Buffon hits out as Juve slump in Serie A

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has called on the stuttering Italian champions to stand up and be counted after a second consecutive league defeat left them in the Serie A Doldrums.

Buffon hits out as Juve slump in Serie A
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Juve won a fourth consecutive scudetto last season and secured their first league and Cup double in 20 years before ending a 12-year wait to challenge for the Champions League final last May.

But after defeat to Udinese last week, a depleted Juve succumbed 2-1 to scudetto rivals Roma after a lively encounter at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

Juventus, who underwent significant changes in personnel during the summer following the departure of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez, now sit 17th in Italy's top flight after two games.

Buffon admitted the club's new players will need time to find their feet, but with holes in the defence and yet another lacklustre performance coming from French midfielder Paul Pogba, the legendary Italy goalkeeper said the champions ultimately failed to show up.

“When you play for Juventus, winning is everything, but even when that doesn't happen you need to offer more than we showed today,” Buffon said after the game.

“When the team undergoes a lot of changes of course you can allow for a few dropped points or for some nerves to creep in at the start.

“But we have lots of new and quality players, so everyone should be taking on a greater sense of responsibility, starting from when we regroup next Monday.”

Second-half goals from Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko, who nodded home in the 79th minute, left Juventus with a mountain to climb at the Stadio Olimpico.

Juve wing-back Patrice Evra had been sent off for a second bookable offence in the latter stages and although Juve grabbed a consolation through Paulo Dybala, the champions had little in response to a well-oiled Roma side that seemed destined for the win.

It was Roma's first league win over Juve since February 2013 and meant the Italian champions have failed to win their first two league games of the season for the first time in history.

For Buffon, Juve's “deficiencies” meant the champions weren't even worthy of the draw.

“We wouldn't have deserved the draw. We had a lot of deficiencies, especially in midfield, but that's no excuse,” added the goalkeeper.

“They played better than us and came right at us. We were too timid and lost confidence when things started to go wrong.”

From the highs of the Champions League final, where Juve suffered a 3-1 defeat to Barcelona, the Turin giants have plummeted to the lower reaches of Italy's top flight to sit fourth from bottom ahead of Empoli, Frosinone and Carpi.

The Serie A campaign, however, is only two weeks old and coach Massimiliano Allegri is confident normal service will resume following the break for international football next week.

By that time, German international midfielder Sami Khedira, who has yet to make his league debut, and Italian counterpart Claudio Marchisio are expected to be fit to play.

Spain striker Alvaro Morata, who linked up well with Tevez last season, should also be fully fit having recently returned from a knock.

“We've some catching up to do, but we have the time and the quality to do so. We have to stay calm, clear-headed and analyze what didn't work for us,” said Allegri.

“When we come back we'll have Marchisio ready and Khedira won't be far off. Morata will be in better shape, while (Juan) Cuadrado, Mandzukic and Dybala will be more in tune with our our way of working.”

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Italy makes move to clear out ‘illegal’ Roma camps

Italy's anti-immigrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini ordered a report Tuesday on the country's Roma population, with a view to shuttering overcrowded, "illegal" camps, provoking an angry response from rights campaigners.

Italy makes move to clear out 'illegal' Roma camps
Illustration photo: AFP

The head of the far-right League ordered the country's regional prefects to draw up “a report on the presence of Roma, Sinti and Caminanti” within two weeks, the interior ministry said in a statement.

“The aim is to verify the presence of illegal camps to draw up an eviction plan,” it said.

The Roma, Sinti and Caminanti are traditionally nomadic ethnic groups who have lived in Europe for centuries.

The Sinti are traditionally from west and central Europe, while Roma have their origins in the east and southeast of the continent. The Caminanti are believed to have their origins in the Norman occupation of Sicily.

The pro-Roma group Associazione 21 Luglio said Tuesday it was “deeply worried” by Salvini's order.

It slammed “a measure which clearly discriminates against these communities, since it does not affect, for example, formal or informal settlements inhabited by persons not belonging to these ethnic groups”.

Some 25,000 Roma, Sinti and Caminanti live in conditions of “housing segregation”, according to the association, accusing the government of maintaining “ethnic ghettos”.

About 15,000 members of the three groups reside in 127 formal settlements in Italy, often in the suburbs of large cities, according to the group.

The rest live instead in informal settlements, some of which are made up of just two to three families.

There are about 300 such informal settlements in Rome, the Associazione 21 Luglio told AFP.

Threats against the Roma and Sinti have increased under Salvini, who sparked controversy last year with his call for a new census of Roma, and for all non-Italians among them to be expelled from the country.

Salvini has also barred Italy's ports to charity vessels rescuing migrants at sea.

The Council of Europe estimates there are between 120,000 and 180,000 Roma, Sinti and Caminanti in Italy — one of the lowest concentrations in Europe.

Over half are Italian citizens with regular jobs and homes, but hate crimes against their less fortunate peers are rife.