Gianluca Zambrotta says there is cause for optimism in Italian football, even though there will be no Italian side in this season’s UEFA Champions League final in Milan.
The former Juventus, Barcelona and AC Milan full-back told UEFA.com: “We have been closing that gap [with the biggest leagues], like with Juventus reaching the UEFA Champions League final last season.
“This season Roma showed their quality against Real Madrid, and also Juventus against Bayern München, who are a global power. Juventus have almost managed to close that gap, but there is still a little extra missing – but I think we are doing well compared to four or five years ago.”
A UEFA Champions League runner-up in 2003, when Juventus lost to Milan on penalties in Manchester, the 39-year-old was sad to see that there would be no Serie A presence in this season’s decider, but hoped Italian fans would enjoy the occasion anyway.
“It’s a real pity not to have the chance to see an Italian team there, but it’s still great to have the Champions League final in Milan,” he noted. “It’s great for the city and great for Italy.”
As for who will win the trophy, Zambrotta was not sure Barcelona would have it all their own way as they seek unprecedented back-to-back UEFA Champions League successes.
“Barcelona have been better than the other teams in recent years, but Bayern have changed their way of playing a bit since the arrival of Josep Guardiola and they – and Paris Saint-Germain – can cause Barcelona problems,” he said. “And we shouldn’t forget Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, who are performing well too.”