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Italian football returns on Setanta Sports Australia

One of the longest standing and most successful football competitions in the world, Italy's Serie A, gets underway this weekend.

"Serie A football has produced more European Cup finalists than any other competition," according to former Socceroo captain and Serie A player, Paul Okon.

"Italian clubs have reached the final of European competitions 26 times and have won it 12 times, the most recent being last season when Inter took out the Champions League."

Internazionale (or 'Inter') defeated Bayern Munich in the Final of the UEFA Champions League 2-0 in May, as well as taking out the Serie A title and the Coppa Italia or Italian Cup (the equivalent of the English FA Cup).

Okon said that the Serie A clubs will also be keen to make up for Italy's poor showing at the recent FIFA World Cup.

"After being world champions in 2006, dropping out at the group stage was a national disgrace for Italy.

"Italian football will be keen to show the rest of the world that this isn't a reflection on the Serie A which is still rated as one of the top domestic competitions in the world," said Okon.

"Serie A has four teams taking part in UEFA Champions League competition this season, along with Spain's La Liga and the English Premier League."

As well as members of the Italian national team such as Gianluiji Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele De Rossi, the Serie A includes players from around world football such as Cesar, Maicon, Ronaldinho and Diego (Brazil), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Dejan Stankovi? (Serbia), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Ousmane Dabo (France), Abdelkader Ghezzal (Algeria) and Stephen Appiah (Ghana) to name just a few.

"Our own Mark Bresciano has also made a big move this season, transferring from Palermo to Lazio," said Okon.

"Lazio is a large, Rome-based club which always has big ambitions and this will be a great test for 'Bresh'. So far in pre-season, he's been getting a good run and scoring some goals so we hope it continues for him."

Up to four live games in the Serie A will be broadcast each week on Setanta Sports, with the first match to be broadcast on Setanta on Sunday morning (local time) between Roma and newly promoted Cesena.

Okon said that Setanta Sports were not only improving the quality of their Serie A coverage for the 2010-11 season but also expanding it to include a weekly highlights program and magazine program.

"Regardless of whether you follow Juve, Inter, Milan, Lazio or whichever team, if you're a fan of quality football, it's worthwhile watching the Serie A."

In addition to the Serie A, Setanta Sports also offers more than 750 football matches this season with the best of German, Dutch, Scottish, Portuguese and South American football as well as many Euro 2012 qualifiers and the FA Cup.

The opening round's coverage of Serie A on Setanta Sports is:

- Sunday 29 August, 4.45am (AEST) - Roma v CesenaLIVE - Monday 30 August, 2.00am (AEST) - Bari v JuventusLIVE - Monday 30 August, 4.45am (AEST) - Fiorentina v NapoliLIVE - Monday 30 August, 7:00am (AEST) - Sampdoria v Lazio - Monday 30 August, 8:45am (AEST) - Parma v Brescia - Monday 30 August, 10:30am (AEST) - Palermo v Cagliari - Tuesday 31 August, 4.45am (AEST) - Bologna v Inter LIVE

To find out more about getting Setanta Sports, visit www.setanta.com or call 1300 738 268.

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