Why Serie A is the World's Most Fascinating League

Sumeet Paul@italiafootyContributor IMarch 12, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 11:  The AC Milan fans show their support before the Serie A match between AC Milan and ACF Fiorentina at San Siro Stadium on November 11, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Over the years, the general view of Serie A has shifted. Throughout the 1980s and '90s, the league had no equal, as it mesmerised the world with the biggest stars and the fanatical support on display in stadiums across the country.

However, as the money dried up and scandals rocked the domestic game, it lost its sense of dominance and slowly began to fall into decline. Italian clubs were overtaken by their European counterparts in the financial stakes, while the stars found new havens to demonstrate their skills.

Yet, despite what the critics say, often deriding the league by describing it as a scandal-laden home for old men, they don’t see what us aficionados see on a weekly basis. Challenge them by asking when they last watched a Serie A game, and suddenly it becomes apparent that it is naivety rather than a compassionate stance against Italian football.

What Serie A lacks in money, it more than makes up for with quality, drama and plenty of excitement.

The Italian top tier remains a fascinating journey each season as the giants of the game venture through different cycles in their success.

The sheer unpredictability of the league makes it particularly entertaining, while Juventus lead the way this season, there have been agonising instances where Napoli have threatened to catch them but have fallen short.

There is also Milan’s astonishing ascent over the past few months. From being written off in mid-table mediocrity, they have 11 wins in their last 16 games and now sit in the final Champions League spot. As is the case with many clubs in Italy now, Milan boast a new youthful, vibrant squad and the question is how far can the Rossoneri go?

From defeating Juventus in November and looking like genuine Scudetto contenders, Inter have collapsed as Andrea Stramaccioni’s future is now under question.

The same question marks have been raised over Walter Mazzarri’s ability to lead Napoli to a title, as they continuously fall short when the going gets tough.

From struggles to entertaining football, Vincenzo Montella has constructed a Fiorentina side blessed with technically brilliant players as they light up the league. With a midfield comprising of Borja Valero, Alberto Aquilani and David Pizzaro, Stevan Jovetic leads the line with Guiseppe Rossi soon to return from injury.

The Roman giants are also locked in a fierce battle, and despite the sacking of Zdenek Zeman last month, Roma have also displayed a great style of play with their city rivals Lazio fighting to become the top team in the capital. The race for Champions League football remains as captivating as ever.

In addition, the thing that perhaps sets apart Serie A from the rest of the European leagues, is the drama off the pitch.

From Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino being jailed for the debacle surrounding the club’s stadium issues, to Maurizio Zamparini's managerial merry-go-round. Palermo have made more managerial changes than they have won games this season, with the fiery owner not shy to criticise.

Despite the stereotypes and criticisms forever being synonymous with Serie A, for those that still appreciate the Italian game, it will always remain one of the most fascinating leagues in football.