Wednesday Apr 26, 2017  
     
 
  20/05/2011: The Burden of Europe
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Since last weekend we know for sure that our eagle will fly over Europe next season, once again, for old times’ sake. What we don’t know, is if he will fly high, or less high. In other words, will we play Champions League, or Europa League.

Being a fan of Lazio is all about personality. Having it, that is. In my opinion, this Lazio does not belong in the Champions League, where the elite of Europe plays against each other. Don’t get me wrong. We do belong amongst the elite of Europe, but in other ways.

We belong there, for our history. We belong there for our story, our fan base, our prices. But did we play football this season that would justify us playing in the Champions League next year? Perhaps it does not matter, and the only that does matter is whether we are fourth at the end of the ride, or not. If we achieve that with brilliant football or with more luck than good play – in the end, who cares.

But to be honest, I do care. I don’t feel that this team deserves Champions League. I don’t believe, that this president and this management deserve to play in the best competition in the world. I may sound like a bad fan, in these times of modern football, yet I am honest and determined.

This season I did not see a good team playing good matches, only sometimes. I saw a mediocre team, with certain good players, most of the times playing mediocre matches. The only difference with last season, where we fought relegation, was that we won the matches this season that we would have lost then. That makes a hell of a difference, clearly, just look at Sampdoria, who has been less lucky than us. And it is precisely that, that makes me think.

With a bit more misfortune, we could have relegated easily last season. And only for that, I don’t feel we deserve to play Champions League. Because we don’t have a good foundation to build on. There is no long-term plan, where we can hope for a healthy and durable future for this club.

The Champions League comes too early, as far as I’m concerned, and if we achieve it I don’t think it will make us better in the long run. It comes too early, that is, if and only if we keep on building on this team. If and only if, the management of this club starts looking on the long-run.

But for better or for worse, one thing is for sure, and that is: we’re back in Europe! And that will feel good, that will make us proud, without a doubt. To see Italian and other fans of our Lazio travel somewhere outside of Italy to see the team play, it makes me full of pride.

Because whether it is Paris, London or a small city in Ukraine, the real Laziali will be there to represent our club and defend our colours. What the management does, or doesn’t do, during the summer, and what the team does in those matches in Europe, is of lesser importance.

Because we’re in Europe, and wherever we’ll go, they will know! And we will sing, full of pride:

“In Italia, in Europa e nel mondo, forza Lazio dai vinci per noi!”
 
 
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