Allegri talks up Inter before opening games
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri believes the departure of Samuel Eto'o will not weaken rivals Inter Milan this season. The Cameroon international completed his move to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala this week after two years with the Italian giants, joining Javier Pastore and Alexis Sanchez as leading players to leave Serie A this summer.
"Eto'o is a great player," Allegri said. "It's logical that they will lose something but I'm sure Inter will sign another great player to replace him. They have Wesley Sneijder, who is a key player. There is no doubt in my mind that Inter will be, alongside us, favourites to win the league title. There are other teams that have strengthened their squads but I believe we are a step above them."
Milan, who finished ahead of Inter last term to clinch their first scudetto since 2004, beat I Nerazzurri to lift the Supercoppa Italiana earlier this month. AC Milan will start the campaign at Cagliari on Saturday, provided the first round of games goes ahead and there is no strike by the players.
Gianpiero Gasperini's Inter make their debut before the home crowd against Lecce hoping to find a replacement for Eto'o. I Nerazzurri are reportedly in talks to acquire Atletico Madrid forward Diego Forlan.
Juventus visit Udinese on Sunday hoping to prove their worth to new coach Antonio Conte. I Bianconeri, who will not play in Europe this season, are boosted by the arrival of forward Mirko Vucinic from Roma.
Two teams that could present Inter and Milan with fierce competition are Napoli and Lazio. The clubs have bolstered their squads in the transfer market. Former Udinese star Gokhan Inler is one of Napoli's 13 signings. Lazio strengthened their attacking line with Germany'sMiroslav Klose and Frenchman Djibril Cisse. Napoli host Genoa on Sunday while Lazio begin the season at home to Chievo.
Former Spain international Luis Enrique will make his Serie A coaching debut with Roma when his side visits Bologna. It will be Fiorentina, however, that will have the honour of opening the Serie A campaign on Saturday afternoon at Tuscan neighbours Siena. Siena were one of the three teams that gained promotion to the top flight.
Sunday's game at the Stadio Silvio Piola will be a celebration for Novara, who will play in Serie A for the first time in 55 years. Palermo begin life without playmaker Javier Pastore when they visit Novara. The Argentina playmaker joined Paris Saint Germain last month after two impressive campaigns in Serie A.
In remaining Sunday action, Parma host Catania while Atalanta, another club that returns to the top flight having finished first in Serie B, entertain Cesena.