Tuesday March 12 2019
Who does Allegri think he's kidding?

Max Allegri and Juventus fans can’t possibly believe crashing out of the Champions League Round of 16 wouldn’t be “a failure,” notes Jay Cassano.

“If Juventus go out, it won’t be a failure.”

With all due respect to Massimiliano Allegri, he was wrong when he spoke those words. And he knows it. Everyone knows it.

Juventus has been on an incredible domestic run, on the road to what is an all but mathematically certain eighth consecutive Scudetto. A run that included a streak of four domestic doubles from 2014 to 2018.

But despite that incredible success in Italy, a Champions League trophy has evaded the club. And the fans are desperate for it. The problem for Juventus is that their domestic success coincided with the emergence of a Real Madrid behemoth that won four of the last five editions of the Champions League. Juventus fell once to that Real Madrid side in the Final and then again in the quarter-finals.

Now Juventus are on the brink of being eliminated in the Round of 16 by Real’s city rivals, Atletico Madrid. After going down 2-0 in the first leg, the current odds suggest Juve will struggle to overturn the deficit against a team that, like them, rarely concedes goals. (Juventus and Atletico Madrid have the stingiest defences in their respective leagues, both leaking a mere 17 goals in 27 games played.)

The reason that not getting past this round will be viewed as a failure can be summed up in one word: Ronaldo. There was no secret that when Juventus splashed €100m to sign Cristiano Ronaldo it was to help them get over that last hurdle to win European glory.

The fact is, the Bianconeri did not need to buy Ronaldo to win Serie A this year. Napoli are in a rebuilding year with a new Coach and the departure of their longtime captain. The Milanese clubs’ new projects are just starting to find their footing. Roma are in disarray and lack identity. Ronaldo was signed for a single purpose as far as supporters are concerned: to win the Champions League.

The problem is, Ronaldo is not getting any younger. By the end of his contract with Juve, he’ll be 38. A player of his historic quality surely has another year or two at the top of the game, but I’m not convinced we’ll be seeing Ronaldo banging in scorchers when he nears 40. Fabio Quagliarella may be showing that even a player closer to 40 than 30 can top the Serie A goalscoring charts, but whether Ronaldo, whose game relies so much on physical superiority, can do the same is an open question. If CR7 was brought in to win the Champions League, then surely the time is this year or maybe, at the latest, next year.

Furthermore, it’s not just Ronaldo. The vaunted BBC back line that was the bedrock of the Old Lady’s dominance are themselves, well, old. Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli are all the wrong side of 30. So too are Blaise Matuidi and Mario Mandzukic, whose contract was just renewed. Talk of bringing in Marcelo, who will soon be 31 and was dropped to the bench for Madrid’s loss to Ajax, only further betrays Juve’s desperation to win — and win now — despite whatever Allegri may say.

Perhaps most revealing though, was to swap Mattia Caldara to reclaim Bonucci from Milan. Nothing else so succinctly sums up the club’s current strategy of acquiring players who can win now, rather than plan for the future.

All these players of course have immense quality and still have much to contribute. But Juventus are clearly reaching the end of an era. Gigi Buffon’s departure was just the herald of that fact. Soon it will be Barzagli and Chiellini. Then Matuidi and Mandzukic. Of course, the Agnelli family has the funds to replenish the squad with new talent. The black and white shirt will always be alluring to top players. But by the time we are talking about a squad refresh, it will mean that this current gambit centered on Ronaldo did not pan out.

In absolute terms, there is no shame in losing to Atletico Madrid, one of the best teams in Europe. After all, two of those four Champions League victories Real Madrid achieved were over Atleti in the Final. But moreover, Atletico is a team that, in these post-Alex Ferguson and post-Arsene Wenger days, is as synonymous with a Coach and his philosophy as any club can be.

But of course, football isn’t a rational affair. And the most vocal fans will not be persuaded by such calm, cold thinking.

If the Bianconeri do indeed get knocked out, what they will rue most is the sense that this year was their chance, the opening they had waited so long for. Real Madrid’s era is finally at an end. Supposed favorites like PSG have been knocked out. Manchester City and Liverpool are over-extended in a competitive domestic title race. Bayern Munich look a shell of their past superstar-laden teams. In other words: The Champions League title is up for grabs.

This could be the perfect year for Juventus. The year that their era just barely outlasts Real’s to steal their crown. Will the Old Lady deliver the comeback? Will the fans get the trophy they’ve coveted for more than two decades? And can Ronaldo accomplish what he was brought to Turin to do?

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports.

Have your say...
@ Juulesy

Say what you like but the fact is still there: Juventus this season is struggling to perform attacking football because the midfielders are still adapting. Give them some time and you will see the real Juventus. The funny thing is other than Ronaldo's arrival, Allegri is forced to change some of his plans due to Khedira's injury. Yup! The man who always despised by majority of Juve fans. Like it or not, he has been one of Allegri's focal points for years.
on the 14th March, 2019 at 6:55am
@ Giancarlo C's Mom Adapting to systems and having personnel that complement each other with their strengths to make a strong, cohesive unit are two different things.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 5:44pm
I'm a Juve fan and happy for the win but did you guys read the article? Read the first damn line. Most of the article has nothing to do with Juve winning or not, it is about whether going out mattered or not as Allegri implied it didn't amount to failure. I made a comment yesterday stating that going out was a complete and utter failure, that view does not change today, going out in the quarters is a failure. Not winning the CL is a failure. The article is largely correct.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 11:23am
What tosh this ranting has proven be after last evenings amazing performance.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 9:09am
Even Bernardeschi did well... Have to say, great result and performance. Allegri out together a big game plan and the players stepped up.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 7:34am
I wanted to believe in the come back and the Juve videos made me worried about a great disappointment, but thank the team they won it and did a extraordinary job!!

When the coach say that he doesn't think losing this match and out of CL is a failure, he meant to play down the pressure from the players.

Everyone knows that we are trying to win the CL.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 4:29am
@ Juulesy

Seriously? I'm amazed by your ignorance. Can't you see all Juve's midfielders are all in adapting process to a new system?

Wow! (SMH)
on the 13th March, 2019 at 2:50am
Allegri has proved me and all the haters wrong. Ive followed Juve for over 40 years and despite all their recent success have not enjoyed Allegri’s Mostly negative style. Tonight we saw a rejuvenated Juve side which Wes collectively focussed and detertimined and pressed high up the pitch which was focussed on attacking whilst staying strong at the back this is the Juve we want to see week in week out as opposed to a Juve romping away with the league playing at 60 percent of its capability.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 1:14am
Easy to criticise the author on retrospect. But despite tonight's outcome us fans need to face facts. The club have singularly failed to address the midfield imbalance. That Monica Bellucci comment still remains valid. There is undeniably an identity issue and it cannot be ignored. Think about what Juventus as a club stand for: an uncompromising yet attacking brand of football with talented young Italians at the heart of it. Tonight was definitely filled with more positives though
on the 13th March, 2019 at 1:05am

on the 13th March, 2019 at 12:42am
"Who does Allegri think he's kidding?"
He's not kidding anyone, he's telling the truth.He's a bit upset but there's nothing wrong with the words.Football is just a tactical-physical game.You can win or lose.Today your tactic works and you win, but next day it might not and you lose.But of course, childish fans don't understand this kind of thing.Chewing chips, just watching (not observing) the games and calling a pro like Allegri as an idiot is so much easier than learning football properly.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 12:29am
you probably feel like the actual mug that you are, now.. don't you?
on the 12th March, 2019 at 11:37pm
Well it turns out Allegri knows more than Football Italian commenters who dismiss him. WHAT. A GAME!

Fino alla fine!!!!
on the 12th March, 2019 at 11:20pm
Hard to believe Allegri said that, but he's probably taking the pressure of his team. Juve unfortunately seem to be at the end of a cycle. The defense needs renewing midfield big improvement. For those worrying Ronaldo will go back to Real, it isn't happening. Ronaldo is past his prime, there is no going back. Real is going to rebuild not bringing back an old man. The champions league isn't happening for another 20 years.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 8:26pm
@Lino, dont waste your time here buddy lol this is the worse blog if your looking for answers to those questions you jus asked. Besides some of the so called fans here being overly biased, guess what, some of the writers are as well hahahah truth is most likely you wont get a response believe me i have asked those same questions here for years. Its either the same irrelevant responses or no response. Obviously you are smarter than the average ppl here, or at least have common sense.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 7:40pm
ciao amici!
please have a little bit fate in juve!
I think the article is a bit unfair juve still have a
great chance !history shows any CL finalgame Ronaldo plays is a winning one!
Mandzukic is one of the best in the world so please don't discount him!
I just hope UEFA be fair to us!
on the 12th March, 2019 at 6:58pm
Further questions for AG, and all those who think like him...

IF the Fiat ownership group, yes ITALIAN owners already had the league won, then why wouldn't they take their 110M and spend it elsewhere?

Oh, and lastly (for now) how many UCL finals has Juve been to? So they have enough money to buy the referees in the group stage, the round of 16, the quarter-final, the semi-final, but (sadly) run out of money to win the final?

Is that really the argument you are going with???
on the 12th March, 2019 at 6:08pm
Careful AG.... your Black and Blue is showing.

Did you even read the article, or would that require more of an attention span that a child can muster up? If you did, you would realize that the author is on point.

Also, I have a question that I wish could be answered by the deficient masses... If JUVE (yes, that's the way it is spelled) had a 12th man, if they already knew they were going to win, then why would they spend the money to buy the players?
on the 12th March, 2019 at 6:03pm
Hope Juve pull off the miracle they nearly pulled off last year in Madrid. If not then we need to focus our market efforts on reinforcing our midfield and maybe buying a slightly younger CB. Bonucci hasn't been the same player since the 2016 Euros. Then one more huge push for the CL, which will hopefully end in victory followed by a few years of rebuilding. Hopefully during this time some other teams will have a chance at winning Serie A to reinvigorate the league.

Forza Juve
on the 12th March, 2019 at 2:10pm
I am amazed by how many people stop loving Juventus and got on the CR7 train... The fact is that every BAD journalist just talks about Ronaldo now, and the reality is that you cannot ask for a person to save your squad, he needs time to adapt, even when we consider him unhuman, he is rather the opposite, a human being. And his force is only showing due to the excellente of everyone around ronaldo now that everyone keeps forgetting.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 1:53pm

They have won 8 domestic titles and haven't won in europe for over 20 years! Does that not say it all.

A club with the mighty Fiat group backing them = TOTAL UNDERACHEIVERS IN EUROPE.

In Italy they are they have a 12th man in every important game hence why they have one so much in Italy.

Cheaters never prosper and KARMA has hit them again this year just when it mattered most to them with CR7 - FORZA ATLETICO!
on the 12th March, 2019 at 1:00pm
I can only think that for some reason he is trying to take pressure off the squad by making those comments but I doubt that would help. Take it from a Juve fan, going out in the round of 16 will be without a doubt a complete and utter failure. Anyone can win Serie A with this squad, it is built to win the CL and though I would accept a Final defeat or perhaps even semi-finals, going out tomorrow morning is unacceptable and Allegri should be fired within hours of defeat.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 12:47pm
Ronaldo was the wrong buy for this club. They need to buy the refs. Why aren't the people in charge of purchases understanding this???
on the 12th March, 2019 at 12:41pm
I except a lose if you Allegri insists on 4-3-3 (can pjanic matudi and Mandzukic upfront along with Berna. This team can't score Atleti even for 900 mins. I prefer even Kean over Mandzu who is sharp strong and quick.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 12:22pm
Allegri's team doesn't offer anything of the modern football needs. You have to be really fast and have gifted players if you want to score against Madrid. But I opts for Mandzu to the rest. Dybala, Costa and Ronaldo should have been untouchables along with berna but now those players looks out of shape bc regular plays never gives them (Expect Ronaldo).3 defensive mids too much. Pjanic could've taken more balanced role between lines. De sciglio is only joke to me never gets juve quailty!
on the 12th March, 2019 at 12:20pm
De Ligt, Savic and Isco and we can win CL.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 12:10pm
Ronaldo was a PR move, in RM he had an excellent midfield behind him, now he has Pjanic... buying Ronaldo meant selling Higuain, which at the end meant giving away Caldara for old Bonucci who wanted out of ACM. Only thing that Juve got with Ronaldo is improved brand on market, so winning only SerieA this year, is not so bad.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 11:27am
I'm tired of this nonsense peddled to us by Agnelli. If he really wanted to win the CL, he'd have persuaded Zidane immediately along with CR7, instead of continuing with a moron coach like Allegri.

You could give Allegri a beauty like Monica Bellucci and he'll turn her into a nun. Zidane knows how to make even Irina Shayk the hottest model in the world.

This mockery of Juventus has to stop, and it starts with uprooting the BS manager. Enough is Enough!!!!
on the 12th March, 2019 at 11:09am
Of course it'd be a failure.

And his negative mindset in the first leg will be one of the main reasons for it if they do go out.

Great teams look to dominate, but Allegri tries to hide out during a game and see what he can get away with rather than forcing the issue.

It's a pity Zidane has taken the RM job

Time for Allegri to lose his fear and go all-out for the win today.

But if they do level it up at 2-2, don't be surprised to seem him revert to type and try and hold on for ET or penos
on the 12th March, 2019 at 10:54am
I had my money on Juventus this year but now, really doubt it. Football is unpredictable but Atletico Madrid are possibly the last team you can mount a comeback against.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 10:50am

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