Italy coach Antonio Conte believes Serie A is no longer among the top leagues in Europe owing to a lack of investment from club owners.
Conte won five Scudettos as a player with Juventus between 1995 and 2003, claiming three more as coach of the Bianconeri before taking over from Cesare Prandelli as Italy boss in 2014.
Juve’s dominance continued under Conte’s successor Massimiliano Allegri last term, while he also guided the Serie A holders to a Champions League final where they were beaten by Barcelona.
That was the first time an Italian side had made the final in five years and, despite a poor start to their Scudetto defence this term, Juve sit just two points off leaders Napoli and stand a good chance of maintaining their domestic dominance.
With questions asked of the quality outside the league’s top two, Conte – reportedly a target for Premier League champions Chelsea – told FIFA Magazine: “I think the best football matches are currently being played in England.
“Then there’s Spain and Germany, but Serie A comes after. The Italian league is in fourth place and there’s no way out of that. It’s not an issue of being sad or not, it’s simply the truth.
“Before it was different. It [Serie A] was one of the most beautiful championships of the world.
“Everyone wanted to play in Italy. But today the club owners are not willing to invest so much in their teams. There is simply a lack of money.
“But I’m still optimistic for the future, we’re on the road back to the top.”