Monday August 10 2020
Juventus are demanding, not dreaming

At least Juventus have finally admitted their ambitions out loud, but Kaustubh Pandey wonders if Andrea Pirlo is the man to make them a superclub.

Juventus desperately want to be seen as a superclub on the level of Real Madrid or Barcelona, to lift the Champions League and end that two-decade curse. At least President Andrea Agnelli admitted as much this time when sacking Maurizio Sarri, declaring out loud once and for all that no, the Scudetto is not the main objective of the season and European glory is not a dream. It is a target. Having said that, is Andrea Pirlo really the man to take them there?

When Massimiliano Allegri was told to leave the Bianconeri in the summer of 2019, he had made it very clear this Juve team needed a revolution. With that, he meant that some players needed to be moved on and fresh faces brought in to make sure that they don’t stagnate. The five or six-year cycle was coming to an end and Allegri had foreseen all of it well before anyone else could.

The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo was a clear suggestion of their move towards the idea of becoming a superclub like Real Madrid or Barcelona. The path towards doing that would only have been trodden if Juve had won the Champions League and hadn’t lost two finals under Allegri himself. Ronaldo’s signing showed Juve weren’t satisfied with being the Champions of Italy anymore. They wanted a lot more.

The problem with success is that nobody has one correct recipe and one gets the feeling there is a lack of unified vision at Juventus. It’s no secret Allegri was pushed out by Fabio Paratici and Pavel Nedved, while Agnelli was never that convinced by the idea of Sarri. This power struggle is not helping anyone, and most of the positives from this season came about by accident rather than by design. This club tried so hard to off-load Paulo Dybala and he ended up being the MVP in all of Serie A. Deadwood like Blaise Matuidi and Gonzalo Higuain remained, Mario Mandzukic and Emre Can were moved on, while Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey were just the latest in a selection of players Juve seemingly signed just because they were free agents.

Why bring in a coach like Sarri, who is known for his very specific style of football, and then not give him the players suited to it? Rodrigo Bentancur and Dybala emerged as bright lights largely because of their dynamic nature, but his football is all about moving the ball quickly. If they don’t do that, they become painfully predictable, as we saw much of the time at Chelsea. Teams found it easy to sit deeper and restrict them to playing sideways passes - as was evident in the Coppa Italia final against Napoli.

There was always a drabness about this side, a totally different feeling to his Napoli team. The two performances against Lyon saw a similar pattern emerge. Even during desperate situations, the Bianconeri resorted to playing it short and passing it sideways. The players could never open up the opposition and it went directly against the idea of what Agnelli wanted in a superclub.

There are claims that Sarri lost parts of the dressing room because of faults of his own. At the same time, one should ask what Juve really had in mind when they hired Sarri? They wanted to become a superclub overnight under a manager who needs time to make the team his own, especially when a ‘revolution’ was needed and never came. Paratici and co never knew what Sarri brought to the table and how to make it work for him.

The players were also visibly just going through the motions a lot of the time, not really believing in his vision or that it would work for them. We saw similar performances at Chelsea, stars who knew they could just bide their time and wait for the coach to get fired, because it’s easier to remove a tactician than half the squad.

Sarri saw Champions League success and the Scudetto as a ‘dream’ and not something which was the minimum desired expectation. That is something Juve never considered in their unflinching thirst to reach the Real Madrid level. Pirlo brings huge experience of winning the Champions League and he was part of the Milan team that became a superclub two decades ago. He would know that winning the Champions League has become a requirement at Juve. He will absolutely understand that demand more than Sarri did, especially as he was in one of those lost Finals in 2015. He felt it first-hand.

Pirlo comes across as a much more marketable appointment. Sarri is seen as that no-nonsense, tactically obsessed man who smokes and swears too much, not a glittering superstar who has his own T-Shirt slogans. Pirlo could get players back on his side, but doubts remain about what he offers tactically. The fact that it had barely been time since he was appointed the Under-23s manager shows how unplanned things have been at a boardroom level for Juve. Things may or may not work out for Pirlo, but the Juve board hasn’t done enough to suggest that they can take the Old Lady to a superclub level.

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Have your say...
Why would Pirlo not consider a 4-2-3-1 with

RB - De Sciglio/ CB - De Ligt/ CB - Demiral/ LB - Pellegrini
HM - Bentancur / HB - Rabiot
RW - Costa / CAM - Dybala / LW - Ronaldo
CF - Spend Large! Either Haland/Lewandowski/Icardi

The HM are capable of covering the pitch, Providing Defensive coverage for the back 4 & bombing forward when needed

Final 3rd is overloaded with speed, creativity & dynamic ball skills that can interchange at anytime to confuse defensive tactics.
on the 15th August, 2020 at 3:06am
Juve aren’t worried about seria A, They can’t win in Europe like they do in Italy as they have to play under referees that aren’t corrupt. Juve will never win champions league in our life time unless the club is run by decent people.

Have a lovely day
on the 14th August, 2020 at 8:11am
@ThedukeofJuve - "Patrici needs to make some bright moves this summer". You romantic!! Paratici has no idea what he is doing. He is Alessio Secco in disguise. Remember him? The guy who could not put a team together to save his life. I have a feeling that under Pirlo we'll see a Juve that will play better football, but may be unwilling to sacrifice beauty over substance when it really comes down to it. And, I wonder if Pirlo can give his players the mental fortitude they need to win ugly.
on the 13th August, 2020 at 10:23am
Further more I could not tolerate watching another year of Sarri ball where the team
was lucky to manufacture 3 scoring chances in an entire half of football! you can blame what you will midfielders etc when you don't have the players you must adapt!! this is the reason Agnelli pulled the plug on him quick, Sarri can better employee his system with lessor teams as they will work harder to employ his tactics, he should stay far away from more individually talented teams like juventus Chelsea
on the 12th August, 2020 at 11:31pm
After 9 straight titles Agnelli has a right to demand more! Firing Sarri sends a msg to
everyone its not enough win a title but Juve needs European glory, Other than Zidan or Klopp Pep who are all spoken for why not take a chance with a Pirlo?? This team
needs some fine tuning in the midfield and upfront, lets give Pirlo a chance to see if
the team can gravitate to him as right now I don't see a screaming alternative during at this time, Patrici needs to make some bright moves this summer
on the 12th August, 2020 at 10:29pm
@Gaja you are partly right when you said RM didn’t care if you win the league. I said partly because at that time they cared so much for la decima. It became an obsession but since Ancelotti helped them win it , they now take winning la Liga as seriously if not more than winning cl. Barcelona is now the 1 obsessed with cl. Let’s not forget that del bosque and Heynckes were sacked despite winning cl.
on the 12th August, 2020 at 6:19pm
@Dennis - Zidane only became manager of Real Madrid for the first time in 2016 and in both spells (of which he's only had 2 full seasons), he has won the league in his first full season - two out of the 3 titles they've won since 2008. Not many managers can boast that sort of record in such a short space of time. Also, everyone knows Real Madrid couldn't care less about their league title - managers like Del Bosque, Capello, Schuster and Mourinho won the league and were still sacked.
on the 12th August, 2020 at 2:27pm
@Master i was simply stating from the moment Sarri got sacked i felt Pirlo would be promoted & here is why.. Pirlo was mentioned within an hour of Sarri’s sacking... among all the other options, Looking at all options to me at least Pirlo was most convenient option he was already contracted to the club and he was cheap! Now i know considering everything that has happened its easy now for me to say what i said & i get your point but i stand by what i said because its the truth
on the 12th August, 2020 at 7:40am
Pep took over Barcelona in 2008, RM have won la Liga 3 times only. Zz has his issues with strange team selections and if not for covid, penalty kicks and a terrible Barcelona, I doubt they would have won la Liga this season. The brand of football is turgid and his treatment/use of the likes of Bale, Regullion, Jovic, Vinicius, Valverde, James and Isco is very questionable. Management of a big side is not easy at all and I am not sure this should be Pirlo’s first job
on the 11th August, 2020 at 4:20pm
Stubborn but Pirlo will be flexible. Now how on earth can you possibly know that? Also saying he can count on former teammates is foolhardy as he now has to think about a lot of people whereas before all he had to think of was his performance. It is not easy managing a former teammate and friend as Ferrara found out with Delpiero. Those that keep mentioning Zidane as a yardstick seem to ignore that RM are like a mirror opposite of Juve, doing well in cl but coming up short in the league. Since
on the 11th August, 2020 at 4:11pm
Having read most of the comments on here, I am puzzled as to why the overriding factor for the appointment of Pirlo is money. A lot say they couldn’t afford to pay 2 ex managers and then in the same breath say Pirlo will be given new players to work with. Okay say all that we’re true the. Why sack Sarri at all? Why not give him another season but with players he feels can implement his system? This is supposing that we are all privy to the terms of Pirlo’s contract. I’m reading Sarri is too
on the 11th August, 2020 at 4:06pm
@Jay, I think you should marry Pinturicchio. You both identical. A spoiled brat trapped in adult body, so pathetic!
on the 11th August, 2020 at 3:36pm
@ACM - Could not agree more!! Marotta was way better than Paratici - both as a businessman and as an economist. Paratici is clueless and is flanked by that equally useless blonde mop, Nedved. These two are systematically destroying the club and Agnelli seems oblivious to it all. Under the guidance of these two clowns, Juve has regressed in the past two years and will continue to do so. Juve can't always blame their shortcomings on the coach, the midfield or just bad luck.
on the 11th August, 2020 at 3:05pm
What pirlo needs is bunch of players he can counts to like his old mates - marchisio bonucci chiellini barzagli tevez at their best. That level of trusted and lethal companions and co. Need to be created to things working for pirlo....
on the 11th August, 2020 at 4:01am
part 2 - I think Paratici obviously isnt as good as Marotta and everybody is understanding why now.. Serie a is going to be changing and think it will be exciting for all next year
on the 11th August, 2020 at 1:32am
Part 1 - Just like inter 10 years ago, when the money ran out and the club couldnt sustain a title winning team, juve look like they are going the same way. Poor player purchases, pirlo selection (clearly because of funds - paying 2 expensive managers is obviously not an option) and it opens the door for other teams to step forward. Inter have money, a strong team (lots of youngsters coming through too!) with a great manager who can attract top end talent.
on the 11th August, 2020 at 1:29am
Handing over the team to Pirlo is a step in the right direction as the guy knows how to lead attacks and played incredible football on the pitch. Juve's problem was simple they had no attacking full backs and opposition teams just bunched us into the midfield and our midfield was super flat and not creative. Juve needs a regista and two attacking full backs that can cross a DAMN ball. 4-5 quality signings are what we need and as many as 10-12 departures as the team must be purged ASAP.
on the 11th August, 2020 at 12:22am
Do any Juventus fans wish they still had Marotta overseeing the running of the club? I’m not a Juventus fan but from the outside looking in, it feels like he was more assured and organized than Paratici. The right players were bought to address the areas that needed improving and I include the free transfers in that. I don’t think the team are as balanced anymore, e.g cuadrado playing right back
on the 10th August, 2020 at 8:31pm
I strongly feel Sarri has lost trust in the dressing room therefore his exit is inevitable.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 8:09pm
Why? Is it because all Juve's players not suitable? Oh pls, I don't trust that. This squad is good enough to play good football (including dead wood midfielders they say).
on the 10th August, 2020 at 8:01pm
@gozen, can you show me the link of Sarri wants Bennacer? Or is it just your pure fantasy to strengthen your negative sentiment towards Juve's management?

Imho, Sarri failed to get Juve's main objective to reach final. His simple, a bit arrogant personality doesn't help either and it bites him later. He always said something like I don't like transfer talk, i completely trust the board, just give me random player. And voila, after a few month, he still can't deliver his trademark football.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 7:47pm
After initially being shocked and to some extent horrified by the appointment i'm starting to come around to it. In terms of global appeal very few, if any, Italian players have the same popularity as Pirlo so people worldwide will be at least following his progress if not tuning into the live game. The comments that have come out about him being very studious about opponents and teams is also a good sign. As long as he can transmit his ideas and isn't too laid back and quiet then it might work
on the 10th August, 2020 at 7:04pm
BTW... it seems Matuidi is already out. WTH why isn't Khedira the 1st one?? I hope he's shipped out tomorrow, followed by Higuain, De Sciglio and Danilo by next Fri lol.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 6:07pm
LOL at the people saying this is the end or another team will win next year.... Not a ball has been kicked for the new season yet. I hope another team does win, because if they don't then we will know for sure how awful and weak other Italian teams are
on the 10th August, 2020 at 6:01pm
Why does everyone think that the squad will remain the same and Pirlo is expected to perform miracles with it? Juve didn't just change the coach, they are going for a squad revolution too. If they give him a strong squad...

@Al Dino Don't talk in hindsight. Nobody expected Pirlo when he had just been appointed for the U23 and hadn't any experience. Maybe in the future but not right now. Even a return of Allegri was far more possible than Pirlo being promoted out of the blue to the first team.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 5:03pm
Seems way to risky of a move to me. They only have CR7 for 2 more years if they are lucky. I wouldn't be surprised to see him try and engineer a move away right now. I've always liked Pirlo and I think he has potential to be a great coach but this seems a little forced. I would be surprised to see them win the league next year. Plus they need to fill in several positions on the field like another great midfielder, a striker, and another wingback. Hopefully they can make it work. Good Luck Juve.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 4:40pm
The "winning mentality" endorsed by Juve is a joke. It has helped them win 2 CL and I repeat only 2 CL. Sarri had an impossible job trying to teach these players the importance of play high intensity one touch football. Not even Pep Guardiola can change their dull, drab and slow paced pragmatic football. Juve fans need to look at the top teams of Europe and if they still think that "winning is everything" mentality will help them win CL, then these lots are most deluded bunch of football fans.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 3:06pm
They didn't even give Sarri one player, let alone players. Even with Bennacer who he asked for, there would've been a difference. He's also the reason Dybala even stayed, and won MVP. But JJ doesn't have much class these days and tries to blame all their problems on him.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 1:58pm
Juventus can't afford to keep throwing tens of millions of euros at experienced managers. Pirlo is a low risk gamble for the Juve hierachy. If he fails in the objectives, they can say it's because of his inexperience, if he wins then they got the same result but cheaper and with less cigarette smoke.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 12:55pm
You gradually see it now. The magic touch slipping out of Juve's fingers. They are losing their assertiveness and sense of entitlement – becoming insecure. How could they've have got it so wrong with Sarri, they ask themselves. Why can't we win the Champions? Self-esteem is such a key to success, and once you start feeling insecure, it can go the wrong way quickly. Many a successful person has experienced that. I think we are seeing the beginning of the end of the Juventus golden era.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 12:45pm

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