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Serie A explainer: How Italy’s top domestic soccer league operates

With Serie A play kicking off, we’re going through some basics and what to watch for as the italian league resumes play for the 2021-22 season.

FC Barcelona v Juventus - Torneig Gamper Final - Friendly Match Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Italy’s top flight league gets underway soon as Serie A kicks off their 2021-22 season on August 21. If you’re not familiar with the league, you’re in the right place! We’ll go over some basics, who to watch for, and what to expect in Serie A’s upcoming season.

Who is the best team in Serie A?

The answer to this generally comes down to who you’re asking, and will more than likely be one of two teams: Inter Milan or Juventus. Inter won the title last season, but they just lost their leading scorer in Romelu Lukaku, who’s heading back to Chelsea in England. Juventus didn’t fare very well last season, finishing fourth overall, but they are home to arguably the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Who are the reigning Serie A champions?

Inter Milan won last year and it wasn’t even close — they finished on top of the table with a staggering 91 points, logging 28 wins, 7 draws, and 3 losses through the season. The second place team, AC Milan, was a full 12 points behind them finishing with 79.

Who are the best players in Serie A?

Cristiano Ronaldo is obviously the first name that comes to mind when thinking about standout Serie A players. He left his post at Real Madrid back in 2018 and signed a four-year contract with Juventus that’s set to expire in 2022. Since he arrived, he’s scored 81 goals through just 97 appearances. He also took home the Golden Boot honors last season with 29 goals, a full five ahead of second-place Lukaku. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also a name everyone will recognize, who’s been with AC Milan since the 2020 season after a brief stint with the LA Galaxy for two years. He’s banged in 25 goals through just 37 matches for Milan, making the entire world wonder how the 39-year-old keeps playing as well as he does.

Serie A is full of other players that you’ve definitely heard of, especially if you caught any of Italy’s title run in the Euros earlier this year. Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, and Andrea Belotti are all Italians playing in their country’s domestic league, while other guys like Matthijs de Ligt, Alvaro Morata, and Paulo Dybala are well-known names also.

Who are some notable Americans playing in Serie A?

While Americans like Michael Bradley and Alexi Lalas have played in Serie A before, there aren’t too many at the moment who are active, but Weston McKennie should be a recognizable name to US soccer fans. He started off at Schalke in the Bundesliga but was sent to Juventus on loan in 2020, and recently just signed on with the club full time back in March as Juve exercised the purchase option on his loan. youngster Bryan Reynolds, who played for FC Dallas for a few years, made the leap over to AS Roma on loan back in February and will be someone to keep an eye on going forward.

Who is expected to win the title this season?

The knee-jerk response is Juventus, considering that they’ve won the title nine out of the last 10 years, with Inter Milan breaking their streak by finishing on top last year. With Inter losing their leading scorer to Chelsea, they’ll need to bring in an experienced and proven goal-scorer to fill the void. Between that and losing midfielder Christian Eriksen indefinitely to his frightening cardiac arrest episode on the field in Denmark’s opening game of Euro 2020, Inter Milan will need to find a way to fill the shoes of both players if they want to be a serious title contender again.

How can I watch Serie A in the US?

CBS Sports recently acquired exclusive rights to all the Serie A matches for the next three seasons. While they’ll be broadcasting some games on its network TV channels, every game will also be streamed on Paramount+ for subscribers of the streaming service.