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Football: Serie A opening weekend talking points

Talking points from the opening weekend's Serie A matches.

NEW SEASON, SAME OLD RONALDO DOMINATING THE NEWS

The list of players to have left the Serie A during the close season includes 2020-21 Player of the Season Romelu Lukaku, Defender of the Year Cristian Romero, Euro 2020 Player of the Tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma and flying wing back Achraf Hakimi.

Many feared such exits would make the league less attractive to wider audiences, but as long as Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo stays in Italy, interest will remain.

Keeping him at Juventus may not necessarily be straightforward. The 36-year-old was named on the bench for Juve's opener against Udinese on Sunday, with media reports stating Ronaldo had requested to miss out, to preserve his fitness as he eyes a move away from Turin.

On the pitch, there was just as much fireworks from Ronaldo, as he stepped off the bench to score what looked like a dramatic stoppage-time winner, only for VAR to rule it out for offside and Juve had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

A one-man news-making machine needs to stay put, for the league's sake.

INTER NEWBOYS MAKE THEIR MARK

With Lukaku and Hakimi sold during the close season, and midfielder Christian Eriksen's future remaining uncertain after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020, not everyone has been convinced Inter Milan have what it takes to defend their title this season.

However, their replacements showed in Saturday's 4-0 opening day win over Genoa that there is life in this new-look Inter under Simone Inzaghi.

Hakan Calhanoglu, who crossed the divide to sign for Inter from city rivals AC Milan, set up one and scored another arrowing strike inside 13 minutes at the San Siro on Saturday, with fellow debutant Edin Dzeko also on the scoresheet.

Inter will come across more difficult opponents than Genoa this season, but new boss Inzaghi could not have hoped for a more positive start, especially from the new arrivals.

ATALANTA JUST WON'T GO AWAY

Little old Atalanta have been punching above their weight for a while now.

They have finished third in Serie A for the last three seasons, above many bigger clubs, all the while operating on a fraction of the budget of their rivals.

Against Torino on Saturday, an injury-hit Atalanta looked like they would have to settle for a point from their opening day encounter after Andrea Belotti's late equaliser.

Their spirit once again pulled them through, however. Against the run of play substitute Roberto Piccoli pounced to earn Atalanta a stoppage time victory, firing a warning shot that they will remain a threat this season too.

Source: Reuters

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