Wednesday July 16 2014
Conte leaves gaping Bianconero hole

Antonio Conte’s resignation leaves Juventus scrambling and Luca Cetta wondering how it came about.

Juventus players and staff filed into Vinovo on Monday ready to commence pre-season training, Antonio Conte amongst them. All appeared well. The Italian champions were to begin preparations for a season in which they hope to continue their domestic supremacy and enjoy a better showing on the continent. The Coach got to work on the field. Fernando Llorente fronted the Press and stated Conte’s expiring contract – June 2015 – would have no bearing.

He didn’t even last that long.

“I need to announce the consensual decision to terminate the contract with Juventus, which tied us together for this season,” Conte said yesterday, in a video posted by the club. “There was a journey towards this decision.”

That journey can be traced back to May. In the immediate aftermath of Juve’s title success were suspicions the Lecce native would call it quits. Then a tweet: “Season 2014/15: Coach Antonio Conte”. The one-year committal was seen as a stop-gap before further negotiations on an extended deal. Yet on the second day of pre-season training the marriage came to a – seemingly – abrupt end.

Conte was hired in 2011 to get Juventus out of its post-Calciopoli slump. He did just that, playing a huge role in the Bianconeri returning to the top of the Italian game. Juve ended his first season undefeated. They broke the Serie A points record in his third. The Juventus machine was again rolling.

So what pushed Conte over the edge? There didn’t seem to be any indication of an issue surrounding his extension since the May discussions. Could the transfer market have played a role? The timing would help that theory.

There appear two schools of thought on that matter. One is the club failed to land targets he desired, such as Alexis Sanchez. To make a splash in Europe, Conte recognised the need for continual enhancement. Compounding the situation yesterday was the Juan Iturbe talks breaking down. The other has Conte unhappy with the club willing to sell either Arturo Vidal or Paul Pogba, yet indications are neither was for sale.

The word emanating from the Conte camp state the reason is not to do with the above, but a lack of drive and energy to continue. Whatever the motive, it’s a shock to the system.

Captain Gianluigi Buffon says he was unaware: “It was an unexpected decision, a bolt from the blue. Seeing the words used and the tone of the messages, we can see both the Coach and club reached this decision by mutual consent without any type of anger. Probably it is something that matured over time and had been brewing for a while until it reached its epilogue today.”

President Andrea Agnelli stated Juventus: “must continue their journey.” But it leaves them in a tight spot.

The new season starts in 46 days and the Bianconeri are without a Coach. Reports indicate Massimiliano Allegri is the frontrunner, with a two-year deal having been reached. Such a move would change the make-up of the team, at the very least diverging from the three-man defence. Juve’s aggressive and pro-active football under Conte also differs from Allegri’s style. Then there’s the Andrea Pirlo factor – would Allegri give Pirlo the integral role he did not at Milan?

Other candidates include Roberto Mancini – what of Carlos Tevez? – Zinedine Zidane, Luciano Spalletti and Sinisa Mihajlovic. Whoever is chosen, Juve must act fast. The resignation has already taken its effect on transfers in the works, such as Patrice Evra’s proposed move.

As for Conte’s future, the Italy bench is the most high-profile position available. The Azzurri are in need of a tactician, but nothing will be decided until after the August 11 Presidential election. Not that Conte would be drawn in to the speculation: “At this moment I am thinking about the present and the decision I just made.”

And Juventus fans will be thinking about it for some time. Conte returned to the Old Lady at a low point and dragged her from mediocrity to become one of Juve’s most successful Coaches. Now they must move forward as smoothly as possible to continue down the winning path Conte laid out.

Have your say...
Whatever his reasons, grazie Mister Conte - he raised us from Inter-level mediocrity to Serie A champions, and in style. Last I checked, though, Conte never kicked a ball on the field - as long as those players remain, we will still be very strong. The other teams should not be lulled into false hope that they now have a chance...
Forza Juve, fino alla fine!!
on the 19th July, 2014 at 2:32pm
Well there will be a greater responability on them now than ever before, so I hope they do, God forbid that other teams would have to find another excuse for their short comings than the fact refs help Juve, imagine you had to look at your own teams. this season roma will win the league, juventus management have done more harm than the federation did when they wrongly sent Juve down to serie B
on the 18th July, 2014 at 7:44am
@ Anonymous

No matter the forum, there's always some moron complaining about referee bias towards Juve isn't there?

Someone ask Allegri if he still thinks that disallowed Muntari goal cost his Milan the title that season (and in turn a dynasty), or if he'll admit now that Matri's goal should have stood and cancelled it out anyways. What a clown. Hats off to our new manager.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 1:11am
Disaster for Italian football, really thought Juve might invest properly on the transfer market possibly from Pogbas sale and really push into Europe but with Allegri in charge forget about it. This will push both Vidal and Pogba out of Serie A. Was Spalletti not available?
on the 17th July, 2014 at 8:18pm
What a great day for Roma. Our signings so far are ok and our nemesis has lost their best asset and I think we could walk it this year as Milan & Inter haven't improved much either and Benitez at Napoli is a joke they should of kept Mazzarri.

Roma could be the force now, strong team, new stadium on the horizon, amazing manager and keeping our best players was key also, i.e. Benatia & Strootman.

Forza Roma!
on the 17th July, 2014 at 2:31pm
Juventus will not become losers in the league without Conte. The league is still so easy and uncompetitive that Juve will either win it or be in the top 3. Roma and Napoli are the only ones that could beat us. Milan and Inter are worse than juve.

However this is still a big step back in Europe. Conte was poor but he needed better players. Its easy to tell what happened. Conte left very shortly after Arsenal took Sanchez and Man u had strong links with Vidal.

We need a manager like Rafa, LVG
on the 17th July, 2014 at 12:40pm
Don't worry juventus supporters, your best performers, including Rizzoli, De Marco, Bergonzi, Rocchi, Orsato, and Russo will all remain.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 12:14pm
the fact is that the management has no ambition. Pogba and Vidal will leave. Juve will become the Arsenal of Italy.. perennial losers always wanting to "balance" the books.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 11:22am
@manni - you hit the nail right on the head. BM does not know how to broker a deal. Looks like he is a 'bargain basement' kind of director who does not have an eye for talented players. Moggi had a very unique blend of understanding football both as a sport and a business. I have a feeling that Conte was showing BM the ropes and eventually got tired of it all. I am afraid Conte's departure has more to do with the borad's inability to fulfil their promises for top players.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 10:18am
...achieved more than us in Europe was because Berlusconi for all what he is as a human being, he truly loved Milan as a club, and where that love ended, Milan is suffering that now. We need fan-owners, not business-minded people.
Gives us back our beloved club Agnelli. We thank you for what you did, but enough is enough.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 10:07am he thought there's no point continuing his vision. I've been critical of agnelli-marotta since they came in power. They have spent senselessly for nearly 4 years now. They did get it right in a few signings but that's it. They never tried to fulfil conte's vision even though they saw his formula was a winning formula. With all my heart i wish this agnelli dynasty to come to an end. We don't need these greedy money making people. We need a real fan of the club. The reason why Milan.....
on the 17th July, 2014 at 10:04am
I like to thank Conte for three incredible years he had given to us fans of this great Italian club.
I am though a bit concern about the style of play we would follow under Allegri. Its a bit ironical that we employ somebody who has ill spoken about us quite a lot when he was coaching Milan. That shows that our club's elite don't give a damn about principles. I loved the style of play Conte brought to us. With the right players we would have surely dominated Europe. The players never arrived....
on the 17th July, 2014 at 9:59am
Just read Gazzetta & hilarious to read the players Juve are now linked with. Under Conte Iturbe,Morata & Sanchez young talents & a champion. Allegri Pastore, Lamela, Jovetic, Moura the value purchases, you could probably sneak on loan becuase they haven't really performed for their clubs over the last 12 months. Juve can give as much spin as they like but they clearly didn't have the brass to back their manager to go deep in the CL. What are they worried about another Calciopoli? SerieAisDead
on the 17th July, 2014 at 8:49am
I have a message to all Juventini.Vote with your feet and show the Juve directors that we will not accept this idiotic plan they have for the future.Why do we have to agree with this action?

Frank M.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 8:16am
As Juve fan, I'm almost in tears over all this. Never liked Marrota. dont think i ever will. we just shot ourselves by letting Conte go. What team gets to the top of Europe by letting their best players go? What happens on the field determines how much u make. we just let go of our leader and brought in a clueless guy. lets hope n pray things go right for us. i think dis is a huge setback.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 8:15am
I don't like the style of Allegri when he coached Milan before, no passion at all.. And I dont like the way he always comment on 'Muntari's phantom goal' when Milan lost in Serie A.. Marotta, please reconsider this decision!! Why not give Zidane a chance to coach Juve? (in my mind, I prefer Deschamps to come back to Juve again, perhaps he can exploit the best of Pogba)
on the 17th July, 2014 at 3:32am
Allegri is not ideal but he didn't destroy Milan the directors did that by selling all the talented players and bring in cheap substitutes the only thing that is truly concerning for juve is they're transfer strategy they've been fortunate with some freebies for them to step to the next level they need to get the finished product not up and comers. Honestly speaking this is Roma's season to lose with Napoli close behind. The moves that happen in this window will signal the intent of seriea clubs
on the 17th July, 2014 at 12:24am
Ppl talked on these blogs of respect for juve and how they were everything and the only thing in italy . Show some respect to the other side who will carry the flag for serie a in Europe this year. I also don't believe that because conte left the league will be more open it was already going to be more open. Plus juve just like the others in the past years failed serie a in europe. Yes this will weaken juve some but there not going to get relegated with alegri in charge it will be tough for sure
on the 17th July, 2014 at 12:09am
Allegri to bring Van Bommel out of retirement and prefer him to Pirlo. Deja vu.
on the 16th July, 2014 at 10:21pm
Marrota is not a top director he never has been, iv said this all along he cant get rid of players and ends up loaning then selling for pennies, ok so we got a couple of jems but Conte turned them into what they are..a manager says who he wants then the directors go and try get them..marrota looks at alternatives always and can never close a deal when it truely counts and this has cost us, even more so now, contes timing is bad but there MUST be a reason this has happened the way it did..
on the 16th July, 2014 at 10:04pm
Great so iturbe signs for roma! From Conte to allegri! What are the board thinkin! Its goin to be tough to keep or sign players, how has iturbe gone for that much and juve couldn't pay! This is a farce, we've gone backwards..even inter have a better squad then us and potential, napoli too and roma, wat i want to know is where is all the stadia and previous champs league money? And sponsors thing is for sure money doesn't come without success! And now we look like a disaster
on the 16th July, 2014 at 9:59pm
Allegri to be fair is the only Italian manager that is able to coach the best club in Italy. With all the rubbish Mancini use to say in press conferences about juventus while at inter that would have been the biggest joke having him as the boss. To be honest going forward as long as marotta tells the truth about Vidal and pogba are not for sale then we are ok. Anyway allegri looks to bring in abate who is way better that Isla and Astori who is better than ogbonna. DON'T Judge till JAN!!!!!
on the 16th July, 2014 at 9:52pm
Allegri has done better than Conte in the Champions League. Conte is overrated. He keeps saying his team lacks world class players but has the likes of Tevez, Vidal, Pogba, Pirlo and Buffon. players that the Copenhagen's,Porto's and Galtassarays dream of having.Yet his teams couldn't beat them. Conte is good but not great yet. Selfish move on his part
on the 16th July, 2014 at 9:25pm
Conte's first day of training, he took 2 hours to explain what it meant to wear that shirt. He bleeds black and white. He is a pathological winner. He is right when he said that Juve can't go much further. They need to invest. The whole Juve-Conte world was brilliant and they took it away from the fans. Good luck playing in front of half empty stadiums this year. 4th place at best. Allegri has no clue and no one wants to play for him. Goodbye Morata, Evra, and Iturbe
on the 16th July, 2014 at 9:16pm
The timing of AC's termination is awful, just as the season is about to get underway. There must have been bad blood between he and the club. But what's next for him? The National team is a part-time post compared to the daily duties of a club coach.
on the 16th July, 2014 at 8:00pm
On the plus side at least Serie A will be more competitive this year and Juve won't run away with the title again.
on the 16th July, 2014 at 7:19pm
Why blame Conte for leaving so close to pre-season?
Blame Agnelli and Marotta for feeding him lie after lie about being able to get the players he requested and then failing to pick them up.

Conte had enough and left.
Conte is not to blame here.

Marotta has always been an average at best director, i never praised him for the lat few was a combined effort.

Now required the $$ to be spent to make the jump. Juve wre ready to make the jump, but this guy is too scared.
on the 16th July, 2014 at 6:57pm
Brass balls. If only there were more Italians like him in italian football. Unfortunately the masses prefer someone to compromise their beliefs and do what's political correct. Shame on all of you who have had a go at Conte. You don't deserve to be winners. Let's hope he lays down the law to the figc, takes the Italy job and brings his winning mentality to gli azzurri.
on the 16th July, 2014 at 6:21pm
we have seen 2 Italian managers quit in a month. One for abject failure, leaving disarray behind him. The other a star studded team with a winning mentality. The former has been praised for resigning and being accountable for failure. The latter at least in this forum, criticised for leaving his team in the lurch. There is nothing honourable in failing and quitting. Conte on the other hand, is an uncompromising winner, who knows what he wants. I admire his determination, winning mentality and
on the 16th July, 2014 at 6:15pm
Letting Conte go is stupid but hiring Allegri is disastrous.
on the 16th July, 2014 at 5:59pm

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