Stephan Lichtsteiner struck the first blow in the build-up to the first Derby d’Italia of the season by claiming Juventus should be credited with the titles that were taken away due to the club’s involvement with match fixing.
Juventus and Inter Milan face-off following the international break and the Swiss defender did not need much of an invitation to give his views on one of the most heated games in Italian football.
Sending the first salvo in an inevitable war of words, Lichtsteiner’s criticism was unmistakably aimed at Inter, who continue to dispute Juve’s claim to two extra titles, which are also unrecognised by the Lega Serie A.
“There are still people who try to make out that Juventus did not win those two titles on the field which were then revoked, but that’s not the way it is,” he said. “Those titles were won on the pitch and as far as I am concerned, Juve have 31 and there’s not much to add to that.”
Recognition is also one of Lichtsteiner’s personal bugbears after he claimed he does not get the credit he feels he deserves.
“I only play to win and I am often criticised by the media for my behaviour, but if you don’t give 100%, you get criticised, and if you are too emotional, then you get criticised all the same.
“This is my way of playing. Am I supposed to excuse or justify myself for it? I’m delighted when people acknowledge my efforts. The successes and titles won in recent years have changed me a little - there are not many Swiss who have won titles abroad, but I have shown my worth, even if it has gone underrated for a long time.”
Juve also have an issue believing their full worth is not recognised with the club unhappy at the distribution of revenue from the Italian Supercoppa last month.
Lazio, beaten 4-1 by the Bianconeri, earned a larger slice of the cake due to Juve’s refusal to play the game in Beijing, a decision which denied Lazio a larger payday.
The Lega Serie A paid the Biancoceleste more by the means of compensation, but Juve disputed the distribution to the Italian FA’s Federal Court of Justice.
However, it has rejected the appeal, stating it is “not competent” to rule on such an issue, leaving the Turin-based club little option but to take their appeal further, turning now to the national Olympic Committee.