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The Notorious Trofeo TIM


I know you’ve been waiting for this day since last year. Certainly Montolivo has, as this bizarre tournament is one of the only chances he has at lifting a trophy. In just three non-FIFA-sanctioned 45 minute matches (and possibly some penalty shoot-outs,) one lucky team will take home a trophy. A shiny, meaningless trophy. It has all of the excitement of laundry day, but without all of the clean clothes. Forget about that worldwide gathering of athletes that only happens every four years. This is the notorious Trofeo TIM.

Even if only to let him touch a trophy

The Trofeo TIM was originally a tournament contested by Juventus, Inter, and Milan. Then someone got the bright idea to kick Inter out for a few years. Sassuolo stepped up to the plate, and even became hosts of the annual event. Last year, Juventus had a Supercoppa obligation, though, so those filthy snakes came back just to make sure we destroyed them. This year, apparently Milan winning the trophy two years in a row scared off both Juve and Inter, and for the first time we have a non-Serie A opponent, Celta Vigo. If they manage to win the trophy, they will absolutely maintain the curse that whomever wins the Trofeo TIM will not win the Scudetto (that curse has been true every year except two.) Of course it is difficult to imagine Milan winning the Scudetto, or even Sassuolo, so I’m not sure if that proves the curse right or just shows the level of competition of this “tournament.” Milan being the only team who has played in every Trofeo TIM tournament would also explain so much about our number of Scudetti.

If, in your excitement to see the preseason friendly tournament to end all tournaments you’ve forgotten, here’s how it works: Each team plays the other two teams over the course of a total of three 45 minute matches. If at the end of these hobbit-length matches, there is no winner, then the teams go to penalties. Winning a match in quasi-regulation earns a team three points, winning on penalties earns them two points, losing on penalties earns them one point, and there are zero points for losing in regulation.

Sassuolo won in their inaugural year... can they win another?

If the team continue their preseason growth, the first team could beat Celta Vigo. Maybe. Also, now that we need to drop some players, they’ll all be playing for their spot. But if Montella fields a second team to face Sassuolo like the subs he put on in the U.S., it’s hard to see us beating the team that finished sixth last year (and also have consistency on their side.)  Also, Lapadula is still not fit, he has plantar fasciitis (isn’t that what El Shaarawy had? I can’t remember.) He may not even be ready for our opener against Torino. Also, Gomez has some kind of paperwork issues or something, so will not be available. If Galliani is going to bring in any new players, can we please tell him to make sure they are available to play right away? We could use their help now, not in however many weeks it takes to heal from an injury.

"Wait, there's a trophy in Italy we can win in only two 45 minute matches? Yes!"

I assume Montolivo has been dreaming of his chance to lift another trophy. He’s probably been dreaming of a Scudetto or Champions League shaped trophy. But his reality will be that if we can pull off a third straight win of this esteemed tournament, he will lift a totally different trophy to a tiny weeknight crowd and a bunch of people streaming the tournament online who won’t even get to see him lift it because the stream will cut out to show underwater basket weaving. That is the level of regard this tournament holds. But hey, it will be fun to see the guys play midweek and see if the preliminary agreement to sell the club will boost the morale of the team or not. Oh, and the possibility of Montolivo lifting the trophy… we all know meaningless preseason trophies are the only ones he’ll ever lift, so good for him. It’s the notorious Trofeo TIM.


This post inspired by Liam Lynch’s “United States of Whatever”


Our next match is the
Trofeo Tim
AC Milan • RC Celta de Vigo • US Sassuolo Calcio
Wednesday, August 10 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)
21:00 Milan vs. Celta Vigo
22:00 Loser of 1st match vs. Sassuolo
23:00 Winner of 1st match vs. Sassuolo
Mapei Stadium

This match will not be shown on TV in the U.S.