Juventus take on AS Roma on Sunday but talk continues to surround manager Massimiliano Allegri’s future at the club. Allegri himself is taking all that chatter in a lighter vein, and laughed when asked about it in his pre-match press conference.
“It is amusing me for a very simple reason. I reflected this morning, thinking imagine if over these years I’d have not brought in a few trophies? They’d have burned me at the stake!
“I’ll meet the President over the week and we’ll talk about the situation, 360 degrees, the way we always do every year.
“I told him after the Ajax game that I wanted to stay, then you in the media like to dress it up in bows and whistles.
“I have gratitude to the President and the club. Not everyone likes me and I don’t think I’d want them to anyway. In the end, it’s about results and over the last few years we’ve done a good job here along with the club, so I am happy with what we’ve achieved.”
The manager has continuously been asked by the media if his plans for the next season matched that of the Club President, Andrea Agnelli.
“I said before the Ajax game that my decision was to remain. Over the week we’ll meet up and talk, that’s it. Stop asking the same question, or I’ll have to keep giving the same answer.
“It might be a bit more clamour around it here because we were eliminated from the Champions League. Some people evidently thought winning the Champions League was as easy as winning a beach football tournament over the summer holidays.
“I’ve had my ideas for six months on how to proceed and on the Juventus of next season. Now I’ll share those ideas with the President and we’ll see if they work together. I won’t tell you what those are, but I plan ahead, I can assure you.
“The meeting was not postponed, but brought forward, as usually we have this meeting after the end of the season. As for the other names, that’s part of the game. At AC Milan, they wrote that I would be replaced by Pep Guardiola, so just having his name in there again means I’m considered pretty good…”
Does Allegri believe that Agnelli wants him to stay?
“The President said after the Ajax game that he wanted me to stay. I have a good rapport with the President because we are very honest with each other and that is the most important thing.
“I am also open with Fabio Paratici, Pavel Nedved, I was with director Beppe Marotta. I always say the club is the most important thing and without a strong club behind you, it’s difficult to achieve great results.”
Despite all the talk about his future, Allegri brought up the small matter of the game tomorrow.
“Do you know we’ve got a game against Roma tomorrow, with 50,000 people in the stands? We’ve got to play well, then there’s a wonderful celebration at home against Atalanta to enjoy the Scudetto.
“We also recovered a few players from injury. We’ve got Alex Sandro, Rodrigo Bentancur, Paulo Dybala, Emre Can, so they are back. In case you’re interested…
“Dybala’s position has been the same, from the start of the season to now. Last term, he played with Mario Mandzukic or Gonzalo Higuain, but Cristiano Ronaldo is a different player and therefore the combination isn’t the same, but Dybala’s position has not changed at all.”
There have been rumours about fullback Joao Cancelo, did he want him sold in the summer?
“Cancelo has improved since he arrived. He has extraordinary qualities in possession, especially when dealing with the ball on his own to emerge from a difficult situation.
“It’s true we have some players a bit further ahead in years, but we also have many youngsters who are still developing. It is a good mix in this squad, it was built really well. At the end of the year, we’ll evaluate all together with Paratici and Nedved the technical situations we need to improve.
“The strength of this Juventus over the last five years has been the way it changed. There are I think only three players left from when I first arrived, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci.”