All summer long Juventus have appeared to be building a squad to challenge for the Champions League, and after today’s draw Sporting Director Beppe Marotta made it clear that it was time for the Bianconeri to stand up and be counted among the favourites.
“The comments at this stage are always the same, people say it’s a simple enough group, but it always depends on us.
“From motivation to the determination we must count on to face opponents, regardless of their prestige, it’s always down to us. This is a tournament where a single result can be decisive, so we can never relax.”
Marotta clarified that Juve weren’t necessarily the outright favourites to lift the trophy that has eluded the club in recent years.
“I don’t know if we are the favourites, but we are among the favourites and mustn’t hide from that. The Ronaldo move was extraordinary, fought for personally by (President Andrea) Agnelli.
“We wanted to raise the quality level of the squad so that we could achieve what is apparently a dream, but we hope can become a reality.”
Cristiano Ronaldo, who was added to the squad this mercato to primarily achieve that goal, did not show up in Monaco to receive the Champions League Forward of the Season plaudits that he was nominated for.
“I can say it was a personal decision not to come and he made it earlier today.
“We want to respect that. As far as we are concerned, we are profoundly disappointed that he did not receive the trophy. This is for performances in the Champions League and not the World Cup, so we maintain Ronaldo deserved it more.
“I take nothing away from the decision of the jury, but if I had voted, I would’ve voted for Ronaldo. I don’t say that because he is our player, but as a lover of football.”
Juventus kick off their latest Champions League adventure with an away fixture at Valencia on Sep 19, and then return home to take on Young Boys on Oct 2. The double header against United starts at Old Trafford on Oct 23 with the return leg on Nov 7. Another home fixture against Valencia on Nov 27 follows, with the Bianconeri finishing off the group schedule away in Switzerland on Dec 12.