When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

LA STAMPA

Pity The Poor Millionaires Of Inter Milan

The COVID-19 economic crisis has pushed the top Italian club to ask for tax payments to be deferred. It needs to pay coach Antonio Conte's salary of 1 million euros ... per month!

Arturo Vidal (FC Inter) during FC Internazionale vs Parma Calcio 1913, Italian soccer Serie A match in Milan
Arturo Vidal (FC Inter) during FC Internazionale vs Parma Calcio 1913, Italian soccer Serie A match in Milan
Mattia Feltri

-Essay-

MILAN — Dramatic news reaches us in the newsroom: Another 550 people have died from the coronavirus in one day in Italy; desperate appeals resound from hospital ICUs; thousands of people are homeless; and at the Inter Milan soccer club, they don't know how to pay their salaries.

This last bit of news plunges onto our desks like a knockout blow: Beppe Marotta, managing director of the storied Italian club, says that the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus is ruthless, and now the cost of labor is higher than Inter's incoming revenue. His cry of pain is directed to the Italian government. Mr. Marotta is asking for tax payments to be deferred or he won't be able to pay his coach, Antonio Conte, his net wage of 1 million euros — per month!

Some situations have begun to resemble the line outside the local food bank. Striker Romelu Lukaku makes a net 7.5 million euros per year. Same goes for playmaker Christian Eriksen, who isn't even on the starting 11 and might be the highest paid back-up in the northern hemisphere. Striker Alexis Sanchez earns 7 million euros; Arturo Vidal 6.5 million; and defender Achraf Hakimi, just signed over from Real Madrid for 40 million euros, can count on some 416,000 euros per month but might struggle to make ends meet after the third week of the month.

No one wants to be in Conte's shoes.

These champions already pay half of the income tax paid by ordinary Italians — according to a law designed to attract foreign sportsmen to Italy — but it still isn't enough to avert the looming tragedy.

Clearly, no one wants to be in Conte's shoes — not the Inter coach Antonio, but Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte — as he faces the piercing dilemma: write off the tax payments of these poor millionaires, or use them to cure the elderly in intensive care? Ah, cruel decision!

Except, of course, if there's a third option: Mr. Lukaku and the others could cut their meager wages by a fraction to avoid their employers' bankruptcy and future-proof their careers. And if the sacrifice is unsustainable, these strong young men could always train to become nurses in Italian hospitals.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Geopolitics

How Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Plays Right Into Erdogan's Election Campaign

Turkey's objections to Swedish membership of NATO may mean that Finland joins first. But as he approaches his highly contested reelection bid at home, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ready to use the issue to his advantage.

How Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Plays Right Into Erdogan's Election Campaign

January 11, 2023, Ankara (Turkey): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the International Conference of the Board of Grievances on January 11.

Turkish Presidency / APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — This story has all the key elements of our age: the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the excessive ambitions of an autocrat, the opportunism of a right-wing demagogue, Islamophobia... And at the end, a country, Sweden, whose NATO membership, which should have been only a formality, has been blocked.

Last spring, under the shock of the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's Russia, Sweden and Finland, two neutral countries in northern Europe, decided to apply for membership in NATO. For Sweden, this is a major turning point: the kingdom’s neutrality had lasted more than 150 years.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised objections. It demanded that Sweden stop sheltering Kurdish opponents in its country. This has nothing to do with NATO or Ukraine, but everything to do with Erdogan's electoral agenda, as he campaigns for the Turkish presidential elections next May.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest