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Napoli and AC Milan among 5 worst Serie A title defences of all time

Napoli are currently putting up the worst Serie A title defence ever, but who else makes the top five?

Winning the Serie A title is certainly a herculean task, but after achieving success in the league, some clubs have found that retaining the title is even harder.

With Napoli almost certain to become the worst title defenders in Serie A history after falling almost 40 points behind league leaders Inter this season, let us take a look at the five worst Scudetto follow-ups in Italian football history.

Bologna – 1964-65

Bologna Football Club’s title defence in the 1964-65 Serie A season ended in disappointment. The previous season, Bologna had clinched the league title, but they failed to replicate their success. In the 1964-65 campaign, they finished in 11th place, a significant drop in performance compared to their title-winning season.

1964-65: Bologna’s disappointing title defence in the 1964-65 Serie A season saw them finish in 6th place with 34 points. The previous season, Bologna had celebrated Serie A glory with 54 points, but they struggled to replicate their success, dropping 20 points and five places in one season. The eventual champions, Inter Milan, secured the title with 54 points, leaving Bologna trailing by a substantial 20-point margin.

AC Milan – 2022-23

AC Milan’s 2022-23 Serie A campaign was characterised by inconsistency and underperformance. After winning the Serie A title in the previous season, expectations were high for Stefano Pioli’s side. However, Milan failed to sustain their title challenge. They finished in 4th place, 20 points behind eventual champions Napoli, marking a significant regression from their title-winning form.

AC Milan’s underwhelming Serie A campaign in the 2022-23 season saw them finish with only 70 points, 16 points fewer than they managed in the 2021/22 season when they claimed the Scudetto.

AC Milan – 1996-97

AC Milan’s attempt to defend their Serie A title in the 1996-97 season fell short of expectations. The previous season, Milan had secured their 16th Serie A title under manager Fabio Capello. However, in the 1996-97 campaign, they struggled to maintain their form finishing in a disappointing 11th place.

1996-97: AC Milan’s bid to defend their Serie A title in the 1996-97 season ended in disappointment as they finished with only 43 points, 30 fewer than the season before.

Despite the presence of star players like George Weah and Roberto Baggio, Milan failed to build on their title from the previous season. The eventual champions, Juventus, claimed the title with 65 points, resulting in a significant 22-point gap between them and AC Milan.

Torino – 1949-50

Torino Football Club’s 1949-50 season was marked by profound tragedy. The previous season, Torino had won their fifth Serie A title. However, tragedy struck on May 4, 1949, when the team’s plane crashed into the Superga hill near Turin, resulting in the loss of all 31 passengers, including the entire Il Torro team. The club struggled to recover from the devastating loss, both emotionally and in terms of on-field performance finishing in 6th place in Serie A, a significant drop from their championship-winning campaign.

They secured only 41 points, a significant drop from their championship-winning performance. The eventual champions, Juventus, secured the title with 62 points, marking a considerable 21-point gap between them and Torino.

Juventus – 1961-62

After securing the Serie A title in the 1960-61 season, Juventus faced a challenging title defence in 1961-62. Despite boasting talented players such as Omar Sívori and John Charles, Juventus struggled for consistency throughout the season. They finished in 12th place, a disappointing outcome for the reigning champions.

Juventus managed only 29 points in the two points for a win era, a considerable difference from the 49 points they had the season before. The eventual champions, AC Milan, clinched the title with 53 points, resulting in a 24-point gap between them and Juventus.

Napoli 2023/24

After winning their first Serie A title in 33 years in the 2022/23 season, Napoli’s title defence will most likely go down as the worst in history. The Partenopei are currently in 7th place, 34 points behind champions-elect Inter, and 10 points behind Bologna in fourth place as hopes of a UEFA Champions League place continue to fade.

Napoli’s 1.53 points per game after 32 matches is a far cry from the 2.37 points per game that won them the Scudetto the previous season when stars like Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen as well as winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia lit up the Italian top flight. Injuries to key players like Osimhen coupled with loss of form and a managerial merry-go-round that has seen Napoli led by three different coaches have cost the Partenopei dearly putting them in the annals of history for the wrong reasons.

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