In a month of May that is reshaping the geography of Serie A, Juventus decided to part ways with Massimiliano Allegri. The separation between the league title holders and their winning coach was made official yesterday in a sober press conference. Allegri leaves Juventus after five years in which he won five Scudetto, four Coppa Italia, and two Supercups.
The 2005-2006 season was the last for Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Juventus. Ibra had moved to the Bianconeri one year earlier, and even if his second season in Turin was far less impressive than the debut one, he still found the way to show dazzling glimpses of his talent – like the magic trick that helped Juventus trample Roma 4-1.
All is fair in love, war, and the Derby of Turin. In what became known as the derby of “Maspero’s hole,” not only did Torino midfielder Riccardo Maspero grab a late equaliser to set the score to 3-3, but he also prevented Juventus from snatching a late win by sabotaging the penalty kick spot and causing Marcelo Salas to miss his shot.
Juventus’ Champions League Curse continues. The Bianconeri ended their run in the elite European competition once again in the Quarter Finals, demolished by a magnificent Ajax. Coach Erik ten Hag’s squad raided the Allianz Stadium, snatched an epic 2-1 win, and progressed 3-2 on aggregate to show their face among the Top Four after 22 years.
Fabio Quagliarella was in his athletic prime when in 2009 he signed a dream deal to play for his hometown club Napoli. But his honeymoon would last only one year, as the following summer he abruptly moved to Juventus. The reality behind his transfer would emerge only years later, when he could finally reveal that he had to leave Napoli due to a stalker.
The Campionato has found a ruler already, and it is – surprise, surprise – once again Massimiliano Allegri and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus. The Zebras got rid of their most plausible contender, coming from behind to topple Napoli 3-1 in the match clou of Serie A Round 7 and widening their lead to 6 points. Juve thus increased their perfect records to 8 seasonal wins in a row.
It finally happened in his fourth game. It took 344 minutes for Cristiano Ronaldo to score his first Italian goals – a double at the Allianz Stadium to help Juventus overcome Sassuolo’s resistance in Serie A Round 4. He had probably imagined this moment to be different, likely more exciting than the easy tap in from no distance with which he broke his drought.
On April 1st, 2000, the Delle Alpi Stadium in Turin hosted a match that could determine the Scudetto winner, between capolista Juventus and pursuer Lazio. Both clubs lined up an impressive collection of star players, including Zinedine Zidane and Alex Del Piero on the part of Juve, Diego Simeone and Pavel Nedved for Lazio, and the Inzaghi brothers on different sides.
Rome, Stadio Olimpico. Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli came, beat 2-1 Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio and collected their first three points to push “relegation” away. Oh yes, relegation, as many commentators would argue. These three points contributed to appease a hysterical fan base, turned scared and neurotic on the wave of some national and local press’ comments.
Welcome to Serie A, Cristiano. This is the place where even a visit to a marginally-intimidating provincial club can be full of dangers, and where what was meant to be a showcase-match for CR7’s landing in Italy can turn into a nightmare for seven-time league champions Juventus. Massimiliano Allegri’s side pulled it off, but not after going down to Chievo.
Juventus’ signing of Cristiano Ronaldo will go down as the big hit of this summer’s transfer market. But other Serie A clubs have not been sitting on their hands. Napoli secured the services of coach Carlo Ancelotti, and now dreams of bringing back Edinson Cavani. Inter stole some key players from their direct opponents, whereas Roma decided to bet on fresh forces.
They really did it. Juventus brought to Serie A Cristiano Ronaldo, signing him on a 4-year deal. To secure the services of CR7, President Andrea Agnelli invested 112 million euro, and Ronaldo’s salary will be 30 million euro per season, which corresponds to the market value of some whole Serie A clubs. The Old Lady thus gave Italian football one of the clearest talent of all time.