Summer 2019 will mark Max Allegri’s fifth anniversary as Juventus Coach. That’s five years of fighting at the top of Serie A, trying to win the Champions League and dealing with superstar players and their superstar egos. Five years, a lot of trophies - and a lot of pressure too.
So it’s perhaps no surprise that the rumour mill is gathering pace and suggesting Allegri will leave Turin this summer, although a mooted switch to Inter would be out of the frying pan and into the fire. But five years at Juventus contains as much intrigue and incident as a lifetime at some clubs. He’ll leave with five Serie A titles - barring a disaster in the final 12 games - to go with the one he won for Milan in 2010-11. Only Giovanni Trapattoni has more. Juve have twice reached the Champions League Final under Allegri and, even though both were lost, it’s not as if the Old Lady have failed in Europe during his tenure either.
Always well-placed in the Champions League betting, the competition is almost a who’s who of candidates to succeed Allegri. Diego Simeone, mastermind of Juve’s Round of 16 opponents Atletico Madrid, would be a prime contender if not for his well-known Inter devotion and the lewd celebratory gesture when Jose Maria Gimenez scored in the first leg probably wouldn’t have helped either. If not Cholo, then who?
Reports this week from Italy describe Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as the ‘dream’ appointment for Juve - and practically every club around the world. It goes without saying that Guardiola would be desired by the Old Lady, but it hardly seems realistic. Getting Simeone to turn his back on the Nerazzurri might be easier than getting Guardiola out of his Etihad Stadium home, and that’s not likely to happen either.
Juve will have to determine the profile of Coach they want. Will they go down the route of a big-name boss who almost guarantees short-term success, possibly in the Champions League, at the expense of long-term stability - and the expense of a fat contract - or someone who can take on the project, work within the existing structure and leave the club in at least as good a position as he found it? Jose Mourinho might be an example of the former, Mauricio Pochettino an example of the latter.
There’s also the romantic choice, the notion of Zinedine Zidane returning to Turin, brandishing three Champions League winners’ medals from his time on the Real Madrid bench and finally delivering the trophy after not being able to as a player. Zidane walking away from Madrid after only two-and-a-half seasons suggests his could be a short-term appointment too, but his trophy haul - he also won La Liga and a smattering of other prizes - suggests it could be a successful one.
Whichever type of Coach Juve go for and whoever is tasked with continuing the period of success that stretches back beyond Allegri to Antonio Conte, they’ll inherit everything the 51-year-old has experienced. The pressure at the top can be just as great as at the bottom, as Allegri could no doubt attest.