We live in times which are long on opinion and short on memory. In the breakneck rush for absolutes, detailed analysis is thrown out the window like a spent cigarette. Everything current has to be the best - at least until tomorrow when we fire out another disposable deliberation. Balance, consideration and perspective are as hard to find as truffles hidden on a Tuscan hillside.
It's tempting to think that six-in-a-row Scudetti for this Juventus side must automatically make it the best Bianconero team there has ever been. Nobody has ever achieved the feat, making it a strong fact in their favour. But there are other elements to the jigsaw that we have to piece together before we come to a serious conclusion. The Twitter generation may not have time for that.
First of all, we need to ask who their serious rivals are for such a prestigious accolade. Even in the trophy-heavy history of this club, there are few who could stand comparison with the lofty achievements reached under Antonio Conte first and now Massimiliano Allegri. In fact, there might be only three - the five-in-a-row side of the 1930s, Giovanni Trapattoni’s team of the late 1970s and early 1980s and Marcello Lippi’s gang from the 1990s and early 2000s. An honourable mention, too, for the Omar Sivori and John Charles inspired squad of the 1950s.
The pre-war outfit represents, probably, a stretch too far and even I am not old enough to have seen them play. Those were pioneering days of Calcio when honours and players are hard to stack up against their modern counterparts. A bit like Real Madrid’s early dominance of the European Cup, the feat is still remarkable, but I would not feel comfortable or qualified to call them the best ever.
Which gives us a straight three-way fight between Trap, Lippi and the current crop. And what a tussle that is. Even simply in silverware terms, they are a trio of incredible teams. Each side - if we take the bold Marcello’s two spells - delivered about a dozen major trophies to the already fit-to-burst cabinet back in Turin. It is only fair to point out, however, that there was no Italian Super Cup back in the 1970s and that particular Juve side would surely have won a few of those.
In terms of win percentages, there is a clear edge to Conte and Allegri’s men - their ratio of victories is the highest by some margin. It is a mark in their credit box but also, surely, a comment on the quality of the opposition. Italian football, in general, has been in much ruder health in times gone by than it is at present. That is not meant as criticism of this team, they can only beat what is in front of them, but it has to be taken into account when weighing up their achievements.
Player for player, it feels like comparing three of the finest dishes ever served and is largely a matter of taste. Trap produced one of the greatest defences the global game has ever seen, starting at a time when no foreign imports were allowed in Italy before adding superstars like Zibi Boniek and Michel Platini.
Lippi’s team might have been one of the most hard-working, never-say-die outfits to have graced the turf with the sprinkle of skills provided by Alex Del Piero and Zinedine Zidane. Today’s side boasts similar grinta and robust defensive qualities allied with Paulo Dybala’s delightful dancing feet. How blessed La Vecchia Signora’s fans have been.
All this to say that you could put the three teams on the podium in any order, depending on your personal preferences. But the European dimension still leaves me thinking that, for the time being, Allegri’s men are only in bronze medal position.
Lippi’s team were Champions League Final regulars, winning one and taking a European Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup. Across his decade, Trapattoni won all three continental crowns, plus a Super Cup and Intercontinental trophy.
You might well disagree and prefer them already but, in my view, only with a win over Real Madrid next month could you convincingly argue that Juventini have never had it so good.