AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed.