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Serie A announces exciting schedule for the new season

Italy won't be making us wait long for the first Milan derby of the season, and that's not the only fun part about their new schedule.

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Monday saw an always anticipated event in Italian football: the unveiling of the Serie A schedule for the upcoming season. Calcio fans around the world pay rapt attention as the matches are unveiled one week at a time, eagerly scouting out big matchups, favorite derbies and gauging who in the title race is helped more by different stretches of matches.

It's also a day occasionally good for some, shall we say, extracurricular entertainment. Put 20 ego-driven club presidents and chairmen into a room with each other, and there's always a good chance that something could explode. After all, this is the same event that saw Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis go on a profanity-laced tirade halfway through it four years ago and leave the building on the back of a stranger's scooter.

Sadly, we didn't get such fireworks this year, but what we did get was an intriguing calendar of matches for Italian football. Right off the bat, we get a match between AC Milan and Fiorentina, pitting new rossoneri boss Sinisa Mihajlovic against the team he's perhaps best known for managing, but that's far from the most exciting match to take place in Milan early in the season.

Mark your calendars for Sept. 13, because that's all of we have to wait before the first Milan Derby, the Derby della Madonnina between AC Milan and their stadium-sharing arch-rivals, Inter Milan. The rossoneri and nerazzurri will square off to see who gets the bragging rights in the San Siro in one of the most hotly contested and exciting rivalries in world football. Of course, the loser gets a shot at revenge later on in the season, with the second battle of the San Siro scheduled for Jan. 31.

There are a number of other exciting matches all season long, but sadly there's just not enough time or space to go through every single one. You'll have to check them out for yourself, and get excited for a fun season of football in Italy.

In the news

It's official: the CONCACAF playoff for a Confederations Cup berth in 2017 is set. The United States and Mexico will square off in the Rose Bowl on Oct. 9. (SI)

Jose Mourinho thinks Eden Hazard is better than Cristiano Ronaldo. Sure, he's coached both guys, but maybe he's a little biased here, yeah? (ESPN FC)

Didier Drogba's move to the Montreal Impact is official, finally joining MLS after years of rumors.

Rafa Benitez says Sergio Ramos isn't leaving, but a meeting between Real Madrid and his agent was delayed. (Marca)

Stoke City raised some eyebrows when they signed Ibrahim Afellay on a free transfer. (BBC)

Franco Di Santo has finalized his move from Werder Bremen to Schalke 04. (Bundesliga)

You should be reading

It may not be Moneyball, but Danish side FC Midtjylland are trying to use statistics to their advantage in the Champions League. (Guardian)

Speaking of statistics, Leander Schaerlaeckens took a look at how MLS teams are using new analytical methods to find an edge of their own. (Soccer Gods)

There was some pretty hilarious trolling of disgraced wrestler Hulk Hogan by football fans on Twitter. (Vice)

Fun with transfer rumors

The section in which nothing should be taken seriously. It's rumor season, so this section will be expanded, and as the summer rolls on, it will probably be bigger than the actual news section.

Sampdoria's owner is claiming that buying Mario Balotelli from Liverpool will cost just €10 million. (Football Italia)

Manchester City are preparing to launch their effort to sign Wolfsburg star Kevin De Bruyne (Telegraph)

Liverpool are trying to sign away Paris Saint-Germain fullback Lucas Digne. (Liverpool Echo)

What to watch on Tuesday (click for listings, all times Eastern)

The Champions League third qualifying round gets underway with nine matches, including a fascinating matchup between Shakhtar Donetsk and Fenerbahce.

ICC: Barcelona vs. Chelsea (8 p.m.) - Arguably the best club in the world faces off with the defending English champions in Maryland.

ICC: Club America vs. Benfica (10 p.m.) - Neither team has particularly enjoyed the International Champions Cup, and will probably just be happy to see the end of the match.

The first round of the Copa MX group stage gets underway, with some of the giants of Mexican football set for action.

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