Serie A club Monza have gotten lots of attention in recent months. Are they poised to become the next big team or are they overrated?
Italy’s Serie A is loaded with winning clubs with a long tradition and history of winning. Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan instantly come to mind.
What about Monza?
If you’ve never heard of the club, they are either the next big thing or just overrated. It depends on whom you talk to.
Monza are in Italy’s top flight for the very first time since being founded in 1912. They gained promotion from the second division last May, part of a four-year plan by Italian businessman Silvio Berlusconi who purchased the club when they were in the third division.
The 85-year-old billionaire, once owner of AC Milan in the 1980s and ’90s, has pumped money into Monza, fueling speculation that the Lombardy-based club could someday soon challenge for a spot in the Champions League.
Adriano Galliani, Berlusconi’s long-time lieutenant at Milan and now the chief executive at Monza, told SkySports:
"“I was born in Monza. My mother was from Monza. She took me to see matches when I was a child. I was one of the owners from 1975 to 1985 and for four consecutive years in that period we came within touching distance of Serie A.”"
The team signed some big names over the summer, another sign of Monza’s big ambitions. The club signed Napoli center forward Andrea Petagna, Juventus midfielder Filippo Ranocchia, Arsenal center back Pablo Mari and attacking midfielder Matteo Pessina, a member of the Italy team that captured the Euros in 2021.
These are not signings or loan deals made by a team just looking to avoid relegation. Monza are aiming for the top half of the table, with ambition for even more.
However, the team got off to a bad start, losing their first Serie A match last Saturday at home against Torino 2-1. Monza play Napoli on the road this Sunday.
The defeat prompted Francesco Porzio, writing for CBS Sports, to label Monza “overrated.”
"“Despite all the promises of a strong season after a great transfer window, AC Monza lost 2-1 against Torino and maybe we all have overestimated how well they will navigate their first Serie A season. The clear aim of the club is to finish in the top ten, but it won’t be that easy. Giovanni Stroppa, the coach of the club, already has a lot of pressure on his shoulders and it won’t be a surprise if he would be the first manager to be sacked this year.”"
Berlusconi had made clear last spring what he wanted.
“We fought for a long year and we made a historic achievement. Since 1912, Monza had never been in Serie A,” Berlusconi told reporters at the time. “I am used to winning. It’s clear that now that we are in Serie A we must win the title, enter the Champions League and win it.”
Berlusconi is used to winning, but Monza may find it hard to be the Cinderella side it wants to be. Whether they are overrated remains to be seen, but it’s certain that Monza will be interesting to watch this season.