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.