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‘General Bradley’ gets respect in Italy’s Serie A
Question of the Day
Bradley quickly regained his starting spot for the United States for a November exhibition at Slovenia. Klinsmann _ who played three seasons with Inter Milan _ can surely appreciate Bradley’s rapid development in Italy.
“I was really pleased with his move. It will really help him in his learning curve,” Klinsmann said. “In an environment where they are kind of tactic fanatics, the Italians will teach him a lot, will kind of help him a lot to read the game better, to anticipate the game better and to know exactly when to go into certain spaces and when not to go into certain space. And so I was very pleased. On top of that, he chose a beautiful city with Verona. That’s always great for a visit from a coach.”
Bankrolled by Christmas cake-maker Paluani, Chievo has transformed itself in recent seasons from a small neighborhood club into a Serie A regular, finishing as high as fifth in its fairy-tale debut season in 2001-02 and solidly mid-table last season in 11th.
As a kid, Bradley and his father, then the Princeton coach, would religiously watch the one Serie A game broadcast on RAI International each Sunday. That’s how he became a fan of AC Milan and midfielder Demetrio Albertini.
“(Albertini) wasn’t necessarily the best player on those teams, but in a lot of ways with (Marcel) Desailly or whoever he played with in the center of the midfield was one of the most important,” Bradley said.
“These kind of guys who play in the center of the midfield and are able to work for the team in attack and defense and really impose themselves on the other team,” Bradley added. “These guys help their team win, and these are the kind of guys that I’ve always appreciated and enjoyed watching.”
Bradley is highly articulate and puts a lot of thought into what he says. Asked about the darker sides of the Italian game, which is rife with match-fixing and betting scandals, poor attendance and fan racism, Bradley treads lightly.
Has he heard any racist chants at Verona’s 39,000-seat Bentegodi stadium?
“No,” Bradley said, before taking a long pause. “Obviously you always want to be educated when you go into a situation of what’s gone on, the history of things, but at the same time you go in with an open mind and since the day I’ve been here I have nothing but good things to say about Italian people, Italian soccer, living in Verona. In all ways it’s been a great experience.”
So great, in fact, that there has been mild speculation that three-time Italian champion Roma is interested in signing Bradley, especially since Roma is under new American ownership, and has not renewed the contract of midfielder Daniele De Rossi.
A group of four Boston executives closed a deal for Roma in August to become the first foreign majority owners of a Serie A club.
“If these people have come to Roma and have big ideas and big plans for the club, I think that’s great,” Bradley said. “I think it’s good for their club, I think it’s good for Italian football and I think it’s good for football in general. It’s no different than the Americans at Liverpool or the Americans at Man United.”
For now, though, Bradley remains focused on Chievo, which lost 2-0 to Roma on Sunday and is in 14th place, eight points clear of the relegation zone.
He’s in the first year of a two-year contract, and sounds open to an extension.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
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