All of the international story lines of the past week have, for me, really run together into a single narrative, a narrative that sets club form and international form in clear opposition to each other. The most obvious example is obviously Lionel Messi, who at this point seems like he'll never win an international trophy despite being on the shortlist for the GOAT. You've got to feel for the little guy, even as he claims that he's retiring from the Argentina setup forever (along with, like, half of the starting lineup, so way to go, AFA).
But he's hardly the only one. Federico Bernardeschi, who was the most promising player for Fiorentina this year, although probably not the best, pretty much face-planted in his start for the Azzuri against Ireland; his energy was there, but his passing and dribbling were painfully absent. Mario Gómez, on the other hand, was an absolute force against Slovakia; he scored a typical poacher's goal with a brilliant near post run and finish, and won a penalty missed by Mesut Özil. Marione is fresh off a very productive year with Beşiktaş, but flopped for the entirety of his two years in Florence.
Whatever the heck it is that determines whether a player does or doesn't fall apart, I would like to invest in industrial amounts of it this year. With hot-and-cold strikers like Giuseppe Rossi, Nikola Kalinić, and Mauro Zárate, somebody needs to figure out how to keep them healthy and productive, or they'll surely Gómez everything up and tank the season before blooming again elsewhere. So, I vote we brainstorm what it is that makes all these sporadically excellent players tick, and then convince Sousa to do that.
Following months of speculation, Nikola Kalinić has fully reversed course and now says he's not going anywhere. Read more here.
PSG and Salvatore Sirigu both sound like they've agreed to part ways, with Florence mooted as a possible landing spot. Here is the full story.
If you don't want to read about Khouma Babacar and his maybe impending exit, don't click here.
Here is round two of these week's transfer rumors.
The "Martin Jørgensen is coming back so everything is great" page is here. For details, or just because you're excited, have a look.
If you want to know who the heck Viola transfer target Hernani is, we've got you covered here.
Sure enough, Italy boss Antonio Conte gave Federico Bernardeschi a start against Ireland, as we predicted here. It, um, wasn't particularly memorable.
For pretty much all the other Viola players at the Euros, though, that round was pretty swell, as we reported here last week.
Poor old Leo Messi still can't win an international trophy, but he can console himself with Argentina's all time scoring lead, after passing Viola legend Gabriel Batistuta. Here is our report.
Comment of the week
Anyone wondering why Corvino is tracking so many goalkeepers? Wonder no more.