MILAN (AP) — Italian teams are bidding to achieve what they have only done once before: a clean sweep of all three of Europe’s top club competitions.
Inter Milan is aiming to end a 13-year wait for the Champions League trophy, while Roma is targeting a second straight European title after reaching the Europa League final and Fiorentina is in the Europa Conference League final.
In 1990, AC Milan won the European Cup and Juventus won the UEFA Cup — the previous names for the Champions League and Europa League. Sampdoria won the now-defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup.
“Inter, Roma and Fiorentina have been extraordinary, they have accomplished an exceptional result for the whole movement,” said Gabriele Gravina, the president of the Italian soccer federation. “The enthusiasm generated by this success is something unique so I congratulate the respective directors, technical staff and the players because the three finals are the result of very solid technical projects.”
Gravina will attend all three finals, starting with Roma’s match against Sevilla in Budapest on May 31. Fiorentina then plays West Ham in Prague a week later before Inter takes on Manchester City in Istanbul on June 10.
“Now we will cheer them on for final successes,” Gravina said. “Certainly it won’t be easy, but I am convinced that all three have good chances.
“For the future, the hope is that these results will become more constant in time, by supporting the work of the federation on youngsters, financial balance and stadiums.”
Inter has the hardest task of the Italian teams as it faces juggernaut Manchester City.
The English team will be full of confidence after routing 14-time champion Real Madrid 4-0 on Wednesday to progress to the final 5-1 on aggregate.
Like City, Inter is bidding for a treble of trophies.
While not quite in the realm of City’s treble bid — Champions League, English Premier League, FA Cup — Inter won the Italian Super Cup in January, has the Italian Cup final against Fiorentina next Wednesday, and then the Champions League final with City next month.
Inter beat city rival AC Milan 3-0 on aggregate to reach the final.
Roma is in its second straight final after ending Italian soccer’s long wait for a European title last year.
Roma’s success in last season’s inaugural Europa Conference League was the first European trophy for an Italian team since Inter won the treble of the Champions League, Serie A and the Italian Cup in 2010.
Both teams were coached by the same man: José Mourinho.
The 60-year-old Mourinho is bidding for a sixth European title. He has won the Europa League with both Porto (when it was still known as the UEFA Cup) and Manchester United and also has two Champions League titles.
“I’m not worried about being part of Roma history, but simply helping the lads achieve big things and improve, as well as helping the Roma fans, who’ve given me so much going back to day one,” Mourinho said. “We’re always giving our all to try to make the supporters happy. Reaching the final is certainly a source of so much joy.”
Roma’s opponent has dominated the competition as Sevilla is bidding for a record-extending seventh title. The Spanish team has never lost a Europa League final.
JUVE MISS OUT
Sevilla got to the final by beating another Italian team, in Juventus.
It won 2-1 after extra time on Thursday to progress 3-2 on aggregate and prevent an all-Italian final.
The elimination was the latest woe for Juventus in a season that has been full of turmoil on and off the field.
Juventus is second in Serie A and on course for a spot in next season’s Champions League but could yet be docked points again.
The Bianconeri were hit with a 15-point penalty for false accounting in January but its punishment was suspended last month and the case was referred back to the soccer federation’s appeals court.
A new ruling is expected Monday.
After waiting nearly a decade to play in the final of any competition, two have come along at once for Fiorentina.
As well as facing West Ham in the Europa Conference League, Fiorentina will also take on Inter in the Italian Cup final.
The Tuscan team last contested a final when it lost to Napoli in the 2014 Italian Cup.
Fiorentina has to go back even further for its last European final, when it was beaten by Juventus in the UEFA Cup in 1990 — the year Italian teams last dominated European soccer.
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