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Saturday February 29 2020
Conte betrayed Juventus for Inter

Antonio Conte represented Juventus at their peak as a player and coach, but joining Inter is considered unforgivable by many fans, explains Emmet Gates.

If you’re feeling particularly mischievous, mention the date May 5, 2002 to an Inter fan, and wait for the reaction. It’s a day that’s woven into the fabric of Italian football. Inter, going into the final day of the 2001-02 season seemingly on the verge of their first Scudetto since 1989, spectacularly blow their chance in ways that only Inter could do in the Massimo Moratti era: glorious failure.

In case you are a younger reader and don’t know the backstory, it goes as follows: Inter, one point ahead of Juventus and two of Roma, go into the final game of the season away to Lazio. Juve – without a Scudetto in four years at this stage – are away to Udinese, with Roma at home to Chievo.

Lazio, with nothing to play for, put four past Inter, much to the chagrin of their own fans, who feared a second consecutive Scudetto for arch-rivals Roma. The Old Lady swept Udinese aside 2-0, whilst Roma crushed Chievo 5-0. In the space of 90 minutes, Inter went from potential champions to finishing third. The visuals of that day became iconic. Ronaldo in tears on the Inter bench. Juve players stripped down to their underwear in the Udine sunshine.

Right in the thick of the celebrations was one Antonio Conte, then in his 10th year as a Juve player. Perhaps no one embodied the Juventus ‘grinta’ (grit in Italian) better than Conte, who, by his own admission, knew he didn’t possess the natural ability that many of his teammates had.

“I didn’t have the talent of Zinedine Zidane or Roberto Baggio as a player, and I played with both,” Conte said in an interview several years ago. “Even when they were surrounded, they could break through or create interesting situations with the ball.” On the eve of the 1994 World Cup final, Conte remarked that Baggio could ‘dribble through 11 players and score’.

Conte’s survival as a Juventus player throughout the 1990s and early 2000s was down to sheer work rate and willingness to sacrifice boundless amounts of energy for the black-and-white cause. Conte’s diligence, as much as the balletic grace of Baggio, Zidane or Alessandro Del Piero, epitomised what Juve were about in the ‘90s.

Conte’s history with Juve has made it all the more jarring for fans of the club now that he has pitched up with their loathed rivals Inter. Last summer, after it was announced that Conte had officially joined the Nerazzurri, a petition was signed by over 3,000 fans wanting his star removed from the club’s Walk of Fame.

The stars, located on the outer concourse of the stadium, number 50 in total and the petition called for the recently retired Claudio Marchisio to be given the place instead. By October, the petition has reached over 15,000 signatures.

Rav Gopal, founder of the hugely popular website JuveFC.com, argues that whilst he doesn’t believe Conte’s star should be removed, his reputation in the eyes of the fans will never be the same.

“I don’t think it [removing his star] would serve any real purpose, it would attract headlines of the wrong kind. The kind the Juve management are trying to leave behind,” said Gopal.

This is echoed by Maurizio Giovanelli, creator of the hospitality AroundTurin.com and Curva Sud member, who says that Conte deserves his place. “The star is for what he did at Juventus, and for that, I will always be grateful,” states Giovanelli.

Both however remain adamant that Conte’s decision to join Inter has permanently fractured his rapport with the Juve fans. “Prior to the events of Calciopoli, it may have been something you considered and accepted, albeit with a real feeling of bitterness that may take some time to abate. Post-2006, it’s a no-no,” says Gopal.

There is evidence to support Gopal’s opinion. Marcello Lippi agreed to take over at Inter in the summer of 1999 after five years in Turin. However, Lippi failed to sprinkle his stardust over the arkham asylum that was late-90s Inter, and was sacked within 14 months of taking the job. He returned to Juventus in the summer of 2001 and guided the club to two more Scudetti – including the May 5 title – and reached another Champions League final, to this day remaining a Bianconeri hero.

Furthermore, Giovanni Trapattoni went from Juventus to Inter in 1986, and then directly returned to Juventus in 1991, without so much as a blemish to his standing with the fans.

However the post-Calciopoli landscape in Italian football forever altered the Juventus-Inter dynamic. “I understand discussions around being a ‘professional’ coach and therefore being ready to accept new challenges, but Inter cannot be considered just ‘another’ team by Juve fans,” reveals Giovanelli.

There is a feeling that considering Conte’s lengthy association with Juve, first as a player – later captain - and then as coach, he should’ve known better. “For the vast majority of supporters that I speak to, especially those in Italy, it was an unforgiveable act, his legacy will be inevitably tarnished,” says Gopal.

Similarly, Giovanelli reiterates the same sentiments. “Do I consider him a real ‘Juventino’ or a role model for every Juve fan? Absolutely not, not any more,”

Conte isn’t without precedent. Born in the beautiful baroque city of Lecce, down in the Puglia region of Italy, Conte rose through the ranks of Lecce’s youth system before playing for the first team in the late 1980s. In December 2007, Conte became coach of Bari, Lecce’s biggest rivals in the region. To this day, Conte remains a figure of vitriol in his home city.

The spectre of the Derby d’Italia usually takes over the conversation of people the length and breadth of Italy, yet it has been overshadowed this time by the Coronavirus. The game will be held behind closed doors as the country struggles to contain the outbreak.

This will, coincidentally, save Conte from receiving a torrent of abuse on his first return to the Juventus Stadium as an opposing coach, according to Giovanelli. “I believe the majority of people attending the game would’ve whistled Conte. He chose to represent Inter, and he’s made his choice. But with inter being one of our biggest challengers for the title, there wouldn’t have been be any room for hugs and roses.”

Some wounds simply cut too deep.

Have your say...
@I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER: Since the day the first Chevrolet Camaro was sold Juve still has more Champions league than say a team like Inter, who only plays in a CL final every 45 years OR a team like AC Milan, whose 7 stars can't help them in Europa League let along get back to CL !
on the 6th March, 2020 at 2:02pm
Great comeback haha. Id like to see Juves made-it-to-the-final-but-lost trophy. Can you help me find it?

1-3 vs Barcelona
1-4 vs Real Madrid.

7 lost finals. Juve have lost 2,5 times more finals than won CL. Worst final stats by a mile i Europe.

Marco Branca was 31 years old and played for Roma last time Juve won a european title. Hes now 55.
on the 5th March, 2020 at 6:03am
@Y MISS A EUROPEAN TITLE: just remember the following:

FACT: in the last 6 years Juve have more CL finals that Inter has passed the Group stage in CL !!
on the 4th March, 2020 at 8:37pm
I will be forever grateful for Conte bringing us back. When he left I thought the good times were over, but he installed a culture of winning which carried over. He gets the best out of his available talent, winning for Juve & Chelsea and took the worst Italian team i can remember on paper to pk's. At the end of the day their was only a small selection of teams who can afford him and he went to Inter. I believe this only happened once Juve management told him no to replace Max.
on the 4th March, 2020 at 3:33pm
I was lucky to get into a practice in 2011 at Toronto's BMO field where Juve was playing a pre-season friendly. Getting so close to Gigi, Chiellini and Del Piero (autograph jersey's hanging on my wall), but what I remember most that day was Conte coaching. He stopped the scrimmage over and over, telling playing the movements he wanted. Juve lost to Sporting the next day, and us Juve fans looked at each other and said another 7th place finish this year. He made us eat our words.
on the 4th March, 2020 at 3:28pm
To continue with "highschool metaphor"...

You know that kid who has great grades and then, when he underperforms..,
the teacher, not wanting to ruin the kid's grade average, GIFTS him a much higher grade??
She says: "I won't give you a 1. I know it's a day-off for you, so I'll give you a 5!"


Sometimes,
Even when the kid (Juve) doesn't know (is outplayed), he gets off-the-hook (gets a pen) from professor (ref)..!
on the 4th March, 2020 at 2:32pm
@Ali Mehrabi
No,
It's like mocking a cool kid with beautiful girlfriend for REPEATING A GRADE because the kid CHEATED.

Also, lets not forget, that cool kid has a rich daddy that gives him enormous allowance..! Maybe kid wouldn't be as cool without that MONEY & expensive clothes, hmm? Maybe without it, his beautiful gf wouldn't be his??

The other kid (the one that always wears black & blue) is annoying, ...but he DID recently date the Supermodel prom queen, so CAN brag..!
on the 4th March, 2020 at 1:49pm
"You know what, it's fine not winning the CL for many years and having gone to serie B"

ok Ali, ha ha.

"It's like the incel mocking the cool kid with the beautiful girl for not dating the prom queen."

"Coming here does really cheer me up every time. Thanks losers"

Im sure youre the cool kid and def not the incel Ali wink wink.
on the 4th March, 2020 at 6:49am
I always come to the comments section to get me a good laugh. Fans of Inter, Roma and other teams mocking Juve for cheating and not winning the CL for many years. It's like the incel mocking the cool kid with the beautiful girl for not dating the prom queen. You know what, it's fine not winning the CL for many years and having gone to serie B and returned to crush you sorry losers for 8 consecutive years. Coming here does really cheer me up every time. Thanks losers
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 10:14pm
In 2011 Inter knocked Bayern out in 1/16 finals. Yet again youre wrong.

"yet in the last 8 years Atalanta has more 3rd place finishes than Inter let alone 2nd or 1st!" horribly written and wrong both in Serie A and in CL.

You problably already know it cause youve experienced it ha ha.
WHO CARES ABOUT REACHING FINALS WHEN YOU LOSE EVERYONE OF THEM.

This is italian football, teams are expected go win in Europe when theyre on top. Everyone did except Juve.
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 9:04pm
@I MISS A EUROPEAN TITLE: you know what's pathetic....you talk about Juve winning CL yet you cheer a team that has not made it past the group stage in 10 years ? in the last 6 years Juve have more CL finals that Inter has passed the Group stage in CL !! you mock a team that has win 8 scudetti in a row yet in the last 8 years Atalanta has more 3rd place finishes than Inter let alone 2nd or 1st! So Inter had to spend a small fortune to win nothing again this year, be happy with 3rd place !
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 7:49pm
Sure, then how do you explain thats been 24 years since Juve won a european title?

Just face it and acknowledge it, you Juvefans arent fooling noone. Its the 7 lost finals in Europe that have affected everyone at the club except Ronaldo so much, you choke everytime it gets serious i Europe.
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 6:33pm
@I MISS A EUROPEAN TITLE: We can thank Conte for that Mishap - good Riddance !!
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 2:12pm
It was Benfica that knocked Juve out of the semi finals in the EL in 2014. The final was played at Juve Stadium so Benfica travelled back to Turin for the final just to rub it in. They were actually officially the home team for the final vs Sevilla haha.

Another sad chapter in the european history of Juve.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 11:08pm
As a Juve Fan, good riddence to Conte! I still can't get over losing in EL to sporting Lisbon and then hiring Allegri who took the exact same team to the CL finals - that's like getting kicked out of college one year and finishing second in your University class the next year! He is overpaid, whines like a baby and his soccer sucks in Europe. if you overpay a coach and he says something that you don't like them a team like Inter can't even afford to fire him !
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 7:51pm
Why do you waste print space with this fanta garbage.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 1:50pm
This stuff is bizarre... In North America a coach wouldn't be vilified like this except by the most irrational fans. It's a free world, and an individual should have complete control of his destiny. If someone wants to chase more money, so be it... It's his choice..or want to leave for some other reason.. this tribal loyalty is absurd in 2020.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 11:29am
while I respect everything that conte did for juve. I lost a lot of respect for him when the board wanted him to lead the team after winning 3 scudettos in a row. he agrees to lead the team for a fourth season and leaves just before the start of training camp. I think he is a good league coach but his tactics will never work in the c.league. while he is free to coach any club he wants he definitely damaged his standing with the core fans. he is not missed at juve that is for sure
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 5:28am
Anonymous,
Leave Franco alone!

Look,
JuveFan94 is also disappointed by his team: Angelli doesn't allow to be blackmailed by hooligans anymore & took a stance against violence & racism.

My club also gutted me:
I thought I was supporting something else...
But they are rewarding players that shouldn't be & showed everyone they are LACKEYS to big boys --Juve, Liverpool...
So now, while I watch games, I also read books or train.

If Conte came to my team, I would stop watching Roma games. INSTANTLY
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 3:25am
4. And reason why you should drop your glance EVERY TIME you look at anyone--???

--Is INTERNAZIONALE MILANO!!!

So, no.
It is not OK that you wish Conte & Inter the best.
(& trust me. Their fans don't want your support either!)


To finnish off:
Corruption is still present everywhere.
ESPECIALLY IN ITALY.
The day Roma finally builds its Stadium, a month later someone will have to go to prison!
It is not possible to do anything without bribes or favours in this country!
Whole system is corrupt.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 3:01am
3. When Juve went down, NO ONE WAS SURPRISED!
No one said:"What???"
Not even: "I knew it!"


...But: "FINALLY."



You "rich boys" always gloat & count your trophies...
When your team is always worth 3-4 times as much???
When you poach any real talent from the rest??

You drive a Ferrari and gloat when winning a race against Fiat!!!
HAHAHAHA
THIS DOESN'T FAZE US!!!

But

YOU


WENT


DOWNNNNNN



CHEATINNNNNG!!!!!!!

HAHAHA
How you like them apples??

"We" win EVERY TIME in ANY gloating contest!
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 2:44am
2. Unlike you, Juventini, I OWN IT!

That money never influenced game's outcome.
Roma was "used" & hustled. (Serves them right, Juventus-Wannabes! HAHAHA)
But
there are no excuses!!!
They should have been penalized for their stupidity!

Thankfully, that incident taught them a lesson: They're just not build for cheating, unlike some (wink, wink)

Now,
When will YOU own Calciopili??
Doping??

Who cares about the courts, they made a mistake.
--Inter should have gone down with you as well!
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 1:56am
@ Cetateanu'
1. Yes,
Ref in 1984 was "paid", that's why he CANCELLED Conti's opener for Pruzzo's "passive offside"!!!
C'mon, man --Every goal Roma scored was fair.
Ref wasn't bribed.

Truth is, this "shady Genoa DS" came to Roma. Roma didn't look for him...
He told them: "If you want to have any chance, you need to incline the ref. That's what JUVE & BIG BOYS do! Don't worry, you can pay through me."

Naive Roma paid the guy...
& HE TOOK ALL OF IT FOR HIMSELF!!!
HAHAHAHA
ROMA SUCKS AT BRIBING!!!
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 1:30am
@Anonymous. ... which I am walking away from when they are closest to winning a trophy of any significance since their Coppa D'Italia of 2011. ... You're correct to suggest that modern football has changed and obviously Inter Milan has had to adapt to keep up with other European heavyweights, let alone Juventus. But I cannot get around the hiring of that jerk on Inter's touchline. Now I support West Ham. Lots of Italians do and we are known as Gli Martelli d'Italia. And WEST HAM SUCKS.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 12:07am
@Anonymous. ... To be clear, I did not follow soccer until ten years ago and did not even know of their treble. I FIRST choose Inter because I liked their colours -- could have easily been Atalanta, Pisa or Latina. THEN I read up o their history on Wikipedia and was sold. And FINALLY I discovered my father was also a fan, and that was the clincher. ... I have travelled to Italy to watch a Milan Derby, I have over a dozen jerseys in my closet and started a fan club which I am walking away from ..
on the 1st March, 2020 at 11:55pm
@Franco, So you fell in love with Inter 10 years ago when Inter won the treble. Fair enough, it makes you a plastic fan or glory hunter, your choice! A big fan when a team wins team, just walk away when no trophy. I told you, PSG is just right for you.
on the 1st March, 2020 at 10:05pm
@United States of Totti

C'mon, YOU started it. Your club, you had your Moggi before we did. Don't throw stones from a porcelain shop. Your first and only Champions Cup final was a fraud, back in 1984. Because you paid the referee to get there, against Dundee.
And YOU, Romanista ultras, are to blame for that "need" of payback from english ultras one year after, at Heysel.

repubblica. it/sport/calcio/serie-a/roma/2011/03/17/news/lo_scandalo_roma_-_dundee_viola_l_arbitro_fu_pagato-1373
on the 1st March, 2020 at 9:09pm
Juvefan94

Haha, youre the definition of a keyboard hooligan. All talk on a random forum.

"We made football big, so people like you can enjoy it."

"I live in the streets carry the badge and went into various wars between other Ultras and we're not even live in Europe,"

Ha ha ha, chase selfesteem somewhere else. Youre as irrelevant as you can be, and even the lowlife holligans in Italy would laugh at your statements.
on the 1st March, 2020 at 6:10pm
@Anonymous. ... I could enumerate lots of reasons for walking away from Inter, big and small, but I only have a 500-character limit to work with. Suffice it to say that this team is not the Inter whose culture and history I fell in love with ten years ago. It is not the Grande Inter which my father rooted for. ... I dont mind Chinese owners; I often referred to them as Inter's sugar daddy who would spend big on the team. And they have, but Conte is a jerk. ... Finally, I support WEST HAM
on the 1st March, 2020 at 4:45pm
@United States of Totti And stuff Totti. Even Simone Padoin won more Serie A more than that whiny.
on the 1st March, 2020 at 9:22am

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