Wednesday April 4 2018
Juve always short in Europe

Cristiano Ronaldo all but assured the holders’ progress to the semi-finals, but it was the manner of the defeat that was telling, writes Nick Valerio

When it comes to the Champions League, Juventus always fall short and that has turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more they falter at the key moments, the worse their confidence when approaching new hurdles. In a way, Juve in Europe reflect Napoli’s quest for the Scudetto.

Barring a second leg miracle at the Bernabeu, Gianluigi Buffon’s ambition to bow out with that elusive Champions League medal will go unfulfilled. It was going to take something special to beat the Italy legend on the night after conceding one measly Serie A effort in 2018 and, predictably, it was Juventus nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo who made the Bianconeri suffer again.

The Portugal captain has struck nine times against Max Allegri’s men, more than any other side in the tournament since his debut in 2002 for boyhood club Sporting CP. Ronaldo’s double on the night will quite rightly get the plaudits, particularly his astonishing overhead kick which drew a standing ovation from the Juventus tifosi, but it was the gulf in quality between the sides which really stood out.

Sami Khedira, for all his merits, was willingly sold in 2015 by Real, who upgraded their midfield with the signing of compatriot Toni Kroos. The ex-Bayern Munich playmaker has formed a telepathic partnership with Luka Modric, comparable to that of Xavi and Andres Iniesta in their pomp, and the duo toyed with Khedira and partner Rodrigo Bentancur.

The Uruguayan was visibly frustrated throughout, but with Claudio Marchisio seemingly out of favour, the options were limited and this only further magnified the need for reinforcements in defence and midfield in the summer.

Sure, Juventus had their moments, but overall were second best and looked a shadow of the side that has asserted its dominance over Serie A. In contrast, Madrid may be struggling on the home front, but they are a different animal on the continent and the hosts’ uncharacteristically slack defending was a welcome bonus for Zinedine Zidane’s history makers.

The Italian giants are quite rightly revered across Europe, but their inferiority complex when facing Los Blancos is often glaring. Buffon, a proud man himself, even alluded to this in his post-match comments and this feeling is comparable to that of Napoli domestically. The Azzurri make great strides every season, but are not quite there yet, and Juventus face similar obstacles themselves in Europe.

Of course, there are mitigating factors that led to the result and referee Cuneyt Cakır did not help Allegri’s game plan. The infamous Turk came to prominence in 2013 when he sent off Manchester United star Nani in the Last 16 encounter with Madrid. The Red Devils were dominating proceedings and held the advantage in the tie before Cakir controversially carded the winger. The spectacle was ruined once more when Paulo Dybala was given his marching orders before the hour mark and everything that could have gone wrong for Juventus, did.

Meanwhile, Madrid superstar Ronaldo continues to make a mockery of the doubters. The Portugal captain has 23 strikes this calendar year alone and is the first player in Champions League history to score in 10 consecutive matches. The 33-year-old was ruthless, so often the difference, and should go down as one of the game’s best ever goalscorers.

Have your say...
@rafel hahah ok lieutenant troll. Milan has 40 trophies and Juventus has 70 and inter has less than arsenal lolYou will die and your children will die and you will never be close to that quantity. You will always be hahahah 2nd or 3rd best in Italy . Hah ha haaaaaaa that’s me laughing on my way to the 7th trophy, or is it 10th or 11th either way not my team that has not won anything in yrs. so not my problem..
on the 14th April, 2018 at 4:41am
Stop bagging Khedira or any players!!!
Allegri got his tactics wrong for whatever reason.
Matuidi was bought due to the collapse in Cardiff and the necessity to play with 3 in the middle.
For my liking it Should only have been a christmas tree formation.
should have been 4-3-2-1
Lichtsteiner Barzagli Chiellini Sandro
Marchisio Matuidi Khedira
Dybala D Costa
on the 7th April, 2018 at 10:46am
I would rephrase this to read: "Serie A alwasy short in Europe..." Only two champions League titles in 15 years... and none in almost a decade...this was an embarrassment not for Juve or Roma, but for this once great league...

Serie A is dead. RIP.
on the 6th April, 2018 at 11:25am
@RafaelS1979: I not saying Milan are not respected of course they are, I like them even too, but look at any Italian teams recent history in Europe and its poor, cant qualify, out in group, out in 1st knock out, so what Juve did reaching some finals was good. But I just feel you over egged it to try and have a dig at Juventus, who yeah have a poor European record considering the number of finals. But JUve are respected too.
on the 5th April, 2018 at 8:45am
after the initial anger as a juve fan. u sit and rewatch the game and realize that juve played well in the attacking phase. dybala, costa, higuain did good work. definitely got let down by a washed up khedira and inexperienced of bentancur. it may seen impossible but I have seen madrid without ramos and they are shambles at the back. play a 4-3-3 with matuidi-marchisio-pjanic and mandzukic--higuain--costa upfront. if juve can get the 1st goal it could make things interesting.
on the 5th April, 2018 at 8:37am
After Ronaldo's first goal, Juve did well by attacking Madrid almost entire first half. But combination of lack clinical finish and good performance by Navas and Ramos let Juve down. From early second half, Juve were still pouring forward, then came that Chiellini's howler led to THAT Ronaldo's 'wow' goal. The game was practically over from this point, then worsen by Dybala's red card.

Juve need extra 'grinta' and miracle in Bernabeu if they want to go through. Forza Juve! Anything's possible!
on the 5th April, 2018 at 6:16am
The problem guys is obvious , it’s ALLEGRI !!! As long as we have him we will always be watching the games with the heart in our throats!!!! When will the time come for us to have a manager like Sarri , Guardiola , Pochettino etc.
on the 5th April, 2018 at 3:05am
2nd leg just simply play in back line Rugani instead of Barza and play Benatia please,Plus Marchisio and Matuidi should start for the love of everything and anything in the midfield.And just a little note 442 formation woulda worked if the right peeps were placed instead and shoulda went in with a 352 instead.Next year Caldara Spinazzola and hopefully Emre Can plus Darmian would add to this Squad and be more assertive too,And on an honourable mention Balotelli is free next year just SAYIN FOLKS.
on the 5th April, 2018 at 2:06am
@ARD Well said, you have summed up everything that I think about Juventus...
on the 4th April, 2018 at 11:53pm
Totally agree with comments of @Angel O'Zephyr & @Anonymous just after him.

As far as Second Leg is concerned Marchisio, Matuidi & Manzukic should start ...
on the 4th April, 2018 at 11:02pm
Juve fans are happy beating benevento, and winning the trash serie a. The champions league is where the real teams come out to play and Juventus are not one of them. A lot of the players need to be put in a senior home, they need to retire asap. I don't get why they were so nervous, so much for experience. Juve does not have a winning mentality. A winner would have improved their team from being humiliated last year, to reach the top, but Juve have regressed, because they dont care.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 9:34pm
Even Italian GIANTS Juventus can have a bad game or two............

So what?

Look at MEGA RICH man City.........
Plus Pep Guardiola....... great combination!
Yet 30 mins of fire by underdogs, and up and down Liverpool and a fantastic season is almost BURIED by an avalanche of 3 goals.......

So what?

They are still a current TOP SIDE and so is JUVENTUS !!!
on the 4th April, 2018 at 8:58pm
Mren against boys. Sadly Dybala and Higuain can’t cut it when it matters the most.

Both of them should be left at home this summer.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 8:18pm
Time for Juve to actually improve the squad. They need 2-3 of the best players out there. Give Lazio Sturaro and 80-90 mill and do everything possible to get Can for free. A right back with pace is needed too. Juve must pay 150 mill for three really good players and keep Dybala and Sandro.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 8:09pm
naivety always plays out in this side. juve should have attacked with all the had, especially considering the fact that that they are at home. why not start an energetic and hardworking matuidi in plce of bentacur and cuadrado in place of either sandro or asamoah. in this way they would have pressed madrid high up the pitch and would have gotten something to take to spain, but now the rest is history
on the 4th April, 2018 at 7:09pm
Lucky Madrid get all the breaks as usual... Just like Cardiff, a two goal deficit but still some hope for Juve then an inexplicable red card. Ronaldo gets all the plaudits, but his middle name must be 'fortunato'; he missed a penalty against Chelsea and won, injured against France and won, did nothing against Athletico and scored a glory penalty at the end. Fantastic player but very, very lucky.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 6:45pm
to lead to a yellow. Cannot believe some Juve fans on here complaining about refereeing decisions. The nerve! RM did not even have to get out of 2nd gear in the 1st half to keep Juve at bay. Despite requiring 3 or more goals in Madrid I see Allegri setting up his side with handbrakes on, not wanting to be beaten. He might be happy with 0-0 as would ZZ. Kudos to the fans that applauded CR7 very classy unlike the crybabies we have posting on here. Always so defensive
on the 4th April, 2018 at 6:40pm
Its not over till the fat lady sings. Its a huge task but the absence of Ramos does put a lil doubt. Nacho might not make it so itll be interesting to see who partners Varane. Sad to see Juve's back line look well past their sell by date. Don't like Khedira but I thought he gave 1 of his better performances in terms of drive. Dybala deserved his red as he dives too much and he was trying to win a penalty which is usually a yellow while a high foot intentional or not when it connects also tends
on the 4th April, 2018 at 6:34pm
@Anonymous Since you are a biased Juventus fan, you should go take a look at this page: and have a look of all the international titles Milan have won over the years. Milan is a well respected team all over Europe and the world as is Real Madrid, Barcelona and even Boca Juniors. But since you are an ignorant child it won't change a thing to argue with you. Birra Moretti trophies, Italian Cups, National supercups aren't important trophies...
on the 4th April, 2018 at 5:33pm
Juventus have reached nine European Cup/CL finals in every decade since the 1970's. They have only managed two wins out of nine, yet they have won many other International trophies and in 1985 became the first European team to win the UEFA, Cup Winners and European Cups. Juventus are a class act and have always managed to rebuild. It's time for a clean out of personnel but they will be this space!
on the 4th April, 2018 at 3:23pm
@Angel agreed. Also it was easier back in the day when the superstars were spread among teams from different leagues. Now they all play for madrid, bayern or barca. There are not many teams in the world right now that will beat real madrid in a cl knockout game or final. Everyone loses sometimes, Well except barca this yr so far lol but if madrid really want to and need to win a game they have the players to do so. Injuries and suspensions didnt help but that will also change with a better squad
on the 4th April, 2018 at 2:25pm
As far back as the late 90s, Juve (who at the time were with a world class team) have always fallen short in Europe, so many finals lost its a stigma for us. We don't have Milan or Inter's pedigree in Europe which is why all of Italy needs our Milan clubs back in the CL where they belong. This team however arent good enough, too many old has beens! Much like our Azzurri, Juve need to bring in a new generation e.g. how is Rugani still not our regular CB with Balzaghi as back up, its a joke!
on the 4th April, 2018 at 2:25pm
On a positive note tho, juve fans dont have to make 10 000 "Vero Triplete" shirts this year.

Before the final 2017 they cost 30 euro
Day after final: 3 euro!
on the 4th April, 2018 at 2:22pm
@ RafaelS1979
your European power house recent history since winning in 2007
2008-2017: 2nd round, UEFA cup 3rd round, 2nd Round, 2nd Round, Quarter-Final, 2nd Round, 2nd Round, not in, not in, not in.
Not great for a powerhouse. surely it should be constant appearances and reaching last 8. Juventus are still recovering form financial loss post calciopoli.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 1:30pm
There needs to be a cap on salary and transfer expenditure, then players would have to decide on a club that they were excited for, supported or believed in the project, then we would see competitive leagues and European cups, teams would have to offer something else other than money to attract players. as it stands except the odd fluke, the same teams will dominate all the time, and it is boring.tN2b
on the 4th April, 2018 at 1:12pm
I'd really like to know the difference in player payroll between these two teams. I'd guess one team spends more than twice what the other team does. I don't blame the victors for this; I blame UEFA. I'm my opinion without a salary cap the Champions League is not really a true league. Perhaps European clubs should be grouped into tiered tournaments based on their player payroll. I'd argue the same should happen in domestic leagues where a team's payrolls would need to be within a certain range.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 12:37pm
Who in their right mind would ever thought that Bentacur and Khedira would be able to match Kroos+Modric+Casemiro? not only they were outclassed ability-wise, they were outnumbered too. I don't understand what Allegri's problem is with Marchisio. Khedira must be one of the most overrated midfielders on Earth yet he's still starting every game for Juve. Not saying Marchisio would make Juve won but at least they won't be bullied in midfield.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 11:19am
when one looks at it c.league final 4-2-3-1

this game a 4-4-2 which is basically the same thing

vs a midfield trio kroos-casemeiro-modric. simply getting outworked like in the final. 2nd leg

on the 4th April, 2018 at 10:09am
unfortunately I don't think juve coaches understand u cant play your own game against teams like realmadrid and Barcelona. I understand why allegri played a 4-4-2 because dybala cant play on the wing of a 4-3-3. they really needed 3 in the middle. I remember inter winning the cleague parking the bus. would it have been wrong of juve to playing a 4-5-1. and get a draw and still b in the second leg. I just hopes he gives marchisio a chance over that flop khedira.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 9:29am
a powerhouse in Europe, then you add milan???????
Really??? Are Milan a current powerhouse in Europe, Maybe at one time Milan were, in the 90s was it, wake up, Italian teams are not powerhouse anywhere, the league is tired and weak, then you have the fact that teams like Napoli instead of going to win the Europa league, didn't bother, so Italian teams are a joke in Italy. I would love an Italian team to win in Europe either competition
on the 4th April, 2018 at 8:52am

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