Best foreign players now ply their trade in England
Last Updated: 01/03/09 12:29pm
Serie A football is a shadow of its former self if this week's Champions League results are anything to go by, according to Neil Custis.
"If anyone is having any trouble sleeping tape a Serie A game and watch it just before you go to bed and you will be off like a light."
Neil Custis Quotes of the week
Chelsea and Arsenal chalked up 1-0 wins over Juventus and Roma respectively, while Manchester United dominated a 0-0 draw with Inter Milan.
Further evidence that the Premier League is now the powerbase of European football was provided by Liverpool, who went to Real Madrid and beat the La Liga side 1-0.
The Sun's Custis believes England's clubs deserve greater recognition for their efforts abroad and has no doubt that all four teams will progress into the next round of the Champions League.
"There are no worries (for United) about that second leg at all," he said. "Some think Inter might get an away goal or Zlatan Ibrahimovic might do something but I've never seen him have a good game!
"Serie A has been rubbish for about four years; the fans don't go anymore. A lot of that is to do with the fact that they think it's corrupt.
"If anyone is having any trouble sleeping tape a Serie A game and watch it just before you go to bed and you will be off like a light.
"English clubs are so far above Italian clubs now that there will be no problems in the second leg. Because they play for Italian clubs we talk about these players as if they are gods - (Alessandro) del Piero, the darling of Juventus.
"I think sometimes we raise foreign clubs up to levels without actually appreciating what we have ourselves.
"People go on about Ryan Giggs, saying 'he's stayed at the same club for so long, I wish he'd be more adventurous. There are players over at clubs in Italy who would have loved to have played for Manchester United for 15/20 years. We don't realise what we've got sometimes.
"I think United are going to have to have one very bad night not to win the competition, looking at them now.
"They were the best team in Europe last season and I think they are 20 percent better as a whole squad this season; Wayne Rooney is better than last season, Cristiano Ronaldo is as good but other players are getting better.
"The partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic is better; in the dressing room they are taking the mickey out of Edwin van der Sar because he's only made something like 20 saves. But teams aren't even getting shots, let alone forcing saves."
Martin Samuel, of the Daily Mail, agreed saying: "We have now got the best foreign players.
"One of the ironies of people saying that they stop the development of younger players is that if you look at Inter Milan's team you don't see too many Italians.
"The dynamic that has changed has nothing to do with local players it is that we have now got the best foreign players: their foreign players aren't as good as our foreign players.
"The players from outside Spain that are in the Real Madrid team are not as good as the players from outside England that are in the Liverpool team."
Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror echoed those sentiments, adding: "I think La Liga may be closer to the Premier League than Serie A.
"The three matches between English clubs and Serie A clubs really showed a big gulf, none more so - ironically because it was a goalless draw - than Manchester United in Milan.
"Manchester United were on a different level; I went to see Inter play at Bologna the previous Saturday and, even though it's dangerous to extrapolate things from league games before Champions League games, they looked a poor side and they are nine points clear at the top of Serie A."