Marcello Lippi tipped Stephan El Shaarawy and Andrea Pirlo as his Players of 2013 and believes Juventus can make a Champions League impact.
“El Shaarawy has started the season in an exceptional manner,” the former Italy Coach told Tuttosport.
“I don’t know if he’ll be able to score every weekend as regularly as he is at the moment, but I’m sure the Milan talent will continue to be a protagonist in 2013.
“Pirlo was given a huge motivational boost by starting from scratch at Juventus and also the fact he couldn’t give his best in the 2010 World Cup due to injuries. This makes me think he’ll continue firing on all cylinders until the 2014 World Cup. He is extraordinary.”
Juventus have been top of the table consistently and Guangzhou Evergrande Coach Lippi expects them to stay there.
“Antonio Conte has brought back the ‘Juventus spirit’ and identity, a concept that people outside the club do not always understand. I am referring to the work ethic and ferocity in searching for results that represent the Juve DNA, but had been slightly lost in recent years.
“The comparisons with my Juve, or those of Fabio Capello and Giovanni Trapattoni, are understandable because we are all united by that culture.
“I’d add Roma to the list of Scudetto contenders, although all of them need to find some consistency rather than these peaks and troughs. I have been really impressed by Fiorentina, who showed it’s not always necessary to give plenty of time for a group of new players to gel.”
Juventus will face Celtic in the Champions League knockouts in February and Milan take on Barcelona, so Lippi looks to Turin again.
“By beating Chelsea and winning away to Shakhtar Donetsk, Juve grew a great deal in terms of confidence. A lot depends on who crosses your path along the way.”