Well, here we are again. Firstly, I must apologise for being absent so long from my Granata Australia blog. I have been busy in my personal life, having been engaged to my girlfriend now fiancée.
2019/2020 was an incredibly tough season for my beloved Torino FC, with a 16th placed finish, and a difficult battle against potential relegation. To avoid a similar scenario this season, club president Urbano Cairo hired 53 year old Swiss-born Italian head coach Marco Giampaolo, signing the new Granata tactician to a two year contract. Giampaolo was most recently the head coach at AC Milan, but was also the boss during a relatively successful period at Sampdoria (2016-2019).
Giampaolo has a big responsibility on his hands. Granata fans are restless; success is demanded by the fans at this proud club, which has the 6th most trophies in Italian football history. Judging by the fans’ reactions across various social media platforms, they are unhappy with Urbano Cairo’s presidency, due to the lack of success compared to other clubs of similar stature such as Atalanta. However most of the Granata faithful are optimistic with Giampaolo’s hiring, and a Europa League berth is the minimum expectation.
To that aim, Urbano Cairo has made some impressive signings, including some players who have previously played under Marco Giampaolo; the main Granata signings included Swiss international Ricardo Rodriguez from AC Milan, Polish international Karol Linetty from Sampdoria, and Kosovan international Mërgim Vojvoda from Belgian club Standard Liege. Rodriguez and Linetty have previously played under Giampaolo.
Departures from the Granata include Lorenzo De Silvestri, who has departed for Bologna, and Nigerian International Ola Aina, who has been loaned to English Premier League club Fulham FC, with an option to buy for €15.
Recently, Urbano Cairo and Torino rejected a €50 bid from English giants Tottenham Hotspur for captain and talisman Andrea Belotti. Il Gallo is a key cog in the Granata machine, and it is imperative that Torino find a way to keep their captain, whose contributions will be irreplaceable in the Granata’s quest for European football.
Preseason results have been scratchy, including a 2-1 loss to Serie C side Pro Vercelli. However, key players such as Belotti, Vojvoda, Rodriguez, and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu were on international duty for that match, and, with all players available to Giampaolo, the preparation for the season will ramp up, leading up to the first match, on September 19, away to Fiorentina.
Preseason results notwithstanding, I am very confident in Torino’s ability to push for European football this season. No matter what happens, I myself and all true Granata fans will be following the team every step of the way. Sempre Forza Toro; Forza Vecchio Cuore Granata.
Season Prediction: 7th placed finish.
Coppa Italia Prediction: Semi Finalists.