Wednesday April 21 2021
Reality check for Juve

Juventus returned to reality in their 3-1 win against Parma with their President Andrea Agnelli in the stands after days of talks and controversy about the Super League, writes Lorenzo Bettoni from Turin.

Agnelli was one of the leading architects of the Super League project, launched on Sunday night by 12 European clubs and collapsed in the space of 72 hours.

The Old Lady’s President followed his lads’ warm up from the sidelines, where he met Parma’s new owner Kyle Krause before gathering with Juventus’ directors Pavel Nedved and Fabio Paratici.

He behaved as he usually does, but you could tell he mustn’t have got much sleep in the last three days. And it’s pretty understandable.

He had spoken in the morning when he told Reuters the Super League would not go ahead after all the six Premier League clubs withdrew. He looked calm and relaxed, but surely the feelings burning inside him must be so much different.

Different from Inter, Milan and the majority of Premier League clubs, Juventus haven’t apologised to their fans. On the contrary, they still think the Super League was a good idea that would have helped the football pyramid. It’s legitimate, and it’s probably one reason why Agnelli doesn’t seem willing to resign as the other Super League vice president Ed Woodward did on Tuesday.

The Old Lady’s No.1 spoke to his players about the Super League on that same day. Only a few hours later, the project was already on the verge of collapsing, with the first few Premier League clubs already on their way out.

Juventus had lost to Atalanta the previous weekend. Still, the development of the events eclipsed the first Bianconeri defeat against La Dea in Serie A for 20 years and the fact that the Old Lady slipped in the fourth position.

For three days, public opinion and Serie A fans didn’t have time to focus on the race to qualify for the Champions League. Nobody knew if finishing top-four would have meant anything at all at the end of the season.

Andrea Pirlo insisted the team’s target is still to qualify for the Champions League in his pre-match press conference yesterday. The reality is Juventus players prepared for the game without knowing which European competition they would be battling for. Was it the Champions League, the Europa League, or did they already have a place booked in the Super League?

When they woke up this morning, they knew the Super League was no longer looming on the horizon. Instead, they would need to get the three points against Serie A strugglers Parma to keep their Champions League qualifications hope alive.

The Old Lady looked a little bit confused in the first 30 minutes, but unfortunately for Pirlo this isn’t anything new this season.

The former Maestro’s lads got the job done thanks to an awkward Alex Sandro brace, the first one in his career, which overturned Gaston Brugman’s opener from a free kick in the first half.

The whole football world practically lived in a bubble over the last three days, with fans, players and coaches all on the same bandwagon of uncertainty, regardless of which side they were on.

Juventus are now aware they will need to earn a place in the Champions League next season, a result that can’t be taken for granted.

They will play four of the six remaining games away from Turin, and those at the Allianz Stadium are against Inter and Milan.

The Rossoneri are just one point ahead of the Bianconeri in second place, but Atalanta, Napoli, and Lazio are all playing tomorrow, and at least two of them can close the gap with the top three.

Eight points are between Milan in second place and Lazio in sixth, but the Biancocelesti have two games in hand, while Napoli and Atalanta are in the middle with 60 and 64 points respectively and one less than Juve and Milan.

Five teams are vying for three spots, and Juventus don’t want to be among the disappointed ones. The economic situation is already difficult for the Old Lady, and missing out on the Champions League would be a massive blow for them.

Agnelli celebrated calmly after the final whistle but is aware the only way to avoid a complete sporting failure this season is to qualify for a competition he didn’t want to play anymore.


Have your say...
@roma unfortunately for you excluing big clubs would result in tv companies refsing to pay. cant ban one n not all. would be an easy court case if they did. of course the 12 were offered cash. they cant continue wthout it. this was always the plan
on the 23rd April, 2021 at 11:50pm
Does that mean no CL for Juve, Milan, Inter?

Čeferin also praised English clubs for leaving the SL first & issuing an appology. He said UEFA will take that into account.
(It seems EPL clubs will not be banned from European competitions, but Italians & Spanish are at risk.
Only Real & Barca's influence over TV broadcasters can save you now Juve, Inter, Milan!)

That would be hilarious though:
From SL, -- to not even a CL or EL!
on the 23rd April, 2021 at 2:04am
UEFA didn't pay anything to EPL clubs, stop lying!
UK GOVERNMENT threatened to write new laws to stop their clubs from joining the CRIMINAL SL. (I believe they threatened to limit EU players. If true, at least something good came out of Brexit.)

Yesterday Čeferin confirmed he can't throw rebels out of the semis because the season is already underway, therefore TV broadcasters would claim compensation...
However, that will change next season & clubs will suffer consequences for their actions.
on the 23rd April, 2021 at 1:43am
I expect Juve no worse then 3rd, then being kicked out as punishment but then winning an appeal to come back.
on the 22nd April, 2021 at 6:54pm
Fifa/Uefa have made some promises of 'assistance' to a select few clubs in the premier league in order to step back from the reform proposals.
And so it continues....the rich get richer. The likes of Jordan Henderson and co can expect a very nice increase in salary. The common fan has been hoodwinked again. When will we the common people, stop being so easily led down the garden path.

One greedy conglomerate just went to battle against another.The victor just better financed and positioned.
on the 22nd April, 2021 at 9:07am
Watched the second half and another headless chicken display. We all love Pirlo but Juve is a club that needs a strong, well seasoned coach with a clear style of play. I get the impression that Pirlo just sends them out and says just do what comes natural. Juve will finish in the CL spots, maybe even second but the whole club needs a complete overhaul.
on the 22nd April, 2021 at 7:06am
Looks bleak for Milan considering the remaining matches, but of course I am staying optimistic for our chances, no matter how small it is. Hopefully it would bring out our 2020 best again as we tend to play better when we are underestimated, instead of being bunch of cocky clowns lately when we have achieved zero so far.
on the 22nd April, 2021 at 2:28am
Disappointed with today's result, but the ball wouldnt go in. Spezia scored from a howler and held on, but we had sooo many chances. 2 goals chalked off in the last 5 minutes says it all. Not stirring the pot, but interested if the milan fans still think im a troll for being confident theyd miss top 4? Viktor - you guaranteed top 4 a few weeks ago, is that still the case? What is everyones prediction for top 4?
on the 21st April, 2021 at 11:39pm
Napoli have the easiest run home, i think they will swoop in for 2nd spot. Juve have tough games so will be interesting how they respond. Atalanta and us have a very tough run home, although considering their form they must be fav for top 4. It may even come down to the last round, atalanta away will be a massive test and after this morning i think it may decide who finishes in top 4.
on the 21st April, 2021 at 11:35pm
Looking at the run home, i think the top 4 will be inter, atalanta, juve then a close finish betweeen napoli and Lazio. unfortunately for milan, they have shot themselves in the foot by losing today. Away trips to Lazio, Juve, Atalanta, would need to win at least 2 of these you would think to qualify for CL. Lazio play a lot better at home, atalanta and juve should comfortably beat them again. And they still have tricky games against torino (away) and cagliari (fighting to avoid relegation)
on the 21st April, 2021 at 11:28pm

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