The stadiums may be crumbling faster than the Coliseum, the pitches may look more like the sandy beaches of Sardinia and to top it all, as if we didnÃ¢ÂÂt already know it, itÃ¢ÂÂs not a level playing field when it comes to salaries.
The football rich are getting richer and the rest, well, they arenÃ¢ÂÂt doing to badly either if you take into consideration that the average desk clerk in Italy takes home around Ã¢ÂÂ¬14,400 a year.
However, itÃ¢ÂÂs all relative, as they say, and according to La Gazzetta dello Sport there is Ã¢ÂÂ¬840.4 million finding its way into the bank accounts of those making a living from playing and coaching the game.
Of course, sitting atop the pile are Inter who hand out an impressive Ã¢ÂÂ¬150 million, plus there is another Ã¢ÂÂ¬20 million hanging out there in bonuses Ã¢ÂÂ and for the first time in the history of Italian football it is a coach who tops the earnings list.
Jose MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂ¬11 million net a year is Ã¢ÂÂ¬500,000 more than his star striker Samuel EtoÃ¢ÂÂo Ã¢ÂÂ who is the leagueÃ¢ÂÂs top-earning player.
In fact, the Cameroonian is well out in front, with Ronaldinho trailing back on Ã¢ÂÂ¬7.5 million for all his sterling efforts at AC Milan.
"Hmmm... I'll buy them all"
Further down the pecking order, but well capable of paying for the odd round or two, are Gigi Buffon and Patrick Vieira on Ã¢ÂÂ¬5.5 million apiece: no wonder the Frenchman wanted to stay at the Nerazzurri and Ã¢ÂÂfight for his place."
And no wonder no one wants to leave the AC Milan country club when there is Ã¢ÂÂ¬125.5 million draining out of the accounts to pay the likes of Nelson Dida Ã¢ÂÂ¬4 million for another year, Clarence Seedorf the same amount well into his football dotage and so on.
Tellingly, Alexandre Pato takes home a million on the nose, so the Brazilian should be expecting a three-to four-fold pay rise within the next few months Ã¢ÂÂ or Chelsea here we definitely come (pending an appeal to their transfer embargo).
Of course, itÃ¢ÂÂs a different story among the honest proles: ChievoÃ¢ÂÂs top earner Sergio Pellissier is on Ã¢ÂÂ¬600,000, which is only Ã¢ÂÂ¬200,000 more than InterÃ¢ÂÂs promising midfielder RenÃÂ¨ Krhin squirrels away in his teenage bank account.
It should also be mentioned that Massimo Moratti is still paying Roberto Mancini Ã¢ÂÂ¬6 million a year to sit around on a yacht moored off the Italian coast.
Show me the money, indeed. And in honour of the big earners, here is the Ã¢ÂÂMoney BagsÃ¢ÂÂ XI, of course, coached by you-know-who:
Goalkeeper: Gigi Buffon, Juventus (Ã¢ÂÂ¬5.5m)Right-back: Maicon, Inter (Ã¢ÂÂ¬4.5m)Centre-back: Lucio, Inter (Ã¢ÂÂ¬4.5m)Centre-back: Alessandro Nesta, AC Milan (Ã¢ÂÂ¬4m)Left-back: Cristian Chivu, Inter (Ã¢ÂÂ¬3.5m)Midfield: Wesley Sneijder, Inter (Ã¢ÂÂ¬4m)Midfield: Andrea Pirlo, AC Milan (Ã¢ÂÂ¬5m)Midfield: Patrick Vieira, Inter (Ã¢ÂÂ¬5.5m)Striker: Francesco Totti, Roma (Ã¢ÂÂ¬5.46m)Striker: Ronaldinho, AC MIlan (Ã¢ÂÂ¬7.5m)Striker: Samuel EtoÃ¢ÂÂo, Inter (Ã¢ÂÂ¬10.5m)
Coach: Jose Mourinho, Inter (Ã¢ÂÂ¬11m)
Total: Ã¢ÂÂ¬70.96m per year
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