TURIN: Massimiliano Allegri (Photo) is the man who has brought Juventus closer to their dream of Champions League glory in recent years, but he is starting this season’s European campaign amid a terrible start that has put their national credentials in the spotlight.
The 52-year-old was bombarded with eggs by fans when he arrived for his first stint at Juve in 2014, after arguments with Juve while managing AC Milan and because he was a substitute club legend Antonio Conte, but he won over fans by leading Juve. to five consecutive league titles and two Champions League finals.
The Old Lady of Italian football tried to go further with the shock signing in 2018 of Cristiano Ronaldo, who ended his hopes of a first Champions League title since 1996 in the final in 2017 and then in the quarter-finals in 2018.
The € 100million bet did not pay off, and Juventus allowed Ronaldo to leave at a fraction of the price three summers later as their status on the continent was lower than he had during the arrival of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Ronaldo is the all-time Champions League top scorer but even with him in the squad Juventus haven’t gone further than the quarter-finals and in the last two seasons they’ve been knocked out in the round of 16 by Lyon then Porto.
Juve lost their way domestically, ending last season 13 points behind league winner Inter Milan under rookie coach Andrea Pirlo and only qualifying for the Champions League on the last day of the campaign. because Napoli failed to beat Verona at home.
Now Allegri returns to the Juve dugout canoe not as an enemy but as an old friend, tasked with both re-establishing their preeminence in Italy and rebuilding their European reputation with a formation weaker than the teams he brought along. less than a glory game in 2015 and 2017.
After the rumor that Ronald wanted out this summer, the charismatic Allegri practically shrugged his shoulders while announcing that last season’s top scorer in Italy had no intention of 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 greatest players in the game’s history, but the coach’s second spell starts off badly.
Losing to Napoli on Saturday, Juve have just one point in their first three games and look like the shadow of the team that dominated Italian football for nearly a decade while narrowly missing the biggest stage Europe twice.
They start their continental campaign in Malmö, which Juventus also played in the group stage in 2014-15 before a side consisting of Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez lost in the final against Barcelona.
“You cannot compare the situation today to the last time we were here,” Allegri said on Monday.
“We have to win to give ourselves the right base from which to best tackle the group.”
He is expected to have the bulk of his first-choice eleven for the trip to Sweden, South American internationals Juve – including key players Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado – absent in Napoli due to their Cup qualifying efforts. of the world, ready to play.
However, Federico Chiesa, who also missed Saturday’s loss due to an unspecified muscle problem and trained separately on Monday morning, was left out of the 20-man squad, as was fellow Italian striker Federico Bernardeschi. with a knee injury.
Allegri is hoping a team that looks like all the strength can bounce back from their first setbacks. Before the next international break early next month, they have to face AC Milan and Chelsea, with a Turin derby. – AFP