When Gigi Buffon stepped onto the Allianz Stadium field for the final time as a Juventus player, the opposition that day, Hellas Verona, had already been relegated and had as little to play for standings-wise as the then-seven-time Italian champions had. Exactly a year to the day later, it was Andrea Barzagli and Max Allegri who were saying goodbye to their adoring fans at the stadium that has never seen Juve not win a Scudetto since opening its doors.
The competition wasn’t a relegation battler. It wasn’t even a mid-table side who was just seeing out the final couple weeks of the season. Atalanta entered Allianz Stadium on the brink of securing Champions League football for next season.
And with a 1-1 draw on a rainy Sunday night in Turin, one of Serie A’s biggest feel-good stories of the season got one step closer to seeing that happen.
Safe to say it was a good day for all parties involved — especially when you throw into the mix that Napoli absolutely dismantled Inter 4-1 in the night’s other fixture. (LOL INTER. Forever and ever. We will never, ever forget that. It is stuck on repeat — and they keep enabling us to keep it that way because they are Inter.)
For Juventus, the result of this didn’t matter. It didn’t matter in Buffon’s final game as a Juventus player. It didn’t matter in Alessandro Del Piero’s final game with Juventus. This is the common thread of the past eight home finales because, when you win the Scudetto the last eight years, one the biggest things on everybody’s mind come the final whistle is when the latest title celebration is going to start.
This day was about celebrating the trophy, of course. But it was also
Juventus didn’t play great. Hell, Barzagli didn’t play great before he was subbed out. (Not a lot of central defenders have when matched up against Duvan Zapata this season, so there’s also that.)
But, hey, that’s pretty much what we’ve been saying for weeks now, right?
I guess we should be used to it even though how Juve played wasn’t really important to me — and I’m probably not the only one who was thinking that knowing that a lot of Juventus supporters are also splitting their time as Atalanta supporters right now.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- The last weekend of the Serie A season, both in terms of Champions League spots and the final team to get relegated along with Frosinone and Chievo, is going to be absolutely crazy. I’m just going to sit back and root for chaos — and also try and stay awake since all the games are on at six in the morning where I live.
- Max Allegri subbed Andrea Barzagli off in the 15th minute of the second half. That’s probably Max’s nice little chef’s kiss moment for the day.
- The long hug between Barzagli and Allegri after the former came off the field didn’t have me tearing up, it had you tearing up. DAMMIT.
- Mario Mandzukic is totally going to tell people he was trying to score instead of get the ball back across the face of goal on his equalizer, right? I mean, we shouldn’t be surprised if Mario does say because it’s Mario Mandzukic and he’s a total hard ass.
- Leave it to Allegri’s final game in Turin as Juve manager where he has Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Mandzukic, Federico Bernardeschi, Juan Cuadrado (albeit at right back) and Moise Kean all on the field at the same time.
- A couple minutes before Bernardeschi got a straight red for his late tackle I posted on Twitter about how well he was playing since coming on at halftime for Alex Sandro. Sorry, guys. I guess I’ll take the L for that one.
- Just a warning: Most of these remaining random thoughts will be actual observations from the trophy celebration. You have been warned.
- Carlo Pinsoglio, who will likely be Juve’s starting goalkeeper in the season finale against Sampdoria, did his job perfectly on Sunday. You might be asking yourself what that job might have been. Well, here it is: Pinsoglio continuously told each player coming out of the tunnel to go the wrong way to get their medal. Surprisingly, he got a fair amount of his teammates to fall for it. It almost resulted in Rodrigo Bentancur taking a faceplant on the turf. Good job, Pinso.
- It is not surprising AT ALL that Martin Caceres came running out of the tunnel with a smile on his face and a Barzagli jersey on.
- Miralem Pjanic was shown on the screen looking for his son, Edin, and then locating the little fella a couple minutes later. Edin, as most kids his age probably would be, looked sleepy and not exactly a fan of the loud music. Poor, Edin. Give him some ice cream and snacks when you get home, Mire.
- Nearly all of the Juventus Women players were on hand to get their own Scudetto during a short halftime celebration. Then Juve’s women’s team came back out after the game to celebrate with the fellas in the rain. I don’t know, but as I become more and more of a fan of Juventus Women, it’s just cool to see the
- Speaking of which, you should not be surprised to see both Croatians at Juventus, Mario Mandzukic and Juventus Women backup keeper Doris Bacic, rocking their country’s flag around their respective waists. They’re out here to remind everybody they’re 100 percent Balkans.
- Seeing Allegri trot out of the tunnel as fast as anybody to get his medal while rocking a big smile on his face just made me happy. This season obviously had a whole lot of added pressure simply because of the emphasis on the Champions League and who their star signing over the summer was. And you have to think that, at times, that pressure was really wearing on him because of what was at stake. But knowing probably how hard this week has been, knowing that his run at the club is down to its final days, just to see him happy was refreshing. Like his tactics or not, he brought a lot to this club. As much as the standing ovations were for Barzagli on Sunday, a lot of them were also for Allegri — and he deserved every single one of them. Grazie, Mister.