Saturday, December 15, 2018

Only Inter can challenge Juventus domination – Djorkaeff

SoccerNews in Serie A 6 Dec 2018

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Inter are the only side capable of usurping Juventus as the most powerful force in Italian football, according to former Nerazzurri midfielder Youri Djorkaeff.

Luciano Spalletti’s side travel to Turin for Friday’s Derby d’Italia, hoping to eat into the 11-point gap that separates the clubs after 14 rounds of Serie A action.

The likes of Napoli and Roma have mounted title challenges of varying strengths over recent seasons, and the former represent Juve’s closest rivals at this point of the campaign, but Djorkaeff firmly believes that his old club are the only ones capable of knocking the seven-time defending champions off their perch.

“According to me, yes, because even if Juventus have won a lot lately, they know that only Inter can fight them as a board, [and in terms of] character and squad,” Djorkaeff, who won the 1998 UEFA Cup during a three-year stint at San Siro, told Omnisport.

“Every once in a while Roma, Napoli, Fiorentina and even Milan try but in the long run the Derby d’Italia is still on since the only club that can challenge Juventus today is Inter.”

Predictions that Juve would romp to an eighth straight Scudetto gained further strength when Cristiano Ronaldo arrived from Real Madrid in a €112million switch in July.

Djorkaeff believes a player of that stature can only benefit Serie A, but the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner stopped short of touting Juve as favourites for an elusive Champions League crown.

“A great respect for this player who brought first to Manchester then to Madrid and now to Juventus something that not many players in the world can bring,” Djorkaeff said.

“For the Italian league it is good he came because he brought Italy back to the times when great players were there. More top players should play in Italy. Cristiano is a hungry leader that improves his clubs.

“This [the Champions League] is a very long and stressful competition. There can be only one to win it. Will it be Juventus? I don’t think so but they have good chances.

“I don’t think Juve will win. I see better clubs like Manchester City and Liverpool, the latter today are very strong. This time is for an English club.”

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