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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


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.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Why The U.S. Lost Its Leverage In The Middle East — And May Never Get It Back

In the Israel-Hamas war, Qatar now plays the key role in negotiations, while the United States appears increasingly disengaged. Shifts in the region and beyond require that Washington move quickly or risk ceding influence to China and others for the long term.

Photograph of U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken  shaking hands with sraeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

November 30, 2023, Tel Aviv, Israel: U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Chuck Kennedy/U.S State/ZUMA
Sébastien Boussois


PARIS — Upon assuming office in 2008, then-President Barack Obama declared that United States would gradually begin withdrawing from various conflict zones across the globe, initiating a complex process that has had a major impact on the international landscape ever since.

This started with the American departure from Iraq in 2010, and was followed by Donald Trump's presidency, during which the "Make America Great Again" policy redirected attention to America's domestic interests.

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The withdrawal trend resumed under Joe Biden, who ordered the exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021. To maintain a foothold in all intricate regions to the east, America requires secure and stable partnerships. The recent struggle in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict demonstrates that Washington increasingly relies on the allied Gulf states for any enduring influence.

Since the collapse of the Camp David Accords in 1999 during Bill Clinton's tenure, Washington has consistently supported Israel without pursuing renewed peace talks that could have led to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

While President Joe Biden's recent challenges in pushing for a Gaza ceasefire met with resistance from an unyielding Benjamin Netanyahu, they also stem from the United States' overall disengagement from the issue over the past two decades. Biden now is seeking to re-engage in the Israel-Palestine matter, yet it is Qatar that is the primary broker for significant negotiations such as the release of hostages in exchange for a ceasefire —a situation the United States lacks the leverage to enforce.

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