Monday, August 19, 2013

Prandelli: Juventus will win Serie A

The Azzurri head coach expects the Bianconeri to be Serie A champions once again, but believes Napoli and Fiorentina's new recruits will see them challenge.

Cesare Prandelli says Juventus are "the number one favourite" to retain their Serie A title and predicted another season of success for Antonio Conte's side.

The reigning Italian champions start the defence of their title away to Sampdoria next Saturday and are firm favourites to record a third successive first place finish.

Conte's men ended last season nine points clear of closest challengers Napoli, and have since added the names of Carlos Tevez, Fernando Lllorente and Angelo Ogbonna to an

already stellar squad.

The Bianconeri have lost just five of their last 76 Serie A league games and Italy boss Prandelli is predicting the Turin giants to dominate again.

"For the championship, Juventus are always the number one favourite," the 55-year-old told SkyItalia.

"After what Conte has done in the past two years, there have been further reinforcements to the squad and it will be difficult to remove them from the top of Serie A."

But after envisaging yet more glory for Juventus, Prandelli then went on to say he expects both Napoli and his former club Fiorentina to enjoy good campaigns after a strong summer of recruitment.

The Naples outfit have seen coach Walter Mazzarri depart for Inter and star striker Edinson Cavani join Paris Saint-Germain, but president Aurelio De Laurentis has moved astutely to lessen those blows.

Rafa Benitez has been charged with taking over from Mazzarri, and the Spaniard has been granted a raft of new recruits at the San Paolo.

Jose Callejon, Raul Albiol and Gonzalo Higuain have all been signed from Real Madrid, with that trio being joined by Dries Mertens, Pablo Armero and Pepe Reina.

Fiorentina have been similarly active in the transfer market as they seek to improve on an impressive fourth place finish last term, with the losses of Stevan Jovetic and Alessandro Cerci being offset by the arrivals of Josip Ilicic, Mario Gomez, Massimo Ambrosini, Joaquin, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado and Oleksandr Yakovenko.

"Napoli and Fiorentina are making the fans dream. They have done the best in the transfer market."