2023 A year of sport: football says goodbye to Vialli and Mazzone. Oscars for Ital Davis, Spalletti and Bagnaia. Catanzaro’s climb and the feat of coach Vela


By John

2024 will be the year of the European Football Championships and the Olympics and, as such, it is highly anticipated. But 2023, which is about to go into the archives, has given us some blue-tinged joys. Joys but also great pains.

The farewell to Gianluca Vialli

The year opened with the most bitter Epiphany possible for Italian football which said goodbye forever to Gianluca Vialli, who had been suffering from leukemia for some time. Two months later it was the turn of journalist Gianni Minà (27 March). In August (the 19th), however, Carletto Mazzone’s home-made verve was extinguished forever

The irresistible climb of Catanzaro

The Catanzaro of owner Noto, led by coach Vivarini, wanted to give themselves a return in style in the Serie B championship (after 17 years of starvation): victory in the southern group of Serie C with five days to spare at the end of a journey ( almost) clear. On the shields the home idol, the Catanzaro native Pietro Iemmello. The Giallorossi reach Cosenza in second place (Rossoblù safe after having prevailed in the double playout against Brescia) and keep the Calabrians’ tally in Serie B at two.

End of the spell: Naples champions of Italy

After 33 years of absence, Napoli returns to the top of Italy. The first Scudetto won before and after the Maradona era. A success resulting from the sumptuous play of the attacking duo Kvaratskhelia-Osimhen but above all from the genius of the bench Luciano Spalletti, winning his first career Tricolore. A feat which, after the separation from Napoli, earned him the bench of the national team, thanks to the farewell of coach Mancini (Arabia management).

Historic feat almost missed: 0 out of 3 for Italy in Europe

2023 will also go down in history for having given a triple dream (which remained so) to the Italian teams in Europe who reached the Champions League final (Inter with Manchester City, after winning the double Italian semi-final against Milan), Europe League (Roma against Sevilla) and Conference League (Fiorentina against West Ham). Three defeats out of three, but for once, after many dark years, Italian football has once again made its voice heard.

Yet another golden leap from Gianmarco Tamberi

All he was missing was gold at the Outdoor World Championships (after the European and Olympic ones) and Gianmarco Tamberi has closed the circle. In Budapest, on 22 August 2023 Gimbo achieved first place with a jump of 2.36 metres, close to the one that gave him gold at the Tokyo Games together with his friend Mutaz Essa Barshim (2.37).

From the ashes of Reggina was born… La Fenice amaranth

The Administrative Court, in August, establishes that Reggina is unable to register not only for Serie B but for any other FIGC championship. The exclusion is total, resulting in a single fate for the club: bankruptcy. A few weeks later, La Fenice Amaranto was born, a new company created to represent the city of Reggio Calabria in a football championship.

Corona, Dillinger and football betting

At the beginning of October, a new (not too much) bugbear appears on the web: football betting. The former paparazzi king Fabrizio Corona, through the Dillinger website, opens Pandora’s box, bringing out some names of the footballers involved, and revealing an investigation against them: they are Fagioli, Tonali and Zaniolo. The first two were also disqualified (the result of a plea agreement), while the third declared himself innocent.

ItalDavis on the roof of the world for the second time

Jannik Sinner, Matteo Arnaldi, Lorenzo Sonego, Lorenzo Musetti, Simone Bolelli and Filippo Volandri (coach). The names of history, who in Malaga won the second Davis Cup in Italian history. After a complicated group stage in Bologna, the team captained by Volandri beat Holland, Serbia and Australia in the final stages, bringing the salad bowl back to Italy after the victory in Santiago de Chile in 1976.

Bagnaia skids and gives an encore in the MotoGP

In Valencia, in the last race of the season, Pecco Bagnaia became world champion in Moto GP for the second consecutive year, riding the Ducati. The Italian driver had the better of the head-to-head with Jorge Martin, who crashed after a few laps and retired from the race.

Coach Vela Messina champion of Italy

The brothers Fausto and Giorgio Tabacco give the championship, the first in its history, to the Messina Tennis and Sailing Club. When everything seemed lost, with the Tc Sinalunga ahead 3-1 after the two singles, it was the two brothers who achieved the extraordinary comeback. Which reached its peak with the success in the double play-off against Serafini and Vanni.