Italian football buffs, save some smug Juventus followers, hope for a new course in the Serie A season that begins Saturday with the Bianconeri seeking to extend its record run of eight successive titles.
As changes of coach upstaged player transfers during the break, Juve remains the favorite despite replacing the successful tactician Massimiliano Allegri with Maurizio Sarri, while Inter Milan promise tough opposition under new boss Antonio Conte.
The dismissal of Allegri with two games left in the past season took fans by surprise, as he had just clinched his fifth Scudetto in as many years in Turin.
Later in May, the Juve crowd were not pleased to see their hero Conte take Inter's helm as he returned to the Serie A after terms at Italy's national team and at Chelsea, where he won a Premier League title.
Conte built his prestige in Turin winning five domestic titles and a Champions League as midfielder; he then returned as coach in 2011 and lifted the first three Scudetti in the record run continued by Allegri.
But a further shock awaited the Bianconeri in mid-June as the club hired Sarri, the former coach of rivals Napoli who had said he would never coach the Bianconeri.
As fans brooded, observers noted that adapting to Sarri's fast and aggressive tactics would not dent the potential of Juve.
Cristiano Ronaldo stars upfront while young Dutch talent Matthijs de Ligt and Brazilian Danilo will learn the ropes next to veteran defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
"It's the details that make the difference," Sarri said after a 2-1 friendly defeat to Atletico Madrid. "We have to improve in defense. But I am glad that the boys are understanding the concept of controlling the game."
Inter, meanwhile, replaced Luciano Spalletti with Conte, adding defensive veteran Diego Godin to its roster and the powerful striker Romelu Lukaku, plus the promising midfielder Nicolo Barella.
Conte's demanding work method is expected to step up Inter's game after Luciano Spalletti led it to fourth place, securing a Champions League berth behind Juve, Napoli and Atalanta.
"I told the lads that they can do better," Conte said after a friendly at Valencia earlier this month. "We are working hard to improve. We are a bit tired as we work tactically and physically to get fuel into our tanks."
Lukaku commented in a video on Twitter that training was hard and noted that "in England [while at Manchester United] it was a lot of work, but here it's real work."
Inter's city rivals AC Milan also switched coach as Marco Giampaolo replaced Gennaro Gattuso. The Rossoneri qualified in fifth for the Europa League but was banned by ruling body UEFA for infringing financial fair play rules.
Roma, with Paulo Fonseca now at the helm, Torino and Lazio will play the event and look to have their say in the home league, where Napoli, who confirmed Carlo Ancelotti as coach for a second season, hope for an upgrade after three second places in the past four seasons.
Lecce and Verona join the fray from the Serie B along with Brescia, who added zest to the league by signing striker Mario Balotelli, giving him a chance to play again in Italy after three years in France.
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