Monday December 30 2019
The Decade of Juventus

As the decade comes to a close, there is only one club that dominated Serie A. Emmet Gates looks at how Juventus went from flops to eight-in-a-row Scudetto winners.

When looking back over the recent history of calcio, at which teams represented a decade best, you could, reasonably, assign it as follows: the 1980s could be shared between Juventus and Napoli, the 1990s viewed through the prism of Juve and Milan, the ‘00s belonged to Inter, and to a lesser extent the Rossoneri. The 2010s, well, there’s no argument.

And as the decade lives out its final days, it stands as an anomaly; one of the few in which one side, rather than several, best encapsulated it. No team since the mythical Grande Torino side of the late 1940s has dominated Italian football to the degree which The Old Lady have run roughshod over the opposition in the last decade. Juve’s dominance is startling, considering the position they found themselves in at the beginning of the 2010s.

What makes Juve’s supremacy all the more remarkable is that this wasn’t due to an injection of oligarch money, or through a nation state benefactor. Their approach was rather mundane by today’s standards; a cohesive plan, shrewd signings, and above all, the right choice of coach.

Juve found themselves circling the bowl of long-term mediocrity at the beginning of the decade. They’d struggled to mount a genuine title challenge in the immediate post-Calciopoli years, relying heavily on the weary legs of stalwarts Alessandro Del Piero, Pavel Nedved and David Trezeguet, all of whom were in their mid-30s.

There was a lack of footballing nous in the upper echelons of the club. President Jean-Claude Blanc and director of sport Alessio Secco committed one horrendous mistake after the other (rejecting Xabi Alonso for Christian Poulsen, paying €25m for Felipe Melo, anyone?) as an Italian institution morphed into a withering shell of its former self.

A glance at the starting XI for the first game of the decade against Parma on January 6, 2010 reinforces this: Manninger; Caceres, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Grosso; Salihamidzic, Felipe Melo, Poulsen, Marchisio; Diego, Trezeguet. 

The above is a collective mix of players well past the peak of their powers (Grosso, Salihamidzic, Trezeguet) and players who never fulfilled their initial promise (Caceres, Melo, Diego). What you see there is a bewildering hodgepodge of mediocrity.

One of three pivotal moments came that following summer, when an Agnelli returned to retake the black and white throne. Andrea, nephew of the legendary Gianni Agnelli, was elected President of the club by cousin John Elkann. It was here that the dynamics of Serie A would shift.

Agnelli was appalled at what The Old Lady had become, a club that in the post-Calciopoli landscape wanted to be more liked than feared. The ruthlessness that had defined the club for decades had been erased in an effort to remove the stain of the Luciano Moggi era.

Agnelli went about rectifying the mistakes. Out went the hapless Secco for Sampdoria’s director of sport Beppe Marotta, and Blanc was moved into a different position within the club. Out went Alberto Zaccheroni, and in came Gigi Delneri.

It would be a lie to say that everything was plain sailing from here. Another seventh-placed finish in Serie A marked the end of Delneri’s short stint in Turin. The second and third pillars of success arrived within several months of each other in mid-2011.

Antonio Conte walked through the doors of the club, like Agnelli, determined to make Juve hated once again. “You’ve sucked for two years,” Claudio Marchisio recalls one of Conte’s first speeches. “You’ve finished seventh twice, so here you either have to work hard, or leave.” Perhaps nobody epitomised that old Juventus pre-Calciopoli work ethic that had been lost quite like the Lecce native.

The third key event was the opening of the Juventus Stadium in September 2011. Juventus had shrewdly bought the much-loathed Stadio delle Alpi from the Turin council in the summer of 2003 for an estimated €25m, with the idea to tear it down and build a more modern arena. This being Italy of course, bureaucracy and a scandal or two delayed the project, but finally the stadium was built and ready for the beginning of the 2011-12 season.

The club’s match day revenue rocketed, from €11.6m at the end of the 2010-11 season to €31.6m a year later. The new arena was everything the Delle Alpi wasn’t: smaller, modern, more rambunctious, and most importantly, intimate, with fans no longer separated by the obligatory athletics track. The atmosphere was electric.

Not only did Conte secure the Scudetto in his first season, Juve did it unbeaten, the first side to complete an invincible season since Fabio Capello’s fearsome Milan side of the early 1990s.

Crucially, just as Conte was getting Juve purring, Inter and Milan were beginning their own descent towards mediocrity and dysfunction. Massimo Moratti and Silvio Berlusconi, who single-handedly bankrolled their clubs for so long, effectively turned off the taps. The dynamics of the game were changing, and both owners could no longer justify ploughing their own money into what was perceived as vanity projects.

It was this power vacuum at the top of the Italian summit that the power axis of Agnelli, Marotta and Conte thrust Juve into. The path was clear for domination.

And domination did follow; a further two titles under Conte (with the last points tally in triple digits) and four with his successor Max Allegri ensured The Old Lady would make the decade their own. Of the 30 trophies available throughout the decade in Italian football, Juve gobbled up more than half, with 16. Not to mention four consecutive domestic doubles. Unparalleled numbers.

Not only did the trophy cabinet swell, so too did revenue. At their lowest ebb, the club’s revenue was €154m in 2010-11, by the end of the decade it had ballooned to €621m. The coronation of this success was the purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2018.

It had become more than clear that Juve had outgrown Serie A. Agnelli no longer compared the club to the Milanese duo, but to European heavyweights Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and the Premier League. Juve’s revenue was beginning to plateau, and Agnelli knew it.

The signing of arguably the world’s most marketable football player changed everything. Juve’s metrics in every category exploded, their social media numbers increased exponentially, 4.7m followers were gained within 24 hours of the signing being announced, and now are the third most-followed club in the world. Juve’s sponsorship deal with Adidas was renegotiated in the months following Ronaldo’s arrival, jumping from €23m per season to €51m.

Juve now rake in €100m alone in sponsorship deals, with their €46m deal with Fiat-owned Jeep worth more than Milan, Inter, Roma and Napoli’s combined. The transformation has been remarkable, and rapid.

As this decade comes to a close, only Inter seem in a position to represent a challenge in the next. Backed by Chinese conglomerate Suning, and with two-thirds of the old Juve hierarchy in Conte and Marotta now at the club, the Nerazzurri go into the winter break joint-top of the table.

Yet no matter what happens in the succeeding years, the 2010s will always be the decade of black and white. The resurgence of a powerhouse. A dynasty resurrected. The decade of Juventus.

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Have your say...
@Anon 3rd January, 2020 at 2:38pm

International trophies are much more important than national ones. Trophies have to be weighed, otherwhise Benfica (Who also won 37 scudetti and 2 champions league) would ne a gretteria team than A.C Milan.

It’a international success that defines the greatness of a club.
on the 27th February, 2020 at 5:27pm
This club is beloved worldwide with fans everywhere, in Italy and the world.
Italians can be truly proud if this team because thet have an unmatched history of winning and dedication to Italian football. They are a comprehensive modern team who have embraced modern sports marketing while the rest of Serie A play catch up. The money flows to Juve because they spend it on the team to compete, Bless them for thier success, they have brought pride to all Italians everywhere.
on the 3rd January, 2020 at 4:19pm
Hahahah whatever Kid, you are clearly not good at very simple math and apparently comprehension. Also you are bringing up topics that are only relevant to you in your own little world. Remember not to celebrate when one of your teams win the serie A title as it’s not important lol. Take a look at juve cabinet and wish for those trophies. Only way your ever going to see one again. The one thing we all have in common is all the trophies are in the past. Except juve won For the past 8 years lolol.
on the 3rd January, 2020 at 3:38pm
Anon 11:18 this article is rubbish other then juve being good domestically they have not won a significant title since1996. Only 2 CL in history of CL so what r u saying. Milan having its problems because that show teams work they r not great forever. To tout juve as a dynasty is a joke and juve of today are worse the ever with a crybaby like Ronaldo won't help either. So do your homework, on top of that Inter have been more sucessful with continental cups then juve.domestically it's a sham.
on the 3rd January, 2020 at 2:52am
Anon 9:18 pm

Oh great, now football Italia are allowing people that don’t even know how to count to post lol. Kid, Milan have been relegated before for match fixing. 2 juve have almost 30 more trophies than Milan so that’s even more laughable. 3 Milan has not one an important title in almost 10 years. Keep telling yourself stories, they may become true one day. Hahahahah hahahahaha.
on the 2nd January, 2020 at 12:23pm
An amazing decade for Juve. Hats off to the best managed team in Italy. For Inter tifosi it is very encouraging to see some of the no-nonsense business acumen being brought to our team. Hopefully Suning can have success on the stadium front, as this is critical. More teams following Juve's business model will only be better for Serie A long term. I may not like them on the pitch but this Juve are not Moggi's corrupt band of bullies and are a model for calcio.
on the 1st January, 2020 at 12:11am
Juve hardly a dynasty if u want to write a success story then it be Milan. Milan trophy cabinet far superior then juve ever dream off. Milan is in decline but you cannot call this franchise a dynasty. Maybe in serie A, I'll give you that but hardly a European Goliath. If anything juve is the deterioration of serie A with its corruption and also the corruption of politics through its many subsidiaries and plundering of Italy's southern region. Holding country hostage for tax breaks,etc.
on the 31st December, 2019 at 10:18pm
The Italian NT 2006 had 5 juventini out of 23 that's more like 20% give or take, get your facts right.
on the 31st December, 2019 at 10:05pm
respect indeed to Juventus.

Roma, on the other hand, are just winding me up and because of the Stadium issue. BUILD IT!
Roma have a great brand and a great potential. Palotta is off (apparently due to frustration with the stadium - who can blame him?)
It is so annoying to read about the endless delays and procrastination.
In order to drag the whole league up a level it needs new stadiums.
on the 31st December, 2019 at 5:08pm
It is a bit of a shame, because Juventus would still dominate Calcio WITHOUT help from referees.

Best example is the 2012 Muntari ghost goal. Had it been allowed would Juve still win the Scudetto. Just to point out one example.

IDEA. Referees are allocated only 24/48 hours in advance for each match, and for high-risk matches why not swop referees with Spain?

Happy New Year to all Calcio fans
on the 31st December, 2019 at 1:31pm
I have no favourite in Italy, but love the country for many reasons, including calcio.

Juventus is beyond any reasonable doubt the best managed club in Italy, and even among the best managed in Europe. Cudos to Juventus.

However. I have no doubt that Juventus get help from referees in Seria A. There are simply too many (match deciding) decisions in Juves favour to be coincidentally. Whether the referees help Juventus on purpose and whether Juventus are actively involved, I dont know.

on the 31st December, 2019 at 1:27pm
@FERBAN,, For juve they have to dig in you know. Maybe third choice or fourth choice as Griezman will cost way to high as he is a 26 year old. Lmfao.....
on the 31st December, 2019 at 11:07am
Great article, and 100% true. Sadly, though, the Champions League has not followed. And there is serious doubt on Paratici and most of all, Sarri, who I do not believe to be a big team coach. The midfield choices at present are deplorable. But let's focus on the point of the article - the last decade. And it is right on point. We must just take that next step now into Europe.
on the 31st December, 2019 at 9:58am
Now that Farcical Fair Play (introduced by corrupt Juventi Platini) is no longer having the desired impact, one has to wonder what other method Juventus will come up with in the coming decade to hamstring the opposition in Italy (of course it does not work in Europe). Limiting the input of foreign owners perhaps?
on the 31st December, 2019 at 6:11am
I think the football world outside of Italy has under-appreciated what Juventus has achieved over the last 10 years. If any of the other big European clubs had the same trajectory over 10 years, they would be lauding them.
As a Juve fan I am immensely proud of Juve's success. The only black mark for me is the lack of Italian players in the squad. I think the club needs to get back to being predominantly Italian - this would also help the Italian national team.
on the 31st December, 2019 at 5:36am
"the ‘00s belonged to Inter, and to a lesser extent the Rossoneri"

Considering Roma won 1 Scudetto with Juventus, Milan and other top teams, and an Italian NT with 75% Juventini won the 4th World Cup...

You can only remember Inter? Or is the cardboard-Scudetto awarded to Inter worth more to this writer?

Poor article.
on the 31st December, 2019 at 3:21am

Martial and Pogba? Those 2 have to be two of the biggest wasters in modern football. Juve need serious players to stay at the top, not two sulking clowns.

Neymar is a cartoon character, and Griezmann is good but not great.

Mbappe would be the ultimate signing, but very hard for Juve to get.

They are, though, the only Serie A side who would have a hope in hell of getting him.
on the 31st December, 2019 at 12:21am
well done Emmet - well researched with more than a few turns of phrase to elevate it above the quotidian editorial
on the 30th December, 2019 at 10:11pm
A new stadium and the Agnelli family with 15-16 billions are the two main reasons.
I hope:
Fiorentina build a new 40.000 seater stadium.
Lazio, Roma and Napoli build a new 50.000 seater stadium.
Inter and Milan build a new 60.000 seater stadium.
That way The Seven Sisters would all have a chance to fight for a CL spot and Juventus would not win another eight titles.
As a Juventus fan I wish Juventus win most, but not all, titles.
on the 30th December, 2019 at 8:46pm
i hate to admit it they are clearly the best club in italy they have the best scouting system and a clear financial plan plus most importantly they have owners who are rich enough to run juve and care enough about the team.

there has really been no serious competition roma over the last decade has replicated the previous bar a scudetto second at best. napoli had 2 real chances to win the scudetto both times ADL was incapable of signings the players the club needed. no real surprise to be honest
on the 30th December, 2019 at 8:38pm
It's amazing what Juve have accomplished this last decade both on the field and business wise.
on the 30th December, 2019 at 6:32pm
Very well written and a pleasure to read. A truly remarkable decade for Juventus, on and off the pitch. It’s good to see Inter starting a similar trajectory. Italian football needs more than one club in the global elite.
on the 30th December, 2019 at 4:57pm
Bar M'bappe bar Neymar or Griezman they need at least Martial and Pogba back as a long-last heir to keep this dynasty running.....
on the 30th December, 2019 at 4:56pm

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