Beppe Marotta, CEO and director general of Juventus, confirmed he was leaving the club yesterday after claiming that he was “no longer in sync with President Andrea Agnelli”. This news came as a shock around the world of Italian football, as the man who has overseen the Bianconeri’s seven consecutive titles took to live television to announce his departure. The news came as a surprise, even to Max Allegri, and the questions why did he leave and what will he do next are still up in the air.
Marotta has had a long career in football, he started as a director of youth development for his home town club Varese in 1978, before having spells at Monza, Como, Ravenna, Venezia and Atalanta, eventually finding himself at Sampdoria. Here, he and Walter Novellino managed to build a side that won promotion to Serie A and then almost qualify for the Champions League. After some clever transfer windows, the Genoese side eventually completed their goal and made it into Europe’s most prestigious competition in 2010. This turned the head of Juventus and the rest as they say is history.
History it turned out to be and it isn’t hyperbole to say that Juventus would not be the club they are today without him. In his first season he made some bold moves, 14 new faces would arrive like Milos Krasic, Fabio Quagliarella, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli, whilst he also bravely offloaded club favourite David Trezeguet and the failing star Diego. After a seventh-place finish in 2010-11, he announced that Coach Luigi Del Neri would not be returning and Antonio Conte would be taking his place.
This was the beginning of what has been a golden era in Juventus history, as title after title followed. Whilst Conte was establishing the Bianconeri as a force on the pitch, Marotta was doing his best off it to furnish the Coach with the right tools for the job.
This continued under Max Allegri and the Turin giants started to become the force they are today. What cannot be underestimated here is their ability to regenerate in this time. They have lost key players at the end of many seasons and whilst Allegri in particular can take credit for adapting on the field to deal with these problems, Marotta has to take credit for his dealings in the market to help regenerate.
When thinking of the players who were key to Juventus and then left, the list is a long one. Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Leonardo Bonucci (who returned this summer) and Gianluigi Buffon are just some of the players who Juventus have had to adapt to playing without. Even so, they have not missed a beat and the likes of a Gonzalo Higuain or a Miralem Pjanic always turned up to replace them. Pogba arrived on a free before being sold back to Manchester United for a monumental figure. This was commonplace in his dealings and the reinvestment was always wise, often taking key players from their rivals.
With all this success, it was no wonder that there were some shocked faces in Turin yesterday. The Corriere Della Sera published quotes from Marotta suggesting the decision was made by Juventus and not FIAT, showing that John Elkann was not behind the decision and pointed to ‘irreconcilable’ differences between himself and Agnelli.
Now the current director of sport Fabio Paratici is expected to take over the main transfer negotiations, whilst Marotta’s future is unclear. There had been rumours he was to become the new President of the FIGC but this was something that he quickly dismissed. He will certainly be in demand from many of Europe’s elite clubs with his superlative track record.
So, here ends one of Italian football’s great successes. There is no doubt that The Old Lady will continue to be successful and Marotta will also be able to continue his excellent work elsewhere, but it is sad to see the two depart, as the results (whether you love or loathe Juventus) were impressive.
The nagging question remains: just how different were the views of Agnelli and Marotta? Does this mean Juventus are planning on being even more ambitious after the purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo or have they over-stretched their finances with this massive buy? We probably won’t have to wait long to find out.