Saturday, May 28 2022

Massimiliano Allegri is the man who has taken Juventus closest to their dream of Champions League glory in recent seasons, but he begins this season’s European campaign in the midst of a dreadful start to the season which has put their domestic credentials under the spotlight.

The 52-year-old was pelted with eggs by fans when he arrived for his first spell at Juve in 2014, due to the rows in which he was involved with Juve while managing AC Milan and the fact he was replacing club legend Antonio Conte, but he won over supporters by leading Juve to five straight league titles and two Champions League finals.

The Old Lady of Italian football tried to go one step further with the shock 2018 signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, who had ended their hopes of a first Champions league title since 1996 the previous two seasons.

However it was a 100-million euro gamble which didn’t pay off, with Juventus allowing Ronaldo to leave at a fraction of the price three summers later, their status on the continent less than it had been when the five-time Ballon d’Or winner arrived.

Ronaldo is the Champions League’s all-time highest scorer but even with him in their ranks they failed to get any further than the quarter-finals and in the past two seasons were dumped out in the last 16 by Lyon and Porto.

Juve have also somewhat lost their way domestically, last season finishing 13 points behind league winners Inter Milan under novice coach Andrea Pirlo and only qualifying for the Champions League on the final day of the campaign because Napoli failed to beat Verona at home.

Now Allegri returns to the Juve dugout this season not as an enemy but an old friend, charged both with re-establishing their pre-eminence in Italy and rebuilding their European reputation with a weaker line-up than the teams he took to within one match of glory in 2015 and 2017.

– ‘Life goes on’ –

Ronaldo had already been rumoured to want out this summer and charismatic Allegri practically shrugged his shoulders while announcing last season’s top scorer in Italy had no intention of ever playing for Juve again.

Never a coach short of confidence, Allegri said “life goes on” as he played down the exit of one of the game’s greatest ever players, but his second spell is off to a wobbly start.

Losers at Napoli on Saturday, Juve have just one point from their first three games and look a shadow of the team which dominated Italian football for nearly a decade while just falling just short on Europe’s biggest stage on two occasions.

They kick off their continental campaign at Malmo, a relatively soft start to Group H which before the Napoli defeat Allegri called the “most important” game of a group which also contains European champions Chelsea.

“Let’s hope that we can begin the Champions League better than we have the league season,” Allegri then said after his depleted side fell to defeat in Naples.

He should have most of his first choice XI back for the trip to Sweden, with Juve’s South American internationals — including key players Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado — absent at Napoli due to their World Cup qualifying exertions now ready to play.

The only doubt remains Federico Chiesa, who also missed Saturday’s defeat through an unspecified muscular problem and trained separately on Monday morning.

Allegri will be hoping that a side resembling full strength can bounce back quickly from their early setbacks as between now and the next international break early next month they will have to face AC Milan and Chelsea, with a Turin derby thrown in for good measure.


Source: Yahoo Sports


Francisco Lindor's spectacular Subway Series show exactly what he and Mets needed


Mets News: Emotional Subway Series win; update on Jacob deGrom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

Cubs’ Keegan Thompson to start White Sox series opener

Cubs tab Thompson for start vs. Sox entering tough stretch originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago The Cubs will hand Keegan Thompson the ball in the first game of a grueling stretch on their schedule. Thompson will start Saturday’s series opener against the White Sox on the South Side, the Cubs announced. After Friday’s off […]

Read More

El Trafico has new villain, but same LA Galaxy success

CARSON, Calif. — Live long enough to see yourself become the villain. The rivalry between Los Angeles Galaxy and LAFC certainly didn’t need a boost, but Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup version of El Tráfico, which the Galaxy won 3-1, might’ve pushed it to another level. It was the second time ever the teams met in […]

Read More

Cubs’ David Ross: No Caleb Kilian debut next week vs. Brewers

Caleb in waiting: No debut for Kilian next week, says Ross originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago CINCINNATI — The Caleb Kilian hype train might be at full steam. But the Caleb Kilian arrival might not be as imminent as some of those waiting might think. The big right-hander with the power stuff and the […]

Read More