As Juventus chases treble, 'legend' status, already an eye being cast to the future
It’s now six titles in a row for Juventus, who has already completed the domestic league and cup double for this season. The priority for the campaign, the reason the club splashed out money for the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, is to win the Champions League. There has been a big turnover since Juventus last played in the Champions League final, when it lost to Barcelona in 2015. Patrice Evra, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez, Alvaro Morata and Fernando Llorente have all left the club. But the current team is arguably stronger now, having been boosted with new signings like Dani Alves and Mario Mandzukic, who have already won the Champions League trophy elsewhere.
The recent form of Mandzukic, who scored in Juventus’s semifinal win over Monaco, has shown just how smart Max Allegri has been as coach. He changed the system from the normal three at the back to a four-man unit to allow Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado to play just behind Higuain. With Miralem Pjanic as a deep-lying playmaker, it works.
And so the talk before the final is already turning to how Juventus will keep things fresh for success in the future. Speculation continues to swirl over the future of Leonardo Bonucci, who, if he leaves, could go for a world-record fee for a defender. Atalanta’s Mattia Caldara has already been signed for 2018. Then there is Allegri, with talks scheduled for after the final in Cardiff.
“When he arrived there was general skepticism, but he’s earned the trust of everyone,” club director Giuseppe Marotta said. “The relationship between the club and the coach is great.”
After the Scudetto was sealed with the 3-0 win over Crotone, the players wore T-shirts emblazoned with ‘LE6END’ to represent its sixth successive Scudetto. The same headline ran in the Gazzetta dello Sport and the Corriere dello Sport Monday morning. That status will be deserved if it beats Real Madrid in Cardiff next month and becomes the second Italian side to complete the treble, after Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan in 2010.