Udinese??? A club that has been in existence for 110 years and has never won a single Scudetto and a few Serie B and C titles. Moreover, Udinese has the reputation for being an international way station for the bigger European clubs. It was most famous for having Zico for a few short years in the mid 80's before he left for his second stint with Flamengo.
Udineses' best showing was in 2004-2005 when it came in fourth in the Serie A. That was the year that Juventus won controversially against Udinese in a match that has now been investigated as fixed. The Udinese match gave Juventus the championship.
What makes Udinese an exciting club to watch out for is a group of extremely young talent that has been assembled from all parts of the world that give Udinese an extremely cosmopolitan look. They are led by Ghanian midfielder Sulley Muntari and striker Asamoah Gyan. Names that should be familiar to US soccer fans who saw their team inflicted punishment at the hands of the Ghanians in the World Cup. Muntari, Nigerian Chris Abodo along with Gaetano D'Agostino combine together to form a potent midfield. Veteran striker Vincenzo Iaquinta and goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis are the other standouts in this squad. Udinese young talents Tomas Sivok, Jose Montiel, and Jose Pina are touted as outstanding future prospects.
New coach Albeto Malesani replacing Giovanni Galeano has gotten off to good start by winning both his games against Messina, 1-0 and Torino 3-2. Udinese is now in contention with Lazio for a European championship spot. Inconsistency and injuries to key players De Sanctis, Montiel, Asamoah and Felipe, apart from the suspended Muntari have kept Udinese from doing better. Other distractions include the proposed transfer of Muntari to Portsmouth or to Middlesborough and Iaquinta to Milan.
The Italian U-21, the most successful European U-21 squad that has won 5 titles has three Udinese players, Andrea Coda, Raffaele Di Martino, and Marco Motta representing it. The future shines bright for the Bianconeri and their youth squad that has proven talent. Udineses' day in the woods is over and they maybe regular contenders for the national title, challenging their better known rivals.