AC Milan's signing of Brazilian star Ronaldinho
was the big signing of the summer in Italy, but each of
the five Serie A title favorites spent big on a Brazilian. Here's a look at the players who could play key roles in the race for the Scudetto that begins this weekend ... RONALDINHO.
He might have been signed as a marketing ploy, but he may be the key to Milan's title hopes. Milan opens at home against Bologna on Sunday with lots
of injury problems -- Kaka
is out and central defenders Paolo Maldini
and Alessandro Nesta
are all doubtful -- so the importance of a fit Ronaldinho
, back from the
Olympics, can't be underestimated. AMAURI (Juventus).
The lanky Amauri arrives at Juventus from Palermo, where he scored 23 goals in 53 games
over the past two seasons. At 28, he has spent eight years in Italy with more modest clubs, Napoli, Piacenza, Chievo Verona and Palermo, he finally will get to enjoy the spotlight at Juventus,
which paid $23 million. He's now eligible for an Italian passport and hopes to play for Italy. FELIPE MELO (Fiorentina).
midfielder, signed in a $19 million transfer deal from small Spanish club Almeria, could be the surprise of the season. He is replacing Fabio Liverani
Fiorentina's holding midfielder and was outstanding in its UEFA Champions League qualifying series against Slavia Prague that concluded Wednesday. JULIO BAPTISTA (Roma).
Known as the "Beast," Julio Baptista spent two spells at Real Madrid with a loan spell in between. After finishing last season on the bench, the 26-year-old
Baptista was put up for sale and purchased by Roma in a $13 million deal. He can play in midfield or up front, where he will give some muscle to the Roma attack. AMANTINO MANCINI (Inter Milan).
One Mancini leaves and another arrives. Roberto Mancini
has been replaced by Jose Mourinho
as coach, and one of Mourinho's major summer pickups was Amantino Mancini (whose nickname comes from the Portuguese word mansinho
-- "the mild one"). After five seasons at Roma, the 28-year-old right winger has moved to Inter Milan, which paid $19 million.