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Montreal Impact, former Serie A and Azzurri U21 midfielder Marco Donadel discusses his life in Montreal, the upcoming MLS season and some calcio, of course, in an exclusive three part interview with

Preface: We would like to thank Massimo Lecas @MassimoMTL, owner of Buonanotte, for graciously hosting us yesterday, and the Montreal Impact organization for accommodating us.

Today in part two, Donadel discusses Serie A and Italian football in general and gives his two cents on the race for third.

Part 2 – Calcio Talk

IFD – Who is the best Italian player at the moment? 

MD: Without any doubt, Verratti. Based on what he has done, the potential he has, his personality, he is the future of Italy.

IFD – How have things changed for the Azzurri from when you were part of the U-21?

MD: Back in the day, when Italy fielded their starting XI, from number 1 to number 11 there were 11 champions. Even the players on the bench would scare you. Just look at the strikers, guys like Inzaghi, Del Piero, Montella, Vieri, Totti were on the bench.

Now the choices for striker are limited. You need someone with some personality. Zaza is an option as he has this attitude. Whoever goes from Juve to the national team does well. Balotelli isn’t what Italy needs. I like to make comparisons to the generation I grew up with. When Del Piero was 23-24 year’s old, you could already tell that he’d play with the national team for 15 years.

Today the Azzurri roster is not very strong like in the past. Italy doesn’t have the same quality, where some great young players were able to crack the senior lineup, like Maldini, Nesta, Cannavaro etc.

IFD – What are your thoughts on oriundi?

* note: an oriundo (or oriundi in plural) refers to a player(s) who’s family is of Italian descent but was born outside the country.

MD: They play because there aren’t many Italians ahead of them. It’s an obligation to call them up to raise the quality of the team. In the past, the oriundi would not play because the quality of the squad was too strong. I think the only oriundo that was capable of playing for either national team was Camoranesi. Now some of our oriundi can play for Italy, but would not be good enough to play for their country of birth. Other than Verratti, I don’t see too many youngsters coming through. Maybe Florenzi but he’s already 23-24 year’s old. Insigne could be this type of youngster too.

IFD – Sousa has done a great job with a small team and little investment. Do you think he will stay next season? 

MD: I think he will remain, however he’s destined to leave. He is a very good coach and was able to get results with a modest roster. Sousa will not accept finishing fourth or fifth place every season. Fiorentina can’t compete with the big clubs in Serie A when it comes to spending. Take Juventus for example and all the millions in revenue generated by participating in Champions League year after year. They are capable of buying players like Dybala for 40M euros and then maybe one day selling him for 80M. It is almost impossible to compete against them.

The (Fiorentina) president isn’t happy to lose 50 million euros every season. In England, they divide the TV rights more equally which makes it fairer. In Italy, a team like Lazio will never win the Scudetto. Look at Fiorentina. A few injuries and two bad results and they find themselves in third from first. The same 4-5 teams in Italy will always have the advantage.

IFD – Does Fiorentina have what it takes to finish in third after a string of fourth place finishes? 

MD: Sure, just like Roma could. I don’t see Inter or Milan competing for third anymore. Fiorentina, on the other hand, must spend wisely and on a tighter budget. They have to hope their young players shine and have a coach able to perform beyond expectations to qualify for Europe. They certainly can. It would take a miracle to finish in the top two.

IFD – What do you see in the future for Bernardeschi? Should he play abroad or remain in Italy?

MD: If I were him, I would stay at Fiorentina for as long as possible until a life changing offer comes along. I would not move to another Italian team like Inter, Roma or Juventus for example. He’s a symbol of the club, he’s born in Carrara and has been in their youth teams for 15 years.  In my view, a move to another team in Italy is a parallel move and not one that will jumpstart his career. If Bernardeschi would go to Juventus, I don’t even think he would play and remain on the bench. If it’s a matter of being a leader in Florence or being a rotation player at Juve, it’s an easy choice.

Look at Totti. People say he gave up his career for Roma but who would give him what Roma gave him over his career? He may have two or three Champions Leagues but that doesn’t matter. On the other hand, a mega offer from Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Chelsea is a different story.

IFD – What do you think of the claims that Bonucci is the best defender in the world?

MD: No, being a defender at Juve is a bit easier than being a defender anywhere else. Every player plays for the team at Juve. If you’re a defender at Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain you’re alone. Thiago Silva defends on his own.

In case you missed it, here is part 1 of the interview

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