Sunday April 4 2021
End of an era

Inter inch closer to the Serie A title, putting an end to Juventus' domestic dominion, but the Bianconeri are facing even more concerning scenarios, writes Lorenzo Bettoni.

Few people recall that Andrea Agnelli's reign at Juventus didn't begin with trophies and praise. Instead, Luigi Delneri's side ended the 2010-11 season in seventh place, failing to qualify for any European competition.

The turning point was in the summer of 2011, when Antonio Conte was appointed head coach, Andrea Pirlo arrived as a free agent from Milan and the Old Lady played their first season in their new home ground, the Juventus Stadium, now Allianz.

Juventus won three Serie A titles with Conte in the dug-out, five with Max Allegri and one more with Maurizio Sarri.

The former Napoli coach was brought in to bring a new attacking mentality. Allegri had won 11 titles over five seasons and reached two Champions League finals, but Juventus fired him with a year remaining on his contract, perhaps forgetting their motto: "Winning isn't important. It's the only thing that matters."

Sarri did win the Scudetto, but failed to empathise with his players. His idea of football was the opposite to what Juventus' veterans were used to. Also, he didn't have many fans in the dressing room.

His sacking had little to do with Juventus' results on the pitch.

Now, with Pirlo in the dug-out, the Bianconeri find themselves 12 points adrift of Inter. The former midfielder inaugurated Juventus' winning era with Conte. Now, ironically, they are putting an end to it, for different reasons.

Juventus sit fourth in the table, level with Napoli, ahead of their meeting at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday in the rescheduled fixture from matchday 3.

"It will be like a final," Andrea Pirlo said after a 2-2 draw against Torino. His Juventus side have never won more than three Serie A games in a row this season. Conte's Inter are on a nine-game winning streak after their victory against Bologna and had already managed eight straight wins earlier this season.

That says it all about the two side's form this term.

The Nerazzurri have an eight-point lead on second-placed Milan, but with a game in hand. Potentially, they have an 11-point lead with ten games remaining until the end of the season. On paper, the Scudetto is in their hands. Deservedly.

They've been the most consistent team in Serie A this season and it has nothing to do with their early Champions League elimination, as many claim.

Inter were – humiliatingly – kicked out of Europe in the group stages, but Juventus only played two more games more than in the competition. You can't put Inter's Serie A domination down to their lack of European football.

They are close to winning their 19th title, which is down to a coach and a club with clear ideas. At least, since last summer, they shared vision that has brought them to where they are now.

They don't play the best football in Serie A. They are not always perfect either, especially in Europe, where they've never qualified for the round of 16 in two seasons under Conte.

However, Inter’s players are united. They all follow their coach's plan. They always seem to have games under control. More importantly, Conte has brought them his winning mentality.

Juventus, on the other hand look vulnerable, even when they take the lead.

They replaced Sarri with a man who was a magnificent footballer once but had never been a coach before. Pirlo made mistakes, but he is not the only one guilty of the embarrassing situation Juventus find themselves in. The Bianconeri have always been in the top four since that catastrophic 2010-11 campaign. 

The risk of missing out on a Champions League berth is a scenario nobody would have predicted at Juventus, not only for the sporting implication that it would bring but also the economic ones.

Surely, the Old Lady are not going to complete the perfect domestic decade. It all started with Conte and it will end with him.

Agnelli rejected the chance to welcome him back before Sarri was appointed in 2019. Agnelli never forgave Conte for quitting the job one day into pre-season in 2013.

They used to be friends. Now, not so much. The coach showed Agnelli the middle finger during the half time of a tense Coppa Italia meeting at the Allianz Stadium. Now, he will surely do everything possible to win the Scudetto by May 16, when Inter travel to Turin for their last away game of the season.

By that time, Conte could have something much more meaningful to show to the stands and mark the end of a era.


Have your say...
I do hope it's an end of an era Juve have embarrassed Italy for so long in the CL that I'm hoping that they make way for other more hungry Seria a clubs and spread the CL money which Juve have had for the past decade.
on the 7th April, 2021 at 2:59pm
It's funny that while Juve, Milan and others are claiming Inter's early exit from Europe gave them an advantage in the scudetto, no one has mentioned that with their run to the UEL finals last season, Inter had a much shorter break and pre-season before starting the season compared to the other teams. Even Conte hasn't used it as an excuse for their patchy start and performances in the CL, which one could argue was impacted with them playing 2 games a week from day one - but let's not go there.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 5:19pm
Juve have taken their dominance for granted because the rest of the league was so far behind. Marchisio was right when he noted that the decline started during Allegri's final season and it's something that hasn't properly been addressed. Allegri if anything showed great skill in having to keep reinventing the wheel as his great team of Tevez, Morata, Pirlo, Vidal, Pogba etc slowly got broken up. It probably covered up the cracks! The others have caught up, time to re-evaluate. They'll be back.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 12:45pm
Inter are set up for a winning cycle now for 3-5 years assuming the squad isn't broken up for financial reasons. Lukau, Skriniar, Bastoni, Lautaro, Hakimi, and Barella could all be top or even world class for the next 3-5 years. Then you have Esposito, Pirola & Agoume to come in over the next years and you see the core of a team that could dominate for a good few years. Depending on who they buy will determine how successful they are in Europe but it won't take much for Inter to challenge
on the 6th April, 2021 at 11:49am
Juve's quality has been in decline for 3-4 seasons, few players progressing from the youth setup into the senior side & the Board should have focused on this what with so many old players in the squad. The transfer policy has been generally poor in recent seasons. Regardless of Pirlo's failings, this season isn't a huge surprise in terms of Juve's decline. Good to see Inter & Milan progressing again as the league needs to be competitive, 9 titles in a row is not good for Italian football at all
on the 6th April, 2021 at 11:38am
Juve dominance was due to a weakened Serie A due to financial reasons.Juve path to two UCL finals was due to a lucky path to that final away from Europe heavy weights,only challenge was in the UCL year when they met a weakened Barca in the year they lost to Real Madrid.Juve was always a robust difficult to play against side but never a tough team to beat.Juve team consists of second string,old and expired,Arsenal rejects players..once they invest in youngsters I can say JUVE will be a great team
on the 6th April, 2021 at 7:43am
Clubs are realizing that smart signings and stability can make up for lack of financial power.Inter and Atalanta signed the right players,qualified regularly for CL,backed their coaches,and it's paying off.Milan seem to be on the right track and qualifying for CL will accelerate their comeback.Lazio are another club that deserves credit.Napoli are still dangerous and would be smart to back Gattuso who delivered a trophy.It's getting interesting again.Next step, do better in Europa and CL.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 7:03am
Well written article. Fitting that Conte and don't forget Pep Marotta started the Juve run and will end it. Both are extremely missed. Conte for the fire that he lights in his players (spit blood) and Marotta for his sound financial management. It's no secret that mess started to happen once he left
on the 5th April, 2021 at 3:07pm
Inter are definitely the best in Serie A this year season which has been more competitive than the past several. They are better, Juve are worse. Milan are better, Lazio worse. Atalanta better. Roma worse. Mid-bottom table is also competitive. Inter are far from a finished product though. Very slow start, weak on the left, no depth up front, etc. Hopefully they resolve the financial issues. It would be great to see them continue building, especially as Juve inevitably bounce back. Forza Inter.
on the 5th April, 2021 at 2:39pm
Nice, Kulu is picking up where Bentancur left off. A back pass, the entire pitch from starting center to the defense. It's clear that no proper coaching is going on with this team. That's why they prefer oldies to youngsters. Lets grab as many experienced players as we can no matter the age this way we won't have to coach/manage them. Mindless possession football at its finest folks.
on the 5th April, 2021 at 1:36pm
Absolute nonsense from Pinturicchio. Are you for real or are you assuming the role of a clown? Just in case you're sincere and if you are capable, how about you try to counter what you disagree with in the article instead of acting like an over-sensitive prepubescent who so easily takes offence? The only idiocy I see here is you.
on the 5th April, 2021 at 11:24am
It looks like Inter will actually win a title again ,but they
know full well that Juventus gifted them the silverware as soon as they appointed Pirlo. The black and white era maybe over for now. If this title helps the Azzurri to win the World Cup as Inter are so good at bringing youth through the
system then carry on with this for the good of Italian football.

Forza Juve.
on the 5th April, 2021 at 10:36am
Inter have already lead Serie A by 4 points by the time Milan and Juve had extra European matches. The one game a week thing was just a pathetic excuse that doesn't reflect reality. Inter also defeated both teams convincingly so they're clearly the stronger team.
on the 5th April, 2021 at 3:34am
Took us a long time to rebuild our strength but can confidently say we are the strongest team in Italy and hopefully this will be the start of our dynasty. Conte has worked miracles with this team to turn them into a powerhouse, barella, bastoni, lautaro and hakimi are the young pillars that this squad can be built around for the next decade.
on the 5th April, 2021 at 2:11am
Happy Easter! Juve management only have themselves to blame as they assembled a team that is super slow in midfield and full backs that cannot cross a ball into the box. They have an absurd wage bill with far too many mediocre players like they need to sell 10 plus players & bring in 4 quality ones. Quality over quantity should be there priority. Inter like Juve embarrassed Seria A in Champions and this mentality needs to change or Seria A will become irrelevant. Seria A is in a very poor state.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 10:35pm
Reading the inter with conte the team is playing for the team and manager all happy to play there part to gain the advantage ! Yuve have too many personality’s who are on an ego trip and Pirlo can’t stop the rot . Three players being told to stay home on the last game cause they broke COVID rules whilst the team is underperforming ! That tells you all you need to know the fall of the Turin empire
on the 4th April, 2021 at 9:54pm
from the time juve hired pirlo, i said it could either go really well or really bad its going really bad. i thought juve was going to hire pochettino after sarri. as far as i am concern juve needs to hire allegri asap and let him get to work. the longer pirlo continues the more top 4 is in jeopardy.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 3:20pm
Paratici out.Or we will go bancrupt like inter.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 2:45pm
Juve haven't had any real competion in
seria a,any decent well run club who are strolling the league for 10 yrs or so you would think the club would've improve further "youth academy" "playing style" "CL improvement" ext,ext, like Bayern who had a project 10 yrs ago,
No they hung onto the loser Allegri far to long who never improve juve,the club never gave youth a chance their motto was to loan them out and then sell them,I blame Agnelli,Nedved & Allegri who all have the visions of a bat.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 2:43pm
It can’t be overstated how Juve has been overmanaged. The obsession to be not only the best in Europe and Italy has put pressure on the players and coaches that is unbearable. Have you seen how Nedved reacts to penalties and losses or how other executives react.It’s no wonder that Conte left or Allegri wasn’t appreciated. Have you forgotten that Sarri was spit at by fans when he was with Napoli, he was never accepted by Turin. Now with competition improving and $$ spent by other clubs:surprise?
on the 4th April, 2021 at 2:09pm
This is not an end of an era, but difficult times. With two super stars in midfield Juventus is back again. Imagine this line up.
Danilo, Demiral, De Ligt, Sandro
Cuadradro, Goretzka or Savic, Aouar, Chiesa
CR7, Dybala.

Then again in 2022 Cuadradro, Danilo and Sandro must be replaced.

Sell: Rugani, Bernadeschi, Rabiot and Ramsey = 50-60 mill.

Buy Auaor and one of Savic or Goretzka = 120 mill.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 1:31pm
if Inter win the Scudetto, they will be seeded for next season’s CL and, in theory, should get an ‘easier’ group. In theory, anyway.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 1:11pm
the rube fans always find excuse with inter getting eliminated from European football early give advantage to scudetto run while in fact rubentus really poor this whole season. poor tranfer strategy for 2 straight years after marotta leave. poor choice of coach. and yet they surely should seen this coming after rubentus hired sarri. i dont blame sarri, in fact its miracle he can won, with players who not fitting to his style. marotta is the one who make rubentus great
on the 4th April, 2021 at 12:21pm
Can't wait for the next time Conte and that inbred toad Agnelli see each other. Now I understand why Agnelli wants a Euro Super League, coz he knows the Gobbi can never win UCL. Nedved should run back to the Balkans with his tail between his legs cause he is about to make CR7 play in the Europa league. Patrici should go back to being a side kick for a real director like Marotta or sink his head in sand. Inter will beat them again this season and send them to Europa league.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 10:54am
It seems after 9 seasons Juve have final made the same stupid errors of their rivals: hiring an inexperienced manager to manage an incoherent squad that manages to be too big and too small at the same time. Ironically that’s how it all started when they took a punt on Conte. He was slightly more experienced than Pirlo but still a punt. But as he has shown at Inter, he delivers titles. It’s nice symmetry that Conte started it and ended it.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 10:06am
Firstly it has to be said that the 9 in a row is a wonderful achievement. coincided with one of the worst periods for Serie A. Their rivals shot themselves in the foot and most unforgivably sold them their best players at a tone when the Premier League, La Liga and PSG were awash with cash. That pointed to the general incompetence at their rivals. But Roma and Napoli put together respectable challenges during a time when Milan and Inter were MIA.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 10:00am
Just wanted to stop by and congratulate Juve and Milan on yet another great performances.

My highlights from this weeK.

1. Kulusevski backpass, 20 seconds into the 2nd half. Atalanta laughing all the way to the bank, they sold their 3rd best RB for 35 million.

2. Schechny or whatever, deciding to not let Kulusevski go down alone.

3. Theo Hernandez pass to Quagliarella. Problably the worst pass all season. Problably one of the worst defending LB´s in all Serie A.

Good luck chasing CL lol.
on the 4th April, 2021 at 9:58am
Good Lord, you scribes at FI - especially this Bettoni guy - must be useless at everything else, except penning inane hogwash blogs about the same BS subjects

1) Juventus' season (1 article every week about the problems, followed by a pathetic rebuttal of how Juventus are back on track after 1 victory, followed by a horrible post-mortem after a major loss)

2) Inter bla bla (not good enough in UCL/UEL, and Coppa Italia) and then waxing grace about league dominance

Such idiocy every week!
on the 4th April, 2021 at 9:46am

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