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Manu’s Grab Bag: All Your Coppas Belong To Us

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We talk about the youth, the club legends and hindsight being undefeated.

Atalanta BC v Juventus - TIMVISION Cup Final Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images for Lega Serie A

ALL (Domestic) CUP CHAMPS, BABY!

Say what you will about how good or bad rooting for Juventus — and this specific iteration of Juventus — is, but in their worst season in a solid decade they still somehow managed to lift two trophies. For 99% of Italian football, this would be a banner year. Yes, we are spoiled.

Whatever the future holds for this club we still don’t know, but thanks to their convincing win of 2-1 against Atalanta — whom they had failed to beat this year — they at least finish the season on a high note and are guaranteed a spot in next year’s Supercoppa against Inter, so we already have something to look forward to!

Let’s cook.

MVP: Dejan Kulusevski

Kulusevski saved his best for the beginning of the season and for the last of it.

If you forget all the mediocre at best and ghastly at worst performances we saw from him during the middle of the season, he sure looks like the future star that we all thought he could be. Working as a second striker — with some added defensive responsibilities — he had one of the better displays we’ve seen from him this year, scoring a gorgeous curler to open the game and then assisting Federico Chiesa for the winner.

Poll

Who has the best left-footed curlers on the Juventus roster?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Paulo Dybala
    (167 votes)
  • 29%
    Dejan Kulusevski
    (70 votes)
237 votes total Vote Now

(Best left-footed curlers on the team, Kulu or Paulo Dybala? Compare, contrast and discuss.)

Kulusevski didn’t have a great season overall, but by virtue of his youth, inexperience and price tag, it’s almost a lock that he will be a part of next season’s squad, so it’s a net positive that he regains some of the form and confidence that made him such an enticing prospect.

An MVP caliber performance in the Coppa Italia final is a good place to start.

Runner Up: Federico Chiesa – Who else? Should have scored earlier, but the way he created the goal out of nothing was vintage Chiesa. He and Kulu are the future for Juve on the wings, if we see more from them pairing up like we did on Wednesday that future looks pretty set.

Season Leader: Cristiano Ronaldo (13 Points)

Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo

He had a good game and should have had a beautiful assist if Chiesa is a bit more clinical, but really he’s a winner here because after three seasons as a Bianconero he finally gets to lift the Coppa Italia which was the only domestic trophy that he hadn’t won as a member of Juventus.

As with much of the squad, his future is a complete uncertain at the moment as it seems that he’s a lock to go or stay pretty much on a weekly basis. But if this is the end of the road for him, it’s nice and much deserved that he got to go on a high note.

And if it isn’t? Well, he really only has one trophy left that he hasn’t lifted with the Bianconeri … that’s right Europa League, babyyyyyy.

Winner: The Youth

We can split hairs about the order, but, I think it’s fair to say that Juventus future is very much built around Matthijs de Ligt and Federico Chiesa, and both of them had great games to help the team lift the trophy.

De Ligt had a back and forth duel with Duvan Zapata that very much harkened back to those peak Giorgio Chiellini battles against the big strikers of his era, and Chiesa, well, we already talked about how instrumental he was and is for the team.

Outside of those top two, Kulu played great as previously mentioned and Weston McKennie struggled at first but grew into the game and was pivotal in closing it out. This team is in desperate need of an overhaul, but there is a solid foundation here already and that is encouraging to see.

Also, winning is one thing, but doing it with some panache? More of that, please.

Winner: Andrea Pirlo

Look, I still think he’s most likely cooked even if the planets align this weekend and Juve somehow make it to the Champions League. He’s been too inconsistent and the lows have been too low for one game to make a difference at this point.

However, if you still want to make the case for him as a coach for Juventus — or a coach in general — these are the types of games that make you have hope. After struggling against La Dea in their first two meetings, Pirlo set up the team perfectly to hold the pressure from Atalanta in the first half to then blitz the ever-loving hell out of the men led by Gianpaolo Gasperini in the second half.

(A half that might legitimately be the best played half they had in the whole season, considering the high-quality opposition. Playing that rope-a-dope like you hear about!)

Like every single other member of the team whose future is uncertain as all hell, if this is the end for him with Juventus there are worse ways to go than by winning the only two finals you led the team in and lifting a nice, shiny trophy for your troubles.

Hindsight Remains Undefeated

There is not a single person on earth — other than his immediate relatives perhaps — that really thought that Cristian Romero was a better center back prospect than Merih Demiral. It was a universally accepted truth.

Did some of us think that letting Romero and Daniele Rugani go at the same time would leave the team a little bit thin at the center back position? Sure. Would I have preferred to keep him just because he is my distant Argentinian cousin? Absolutely. But we all understood that you had to let one of the two go and Demiral was far and away the favorite in the clubhouse and with good reason, might I add!

So, yeah, it kinda sucked to see Romero lead the Atalanta backline while Demiral remained nailed to the bench. The Argentinian defender had a remarkable season as a whole and his ridiculously cheap option to buy will most certainly be activated while Demiral had an injury marred season that even when he was healthy was plagued by inconsistencies.

Sometimes that happens in sports, it doesn’t make it suck any less.

(I also dug how he got under Ronaldo’s skin and was then completely unfazed by Ronaldo himself getting in his face after. If he had done that as a Juve player against some other star player we would have loved that and you all damn well know it.)

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

#ITAL14ANCUP (!!!)

Credit where freaking credit is due, this one ain’t half bad.

Though, it does seem like a natural point to end the thing, no? Like I get it was the rage when the streak started, I understand that Juventus continued dominance forced their hand to keep the numbers-instead-of-letters thing alive far past the expiration date and they had no choice.

I get all of it, I really do, but this seems like a natural point to end it. Put it out of its misery, much like this season as a whole let it end on a high note and move on Juventus Social Media Team.

Who are we kidding, I can already see it when Juve win the league again.

#ChampsAga1n, heard it here first.

Parting Shot of the Week

Football is rarely “fair” and it sure ain’t about who “deserved” it more.

So when something like Gianluigi Buffon getting to ride into the sunset in his last match as a Juve player by lifting one last trophy happens, sometimes you just have to appreciate those type of moments.

This might be the end of the line for a couple of Juve greats, it was fair and deserved to see them off with a trophy on their hands and by god they did.

This season wasn’t what we all wanted it to be, but football gave us this and it feels pretty damn good.

See you Sunday.