It’s all over folks.
A season filled with anger, despair, joy, melancholy, and so many other conflicting emotions has come to an end. We made it to the finish line, Max, with a record-breaking seventh consecutive Scudetto and another record-breaking feat in the form of a fourth consecutive Coppa Italia to show for our journey. Simply typing those words and letting that reality sink in still feels extremely surreal, as if it were a reality that was altered by the Reality Stone.
Fortunately, though, this reality was very real indeed — and our existence is not being threatened by a very scary man — so we get to add another set of trophies to the Bianconeri collection. Despite the lack of games in May, there was still enough to look back on in the final month of the season.
There were two Juventus teams that emerged as Scudetto winners in the month of May, and one of them was the Juventus Women team. Rita Guarino’s side has only been in existence for 11 months but has already managed to win the Scudetto in its maiden season. They almost finished the season with a 100 percent record, but suffered consecutive 2-1 losses to Brescia and Fiorentina late in the campaign.
These losses proved to be crucial as they caused Juventus and Brescia to be deadlocked at 60 points each on the final matchday and meant that a league title play-off match was required to decide who would win the Scudetto. A 0-0 draw after 120 minutes resulted led to a penalty shoot-out but the Bianconere emerged victorious from this nail-biting showdown and were crowned champions of Italy.
Hence, with a stunning 64 goals scored and just 9 conceded, Juventus wins its very first Scudetto and will play Champions League football next season for the first time in its history!
Flirting with disaster
Juventus’ men’s team, on the other hand, seemed to be doing everything in their power to ensure that it would not win its seventh consecutive Scudetto.
On Matchday 36, Juventus played a seemingly straightforward home game against 15th-placed Bologna but what should have been a simple home game on the way to securing the title turned into an awkward, mildly embarrassing, and extremely stressful comeback after an inexplicable error by our beloved Gianluigi Buffon.
Yet again, though, our lightning in a bottle, Mr. Douglas “Flash” Costa, came off the bench to save the day. Although it was Cuadrado that forced the equalizer after Simone Verdi had put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot, Costa was utterly instrumental in creating the second (Sami Khedira) and third (Paulo Dybala) goals that spared Juventus’ blushes and secured a 3-1 home victory for the Bianconeri. It was a game that displayed the brilliant side of this team (Douglas Costa) and the utterly inexplicable/self-destructing side of it (Buffon’s error).
No lack of nerve-wracking entertainment with this team, though, that’s for sure.
Winning in style
With the Scudetto as good as wrapped up, Juventus traveled to the beautiful city of Rome hoping to secure a record-breaking fourth consecutive Coppa Italia title. The Milan side of Gennaro Gattuso — so vastly improved since the sacking of Vincenzo Montella — stood in the way of the Bianconeri’s m
7ythical quest. Despite our superiority on paper, though, I was still extremely nervous and wary because of how the arbitrary nature of one-off cup finals has the ability to overthrow teams’ expectations. Form and quality on paper goes out the window when the thrill of the opportunity for glory is factored into the equation in a one-off game.
Thankfully, my concerns could not have been further off the mark.
A tense and relatively uneventful first half was followed by the most unexpected avalanche of Juventus goals as the team scored four goals in just 20 minutes. Given that it’s the age of goalkeeping gaffes, I do have to recognize the unfortunate role that the young goalkeeping prodigy Gianluigi Donnarumma played in this stunning scoreline, but hey, life is rough, kiddo.
There was no better way for Allegri to hit back at all the grumbling fans and pundits that were voicing their discontent about Juventus’ lethargic and uninspiring style of play in the closing months of the season. The team kept a clean sheet, recorded one of its largest victories of the season, and did all of this against a team that was on a significant upswing in form with its new coach.
Sweet champagne to celebrate a very sweet victory.
But my heart says no!
It’s a summer of departures, ragazzi, as we say tearful and heartfelt goodbyes to some of the heroes of this legendary Juventus side.
Kwadwo Asamoah, Stephan Lichtsteiner, and Gianluigi Buffon — three important players in the era of the club’s rebirth and resurgence into Italian footballing dominance — are all packing up their bags and leaving the trophy-laden Allianz Stadium in search of new adventures elsewhere in the country/world. Of course, all our eyes (and hearts) were cast on Buffon during his surreal final appearance and substitution that melted the hearts of even the most iron-willed people watching, but Asamoah and Lichtsteiner also deserve due recognition for their invaluable contributions to the imperious Juventus side of the last seven seasons (despite the latter’s somewhat amusing penalty miss).
All of this, of course, ushers in a new era for Juventus, one of transition from the stalwarts that restored us to our rightful glory to that of young(er) blood eager to also carve their names into the hearts and souls of Juventini all over the world. It’s going to feel strange, uncomfortable, and sometimes sad, but it’s a journey that was bound to happen sooner or later. And it is a journey that we will experience together.
Through their incredible work in the last seven seasons, the senatori have forged this path for us. Now it’s up to those that follow in their footsteps to honor the hard work of the legends that came before them.
“Nothing and nobody is eternal.”
Let the (transfer) games begin!
There was no time wasted in getting the transfer rumors started once the season came to an end. To be fair, by the looks of things the rumors that have tickled our eyes so far actually seem to be quite legitimate: a €13 million euro transfer for the somewhat-forgotten Manchester United fullback Matteo Darmian, the confirmed interest in the shaggy-haired Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin, and the umpteenth near-confirmation of the incoming transfer of Liverpool midfielder Emre Can.
It’s nothing eye-poppingly dramatic so far, but I always prefer to leave all that transfer extravaganza to the English teams anyway, don’t you?
With the emotional departures of nearly all of the remaining senatori, there certainly are some places to fill in the squad. Besides the much-maligned and much-discussed issue of inadequate midfield personnel, the defense stands out as the most important part of the squad that is set to face the most piercing questions (note: I personally expect Barzagli to leave the club as well). All of this means that it should be yet another eventful summer mercato for the Bianconeri as it seeks to transition from the legendary veterans that defined an historic era towards a newer, fresher, but more uncertain future.
Ooh and there’s also the small matter of a World Cup happening.
May the odds be ever in our favor!