Money's the Key to English Success - Ranieri
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The widening gulf between Italian and English clubs is purely down to money, according to Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri.
Juve face Chelsea tonight, one of three Anglo-Italian Champions League ties this week which all seem to be leaning in the Barclays Premier League clubs' favour.
And Ranieri admits it is becoming harder for his club and the likes of Inter Milan and Roma to compete.
"I would not say we have an inferiority complex," he said. "If there is any inferiority complex at all, then it is about having less money, but that is not a complex but a circumstance."
It was Ranieri himself who was one of the first to benefit from English football's new-found wealth when he was in charge of the Blues.
He was the first to spend Roman Abramovich's millions and took Chelsea to their best league finish since 1955 in 2004, only to discover that second place was still not good enough.
Now he finds himself trying to plot the rich man's downfall and that, he believes, has become even more difficult since Guus Hiddink took over from Luiz Felipe Scolari.
"Chelsea are now back to being the war machine that was created with a lot of money," he added.
"Chelsea is not only about a quality squad, but about the particular quality of individual players."
However, Juventus forward Alessandro Del Piero still believes in the factors that even money cannot buy.
The Italy striker is one of the rare examples of a player who devotes his whole career to one club, and more than 15 years since he first pulled on a Bianconero shirt, he still shows the same love for the game.
"Of course enthusiasm and the desire to work are what push me to try to improve every day," he said.
"Added to that is my personal quality and pride, but the most important thing is the passion for this job and the fact that I have played practically all of my career at Juventus illustrates that."
He was part of the Juventus side which won the Champions League in 1996 when Italian clubs were dominating European football like the English clubs of today.
However, he says that shift in power is not only down to money.
"There has been a massive change in recent years," he said. "It is not only economical, but the influx of players and foreign coaches who have been able to mix things up.
"They have managed to keep the typical qualities of English football while adding those from other countries.
"In the past, they were very strong in certain areas, but now they are strong in every area."
That does not necessarily mean that English football has overtaken the Italian game, though, in Del Piero's view.
"We will find out more about that after these two days," he added.
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