When football arises in conversation, many associate with Italy. This is because Italy is a footballing hotbed.
With four World Cup trophies to its name, Italy maintains a grand pedigree for football of great quality. It is paradoxical that following one of the nation's greatest triumphs at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, a match-fixing scandal unfolded, an uproar that brought great repercussions for the guilty clubs involved and also tarnished Italy's reputation as a respectable league.
The last five seasons in Italy's top league, Serie A, have been less than spectacular as the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga have enjoyed more of the limelight. One only has to look as far as Internazionale, the team that won four consecutive titles from 2006 to 2009, to note the lack of up-and-coming youth in Serie A; almost all of Inter's players are foreign.
The Nerazzurri's suffocating clamp on the title left others in their wake. Concisely, Italy has been in a lull recently; the aging national side's shameful performance in South Africa last summer was the most blatant indicator of this inconsistency.
Fortunately, Italy appears to be emerging from her slumber. Many clubs are making feisty and deft moves in the summer transfer market, rays of youth are beginning to permeate through the stale veteran guard and best of all, Antonio Cassano is still stripping down to the brief after the final whistle of every game.
I give you five teams that will provide optimal entertainment in a season which could be the most competitive we have witnessed in years.