After we move past the debate on the formation; 3-5-2 (Conte) vs 4-3-3 (Zeman) that I blogged and debated in my last post, this battle becomes a little more personal.
This really is a feud between Zdnek Zeman and Juventus, but since Antonio Conte, who spent 13 of his 19 years as a player at Juventus, is now the head coach of Juventus and last season led the Zebras back to its winning ways, he is the person who represents the Bianconeri at the moment, therefore is the object of Zeman's verbal attacks.
|Antonio was the Captain of Juventus in the early 2000s|
Zdnek Zeman in recent years has been a lot more vocal about his displeasures with the Bianconeri organization, like when he recently said that Juve should really only celebrate 22 or 23 scudetti because 5 or 6 of them were stolen. He also spoke on Conte's current 10-month touchline ban, "I can sleep well at night, Juve can't", Zeman addded that Conte got off easy because he believes Conte should not even be allowed to train the team.
|top: Zeman you say that Juve should not claim to have won more than 20 scudetti?|
bottom: Please tell me all about your scudetti!
Conte who was in the midst of his appeal process to the controversial ban, reacted to Zeman's comments with a "we will respond on the field", but a few days after Juventus' supercup win Conte added that current Juve BENCH Boss and rookie Head Coach Massimo Carrera has already won more than Zeman ever has in his career only after one game.
|Marotta always has his coaches back.|
Juventus General Manager Beppe Marotta really took the fight back to Zeman. He first said that since Zeman himself had admitted to not reading all the details on the Conte-FIGC battle, he should not even concern or comment on things he does not know. Beppe then asked what Zeman knew or was hiding since he was the coach of the team the FIGC penalized the most; Lecce. Marotta specifically called into question a controversial game from 2005 between Lecce and Parma that ended 3-3, in which Zeman was on the Lecce bench as head coach, but left for no apparent reason in the 80th minute.
The feud ironically began in 98, when Juventus was in the mid stage of its late 90s dynasty that involved 4 consecutive Champions League finals appearances, & many Italian titles and Zdenek Zeman was for the first time the Head Coach of Roma. Juventus was linked to a doctor who had been indicted by the International Sports Commitee, although nothing was ever proven. Zeman from the beginning voiced his opinion that all the Juventus players at the time (including soccer Legends like Zidane, Inzaghi, Vieri, Vialli, Conte and Del Piero) were on drugs because they were not that good of a team.....let that sink in for a little.
|Del Piero, Peruzzi, Deschamps, Zidane, Inzaghi...surely without drugs they could never have won anything in their careers|
(said in my sarcastic voice)
|Zeman should really quit that bad habit at his age...|
Former Juventus Legend and 1982 Azzuri Hero Paolo Rossi said it best, Zeman talks too much, and always has.
Zeman has never ever won a top flight trophy, and this season is more than likely his last chance to do so. Every excuse he has ever used to why he has never been able to do so in his over 20 years of coaching in Italy is irrelevant. Roma spent a lot of money this summer and has a team that many experts considered the only competition to Juventus for the scudetto. Its now or never for the Czech. Meanwhile Antonio Conte has already won the scudetto and is predicted to win a few more titles with Juve in the next few years.
Round 1 in my opinion was won by Conte, seeing that many teams are beginning to prefer the 3-5-2 to Zeman's 4-3-3 because it defends better. Also using the 3-5-2 Juventus has remain undefeated in 45 league competition games, while Roma using Zeman's 4-3-3 has already suffered defeat in the new season.
Round 2 will be disputed today at 245 as the two teams meet for the first time this season. All the talk means nothing, both Juventus and Roma will really want to win todays game. Although Conte will not be on the bench, we know he will be in the stands. If Zeman can finally beat his self proclaimed nemesis on the field then it will create a very interesting title run for the remainder of the season. If Conte's men get the better of the Volpe, Zeman may be inquiring about an early retirement.