BLOG ITALIA
Tuesday February 27 2018
The Old Lady expects

Max Allegri may be at pains to say otherwise, but Gaby McKay feels Juventus and their fans do expect the Champions League this year.

It was a cold Sunday afternoon in Turin, as Juventus visited Torino for the Derby della Mole.

Prior to kick-off, the visiting Bianconeri fans unveiled a huge banner, a figure clad in black and white stripes, tricolore affixed to his chest, and the legend “champions win, losers complain”. Amid the deafening whistles at the Stadio Grande Torino, the Granata fans unveiled their riposte, holding up inflatable models of the Champions League trophy.

“You may win in Italy,” was the message “but you can’t seem to get your hands on this one”. Aside from the ‘Ladri’ slurs and the Calciopoli jokes, it’s the final stick with which opposition fans can beat the Old Lady, whose glorious Italian pedigree has long been unmatched on the continental stage.

Domestically, this is inarguably one of the greatest Juve teams of all time - six consecutive Scudetti and three Coppe Italia on the spin are testament to that. But until they lift the cup with the big ears, there will always - rightly or wrongly - be one big caveat hanging over their achievements, and the fans know it.

It’s strange then, for those same fans to constantly hear Coach Massimiliano Allegri declaring that they cannot expect success in the competition.

“Juve play to win, but they are not the favourites,” the Tuscan said after the draw with Tottenham Hotspur. “You can’t reach the Final every year. The primary objective is the Scudetto: that is nothing to be sniffed at and is not easy. Then we’ll try to go forward in the Champions League.”

On the one hand, of course, the Coach is absolutely right. The Bianconeri may have by far the biggest revenue in Italy, but they’re a long way behind Europe’s other heavyweights. It’s also true that reaching two finals in three years is an extraordinary achievement, and one not easy to replicate.

This is Juventus though, the club where “winning isn’t important, it’s the only thing that matters” and in some respects winning the Champions League is the only thing that matters now.

All of this summer’s signings, from Blaise Matuidi to Douglas Costa, made it clear that they had arrived to help the Turin club to lift the Champions League. Gianluigi Buffon has admitted that his career might not have gone on for as long as it has had be not been motivated by the hunt for his white whale, while President Andrea Agnelli’s obsession with that particular trophy is legendary. Allegri’s attempts to play down its importance are understandable, but entirely futile.

This is not to dismiss the Old Lady’s domestic achievements, which will remain in the history books long after the current winning cycle has come to an end. Questions can be asked about the strength of the opposition before this season, but you can only beat what’s in front of you and Juve’s dominance has been unprecedented.

Those two Champions League finals, achieved by beating the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Real Madrid on the way prove that the Bianconeri aren’t simply flat track bullies either. Make no mistake though, elimination by Tottenham would be seen as a disaster, despite the myriad merits of the English side.

If this Juventus team never wins the Champions League, it won’t mean they’re not a great side, indeed historically so. It won’t make Max Allegri a failure as a Coach, and it won’t diminish Gianluigi Buffon’s achievements. But to suggest the Old Lady shouldn’t expect it, yearn for it, is folly.

Napoli have made it abundantly clear that their focus this season is recapturing the Scudetto they haven’t won since 1990. Juventus would do well to be as honest about their Champions League ambitions.

Have your say...
@Paolo - so true, you have to be playing EL football and domestically chase EL spots for the last 10 years to be considered elite in Europe. Playing in 2 measly CL finals in last 3 years puts you in the same hat as Nottingham Forest basically.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 1:53pm
The Real Problem is the Clown himself, Allegri. Conte would've won it had he stayed.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 1:51pm
Juve's problems in finally winning a European Trophy, let ALONE the CL has to be MENTAL! I can't really see any other reason why they would have lost 5 European Cup finals in a ROW! Juve fans may point to their "bad luck", e.g.Offside goal versus Madrid in 98,non penalty call versus Barca in 2015,Conte hitting the post in 2003 etc....but the FACT is that in 9 European Cup finals, Juve have ONLY scored 5 goals,which frankly is PATHETIC!Juve just seem to freeze in the big game outside of Italy!
on the 27th February, 2018 at 1:50pm
Nonsense article as a Juve fan I am realistic enough to know that we do not have the budget to "expect" to win the Champions League. Teams with more cash e.g. Man City, PSG and Bayern have got nowhere near it recently. Juve have been incredible in Europe, if it truly was an obsession for Agnelli why would he make at least one major sale per season? The objective is clear, aim for the Scudetto and go as far in Europe as possible without breaking the bank.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 1:50pm
Thanks but no thanks Gaby !!!

FAKE NEWS

We have a fantastic HISTORY cheers !!!
on the 27th February, 2018 at 1:35pm
MAMMA MIA !!!

FINALISTS 2 TIMES IN THE LAST 3 SEASONS !!!

ABSOLUTELY AND TOTALLY PART OF THE ELITE IN EUROPE !!!

TOP EFFORT!

NOI SIAMO LA JUVENTUS
one and only Italian team in the CL with a chance of winning it !!!
on the 27th February, 2018 at 1:33pm
The real problem for Juve is the mentality in Europe. Players crumble. They dont want to acknowledge it, but the pressure of winning CL is too much for the players to handle.

This summer will be 22 years since Juve won a european title. You cant be considered elite in Europe when you havent won for so long time.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 1:01pm
Who are you kidding Gaby?

Yeah...............
Pull the other one, will ya?

No way under the sun that Juventus is EXPECTED by anyone to win the CL.

It'd be outlandish and arrogant.

Of course we are one of the TOP SIDES in the CL, with a "medium" realistic chance of winning it in the last 5 or 6 seasons, but there are other great Clubs, like us that have an equal chance of winning it. Very few have better chances of doing so. Some Clubs will be eliminated early.
FORZA JUVENTUS !
VIVA THE 7th !
on the 27th February, 2018 at 12:16pm
As of now we can only do what we are doing and trying our best in all competitions although imo we need more guts going forward in the UCL. but if we get passed totenham then i think its time to properly focus on the UCL.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 12:11pm
very true. If it's all a lie to temper our expectations stop it and if it's true that the scudetto is our main objective that's also stupid. The only problem is right now it's true that both are equally important to us i imagine as wining 7 in a row will most likely never be achieved again and at the same time the UCL is something we all desperately want.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 12:10pm
If these injuries continue ill be content with even 1 of the 3 trophies we are playing for. Also to my knowledge and surprisingly not yours, we do not expect to win the cl.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 12:09pm
I feel sorry for the fools that dish out enormous amounts of cash to watch Juve live in the CL. Better to stay at home and do some DIY.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 11:42am
Agnelli knows too well that his tenure at Juve will be measured by success in the CL. Aiming for the last 8 on a yearly basis is a sound approach - sooner or later they will win it. But not this year.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 11:40am
Only teams like Inter and AC Milan can claim to be blasé enough to ignore the league and gamble for the coveted CL. Organisationally, they are laughable compared to Juventus - their finances are a strong indicator of this
on the 27th February, 2018 at 11:38am
What are you talking about? Allegri, like the rest of Juventus, clearly have a pragmatic approach that acknowledges the difficulties of winning the CL for any club that is outside the 4-6 clubs with unrivalled spending power. Aiming for the scudetto makes perfect sense, as there are 38 games to prove one's consistency. The CL has fewer games and is something of a lottery for non-elite clubs by comparison to domestic leagues.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 11:36am
Their chances of going through are probably around 35%.

Away goals are huge in knockouts, and Juve will probably have to at least match Spurs' 2 to have any hope.

They were given less of a chance v Bayern in '16 and steamrolled the Germans on the break for 70min. That was until Allegri's usual fear came into it and he took off Morata - who Bayern couldn't handle at all.

It's a huge effort, but they have hope if they're brave - it is Spurs after all, not some of the top teams they've beaten
on the 27th February, 2018 at 11:22am
yeah. keep dreaming.
on the 27th February, 2018 at 11:17am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.