From the twilight to the limelight? Juventus condemned to success

 From the twilight to the limelight?  Juventus condemned to success

What is the mood?

In the recent past, Juventus Turin has repeatedly made headlines, rarely because of sporting achievements, but all the more often because of balance tricks and the resulting penalties. Most recently, Italy’s record champions were banned from the European Cup for this season by UEFA. A penalty that did not come at all inconveniently for Juve, as they had only qualified for the third-rate Europa Conference League due to a ten-point deduction in the league.

Maybe that’s why the club decided not to take legal action against the penalty. “We want to draw a line,” said club president Gianluca Ferrero recently and went on to say that Turin now wants to focus on the future. So Juve’s future this season lies entirely in Serie A – combined with the clear goal of qualifying for the Champions League again.

The Bianconeri also need it sorely, because financially Italy’s biggest club is not at all a bed of roses. On the contrary: in 2021/22 Juventus lost an incredible 254.3 million euros, compared to 210 million the year before. The former noble club is on the way to financial ruin. Turin is therefore looking to the future with concern, which of course ultimately leads to a mixed mood between purposeful optimism and existential fear around the club.

What can the squad do?

Unsurprisingly, Juve held back on the transfer market. There are no well-known newcomers, defender Facundo Gonzalez (20) from FC Valencia has been the top transfer so far. Big names like the two veterans Angel di Maria (Benfica) and Juan Cuadrado (Inter Milan) have meanwhile left Juve – and Dusan Vlahovic was also a topic again and again this summer.

The Serb is actually set to attack, but there was hope in Turin that a possible sale of the “silverware” would create financial leeway. The 23-year-old was associated with Bayern Munich, Paris St. Germain and Chelsea – but it never got serious, so coach Massimiliano Allegri can still fall back on the 80 million man.

But it is not impossible that Vlahovic will leave the old lady this summer. The injury-prone Paul Pogba or the former Schalke player Weston McKennie would not be put in the way of a change (and corresponding monetary compensation) in Turin, the same applies to club legend Leonardo Bonucci (36), who was also in the past season was only used sporadically and will probably leave the club.

Fabio Miretti

One of Turin’s many talents: Fabio Miretti.

One thing has been noticeable for a long time: Juve has rejuvenated. In attack, six players are 23 or younger, only Federico Chiesa (25) and former Bundesliga professional Arkadiusz Milik (24 games for FC Augsburg and Bayer 04 Leverkusen) are older at 29.

And even in midfield there are only two players who have already crossed the 30 with the ex-Frankfurt Filip Kostic and Pogba. However, there is no lack of experience in the Juve midfield, as the Frenchman Adrien Rabiot (28) or Manuel Locatelli (25) have been established figures for years – Rabiot in particular was a Juve bench last Serie A season. There are also up-and-coming talents like Nicolo Fagioli (22) and Fabio Miretti (20), who already played regularly last season.

Defensively, Allegri can rely on significantly more experience, because with Alex Sandro (32), Danilo (32), Mattia de Sciglio (30) and Bremer (26) he has experienced defenders at his disposal.

What’s the goal?

Juve is also in a consolidation process this year, which had already been initiated in 2022. The team is comparatively young, but showed last season that they can compete at the top in Italy – without the point deduction they would have qualified for the Champions League.

One thing is clear: The old lady has a well-established squad and, with Allegri, who is still held, has a well-rounded trainer on the sidelines. It is certainly also an advantage that the Turin team will not be faced with a double burden this season. Therefore, the Bianconeri can be expected in Serie A this year, whose official goal is a place in the Champions League – but they would certainly take the Scudetto with them if the chance arose.

What does the coach say?

Massimiliano Allegri

Happy to usually only have one game next season: Massimiliano Allegri.

“It’s pointless to talk about the Scudetto,” Allegri said cautiously in an interview with the “Gazzetta dello Sport”, but in this context also referred to the great history of the club, including 36 championships won, and emphasized that you cannot afford to go into a season without clear goals. “You have to start ambitiously and get the maximum out of it. We’ll see where we stand in March – it’s a long journey until then.”

However, a journey with sufficient breaks, as Allegri knows. “We have the advantage of only playing one game a week. That’s good because we can train and practice more. This team needs that too. We have to work on our self-esteem – and our game structure.”


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