Everybody loves a Scudetto parade! - Valerio Pennicino
"Memorable" can be replaced by any kind of word you want. "Awesome." "F'ing awesome." "Fantastic." Whatever you want to roll with, I don't mind.
To steal a line from Frank Sinatra, I feel pretty safe in saying that 2012 was a very good year.
There were plenty of moments that will live within our respective memory banks for a long time. There were some pretty goals and a few fancy celebrations that came with some of them. There was controversy, and the typical Italian reaction that comes with it. And there were records broken — most recently the most amount of points (94) collected in one calendar year.
It was 2012, a year where Juventus became Juventus again.
It's only fitting that on the first day of 2013, we look back at the previous year and remember all those moments that made us feel warm and fuzzy. Or made us jump out of our recliners and scream happy things. Or made us wonder what the heck just happened because we were forced to watch Juventus games on crappy internet streams.
10. All of the goals. ALL OF THEM.
Juventus seemed to score in just about every way possible this year. There were incredible individual efforts — bicycle kicks, slick one-on-one moves, all of the above. There were so many memorable goals, and so many different players played a hand in them. Midfielders, strikers, wingers, defenders. Everybody — who weren't legally allowed to use their hands and wear gloves on an everyday basis.
It's hard to say what exact goal was the best one of them all because a lot of them were just so darn good, but this next one certainly ranks up there, doesn't it?
9. Del Piero's 700th appearance capped off with a goal (duh)
The man just knows when to rise to the occasion — and his game-winning goal against Lazio wasn't any different.
I'm just gonna watch because it's pretty. Oh so pretty.
8. Supercoppa glory in Beijing
Even with all the drama surrounding off-the-field sporting justice rigmarole, Juventus hopped on a plane and flew to a completely different continent for the first official match since capturing the Scudetto in May. Even without Antonio Conte on the sidelines, Juve claimed the second trophy of the Andrea Agnelli era in mid-August. It was Kwadwo Asamoah's first game in a Juve jersey — and he delivered big time, putting in a MOTM performance along the way.
7. Andrea Pirlo's brilliance and the formation of MVP
Even before the beard, Andrea Pirlo was dominating the world. Even before the beard, Andrea Pirlo teamed up with Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal to form one of the best midfields in all of Europe. Each player so unique, each player so incredibly important to what Juventus does on a game-by-game basis.
Pirlo had one of the best years of anybody in the world. Vidal proved to be an absolute bargain — see what Real Madrid were reportedly offering Juve to sign him this past summer — for the €9.5 million he was signed for. And Marchisio continued to prove why he should be the next captain of Juventus whenever Gigi Buffon decides to retire.
6. Defense, defense, defense.
It was pretty noticeable early in the season that Juventus had a pretty good defense. But when Conte made the switch to the 3-5-2, Juventus' defense got even better. Conte's men finished with the best defense ever in Serie A. For a team to drastically switch how it plays defense tactically and personnel-wise, it not only speaks to the players the team has, but how it is organized and how well-drilled they really are.
Just one stat that proves just how good the defense was over the past 12 months: Juventus recorded 26 shutouts in all competitions in 2012.
That's, uh, absolutely remarkable.
5. Completely manhandling Chelsea and Champions League advancement
While Juventus' Scudetto-winning season was flat out fantastic (more on that later), there was something missing: Champions League football. But, the second part of the year saw Juve return to European competition and there may not have been too many victories — circumstances included — than how Juventus rolled through the defending champs.
If there's ever a model for a statement win, this was it. Juventus crushed Chelsea and all of Europe took notice.
4. Juventus Stadium's evolution into a complete fortress
When Juventus Stadium celebrated its one-year anniversary, it had already seen a lot take place on the field. Now that another four months has passed, there has been But, as we have seen, it's much more than just a place where Juventus wins matches. It's the atmosphere. It's the fact the crowd is right on top of the field instead of being 10 miles away because of a running track. It's everything. In it's short existence, Juventus Stadium
The new stadium may not be just one of the best things to happen to Juventus in recent memory, but possibly one of the best ever as time goes on. Yes, Juventus Stadium is just that damn important to this new Juve era.
3. The undefeated runs comes and goes
After 49 games in Serie A, Juventus' near-record-breaking run had to come to an end.
Some wins were impressive. Others made our heart rates and blood pressure go through the roof. Either way, it was one of the best runs Italian football has ever seen. Three men roamed the Juventus sidelines and the team kept on doing what it did so many times before — not losing.
1b. Lo Scudetto comes back to Turin
Just your average night Trieste, right?
Well, not really.
The final push towards title No. 30 had quite the conclusion. The victory, the storming of the field, the players and coaches trying to avoid said pitch-stormers — it was all beautiful. Even putting up with Marco Borriello's porn-stache became a little easier to tollerate.
Looking back on it, with Conte taking this team from one of its worst two-season period in a long time to Serie A champions in just under a year made the crown jewel of Juve's 2012 achievements that much more remarkable.
1a. Alessandro Del Piero's farewell — and the Scudetto celebration that came with it
Not a lot of things can overshadow a title celebration on the final day of the Serie A campaign. Well, Il Capitano certainly found a way to do exactly that.
A goal in his final match at Juventus Stadium and more, impressively, a lap of honor just minutes after he was substituted off the field for the last time. I know I've said it before, but how many times do you see a player — club legend, whatever his standing is — take a lap during the game? For those 40,000 or so people who were in attendance on May 13, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Oh, and there was also the whole matter of being crowned champions.