The theater that is Serie A can take heart from a momentous 2012

Having witnessed Italian football shrug off the doom and gloom derived from Calciopoli, Singapore's Jeremy Lim is anticipating a return to winning ways in 2013
By Jeremy Lim

Catching Les Miserables in cinemas over the weekend proved to be a real eye-opener, not so much for it being the first and only adaptation I have seen of Victor Hugo's iconic 19th century novel, but for the beauty and subtlety of the olden literature. Throughout the rendition, what struck me was the profound sense of tragedy residing around those who had fallen from grace, before they were lifted up in a warming tale of ultimate redemption.

Uncannily, this theater masterpiece is a story not dissimilar to the state Italian football has gone through over the previous seven-odd years.

Plunged into the depths with all dignity stripped of her, Serie A has taken its time to recover from when her elite oversaw her downfall by engaging in the game of Russian Roulette that was Calciopoli, but finally, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Needless to say, progress has been slow in the past, but clubs have finally realised talk is cheap, and begun to implement practices that are widely accepted as the key to success in the realm of modern football.

For instance, Financial Fair Play has placed the onus on management boards to turn to self-sustaining income generation via new infrastructure and the creation of a global presence, while the need to place faith in young players has never been more pertinent, all to name a few.

As if the plot was plucked from a classic stage play, hope never deserts those who actively seek after it, and oh, how I had hoped in this time, not merely as a Juventus fanatic but principally as a Serie A supporter.

The Old Lady might have belatedly returned to the height of power recently, but that would hardly have carried the same significance, had it not coincided with humble former Serie C1 side Napoli giving Europe's traditional heavyweights a run for their money in the Champions League, or Italy brushing aside condemnation to reach the Euro 2012 finals, all within a single calendar year.

So now a new year beckons along with the chance to start afresh for Serie A, or more aptly, pick up where 2012 left off. It hardly matters who gets back to winning ways really, whether it is AC Milan or Inter, Napoli or Roma, first and foremost in European tournament.

Italian clubs are in this renaissance together, and there is too little time to segregate based on our clubs colours. Needless to say, the thought of a few Milan fans cheering Juventus on as they sent defending champions Chelsea packing from Europe's premier club competition warranted a wry grin on my part.

Akin to great theater, much can be expected from the upcoming year, for if the past 12 months have been anything to go by, Italy will continue shaking up the status quo, and it will not merely end there. I am thankful the world did not end just less than a fortnight ago, for there is still time to dream of seeing another Italian outfit hoist the Champions League trophy to the evening sky.

Like the great characters that define memorable literature, Serie A has at long last undergone her ultimate redemption.