Max is back! In his first official pre-match press conference since returning to Juventus, coach Massimiliano Allegri was his usual jovial self as he laughed and joked with reporters ahead of the season opener tomorrow against Udinese.
“As I have always said, the first game is very difficult, especially as Udinese are a physical side. They didn’t concede any goals from corners last season, are good on the counter and well-organised at the back.
“We must be ready, as to win we need a solid performance with good technique and a lot of patience.”
Manuel Locatelli’s move to Juve was finally confirmed this week, but Allegri confirmed that the midfielder was not ready to play yet.
“Aaron Ramsey is improving there and it’s a good role for him, as he doesn’t have to run as much there. I am happy with Locatelli’s arrival, but he needs 10 days of work to get into full squad. If he’s needed tomorrow, he can maybe play 15 minutes.”
Juventus are the bookmakers’ favourites to usurp Inter Milan and regain the Scudetto.
“Usually, the favourite is the team that won it last time… Let’s take it one step at a time and try winning the first game.
“I don’t feel that I have anything to prove, what I did in the previous five years will remain in the museum. We all have to challenge ourselves every day, otherwise we can’t be in a condition to win.
“It’s the same for Cristiano Ronaldo, he won five Ballon d’Or trophies, but if he has a bad season, people will only remember that. The same goes for Federico Chiesa, what he did at the Euros no longer matters.
“We must realise that in order to win the Scudetto, we need daily work that is physical, technical and mental. If we are still in the running for the title in March, that means the team has found its balance.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s future is always a subject of immense speculation, more so in the media than anywhere else. This summer has been no different and with latest rumours that a return to Manchester United is on the cards the forward is never far from the headlines. The 36-year-old did not feature in the preseason game against the Under-23s midweek only increasing speculation that he might be moving, but Allegri doused those rumours.
“Ronaldo didn’t play on Thursday because we were coming off a heavy training workload and I gave him half a day off.
“Ronaldo is an added bonus for us, because he guarantees a large number of goals. Obviously, we also have to work as a team to get the best out of an individual.
“He has always trained well, I just read the gossip in the papers. He never told us he wanted to leave. Ronaldo told me that he is staying at Juventus.”
Paulo Dybala’s agent will be meeting with the top brass again this week to work out his contract extension
“Paulo turned up to pre-season training as if this was his first year at Juve. He too knows that the last two seasons were not at the level of his potential. He’s talented, but you need to train at a certain intensity if you want to play football at a certain level. He will be the captain tomorrow, if he plays.”