ROME (AP) — Carlos Tevez will be expected to provide the difference when two-time defending champion Juventus meets Inter Milan on Saturday in the first big clash of the Serie A season.
Also this weekend, Kaka will mark his return to AC Milan at Torino after his transfer from Real Madrid on the final day of the transfer window. There is also the Genoa derby Sunday night but the weekend's highlight should come a day earlier at the San Siro for Inter-Juve, a match known as the derby d'Italia — Italy's derby.
With fellow forward Mirko Vucinic likely out with a bruised left knee, Tevez should be the focus of Juventus' attack as he aims to extend his perfect start with the club following his transfer from Manchester City.
Tevez has scored in each of his first three matches. In his Juventus debut, Tevez scored the fourth goal in a 4-0 rout of Lazio in the Italian Super Cup last month. He then scored the decisive goal when Juve opened Serie A by beating Sampdoria 1-0, and also found the target in a 4-1 win over Lazio in the second round.
Inter has also had a solid start under new coach Walter Mazzarri, who moved from Napoli, where he often traded verbal jabs with Juventus manager Antonio Conte. Coming off a ninth-place finish last season and without big expectations for this campaign, Inter opened by beating Genoa 2-0 then won 3-0 at Catania with forward Rodrigo Palacio and winger Yuto Nagatomo each scoring in both matches.
"We have a lot of respect for Inter and we fear them," Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said. "Not having cups and with such a great and well-prepared coach like Mazzarri, Inter is going to bother everyone for the entire year."
Conte was offended a couple of years ago when he thought that Mazzarri accused him of copying his three-man defense, and the rift between the two men grew larger a year ago when Napoli abandoned the post-match presentations for Juve's Super Cup win.
However, relations appear to have cooled with Mazzarri's move, perhaps because Inter is not considered as much of a threat to Juve's title chances as Napoli — especially while striker Diego Milito and captain Javier Zanetti work their way back from long-term injuries.
From the sidelines, Zanetti has been impressed from what he's seen from Mazzarri. "He's a real worker. He's very attentive to details," Zanetti said. "He's been able to construct a solid squad and make us understand right away how he wants to play."
Without Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella will likely partner Tevez in attack. Other Juve players injured include defenders Andrea Barzagli and Martin Caceres plus midfielder Claudio Marchisio. While Juve and Inter are among five squads with perfect records after the first two rounds, Milan is three points behind after losing its opener at Hellas Verona.
With Kevin-Price Boateng's transfer to Schalke, Kaka is set to take over at playmaker for the Rossoneri, the squad he won the 2007 FIFA world player of the year with. However, after a left knee injury and little playing time at Madrid, Kaka is clearly not the player he once was.
"Ricky is certainly not a second striker anymore but he can be a playmaker," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said. Milan is hoping that Kaka will provide the necessary passes and vertical speed to free up Mario Balotelli in front of the goal.
"He's only had two training sessions and a friendly but he seems to me like he's in pretty good shape," Milan assistant coach Mauro Tassotti said earlier this week. "We talked with (Madrid and former Milan coach Carlo) Ancelotti and he guaranteed us that he was always training. But we shouldn't rush, considering that he hasn't played much in recent years."
Besides figuring out Kaka's form, Milan also has worries at fullback, with Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio and Daniele Bonera each out injured. That could mean newly signed Andrea Poli will be shifted back from midfield to help out.
The other three squads with perfect starts are Napoli, Fiorentina and Roma. Napoli hosts Atalanta in Saturday's second match, Fiorentina hosts Cagliari in Sunday's lunchtime fixture, and Roma visits Parma on Monday.
In Sunday's other matches, it's: Hellas Verona vs. Sassuolo in a matchup of two promoted clubs; Lazio vs. Chievo Verona; Livorno vs. Catania; and Udinese vs. Bologna.