By 90Min
March 11, 2019

Here's an interesting stat, courtesy of OptaPaolo: "Juventus are the reigning Italian champion in the last 2500 days: only 46 of the 1069 different players who have faced the Bianconeri in Serie A in this period have managed more than one win against the Old Lady. Generation."

That one-word sign off is applicable. Because this Juventus side have been dominant to the point of crossing generations. It's been seven years since ribbons that would be potentially indiscernible in the 1940s have been adorned on a Serie A trophy. Seven years. And - and there's no doubt about this - it will soon be eight.

Which begs the question, is this the greatest Serie A side of all-time? Now, of course, in a league as star-studded and historic as this one, there are a myriad of contenders for this crown. 

From Juve in the 30s to Il Grande Torino in the 40s, who were tragically stopped short at five consecutive titles by the Superga air disaster of 1949, to Helenio Herrara's Inter in the 60s, to Juventus once again in the 80s and AC Milan in the 90s, it's a highly competitive field. 

It is also a deeply revealing question, depending on how you answer it. What do you look for in a football team? Is sustained excellence the pinnacle of sport, or is one season of unparalleled success actually sweeter? Those in the former camp (and of I Bianconeri descent) would point to the team of Antonio Conte, Massimo Allegri and Giorgio Chiellini. 

Those in the latter camp (and of a Nerazzurri persuasion) might point to the side of Jose Mourinho, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Milito, the only treble-winning team in Italian football history - which also came on the back of four consecutive titles, to be fair.

PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/GettyImages

Those in the middle (and of the remaining Rossoneri variety) would head straight for Arrigo Sacchi, Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and that deadliest of Dutch contingencies. 

Right. That's a lot of good teams. Which leads us to a question of semantics on which this may well hinge: Does European success factor in this domestic ranking? In theory, yes. Surely. Because it's in the cauldron of European competition that all great teams are remembered. 

Think of that Total Football-peddling Ajax side of 1965-73, or Real Madrid in the 50s. In fact, this latest iteration of Los Blancos is a fantastic example. They've won four Champions Leagues in five years. Yet they've won just two league titles this decade. Yes, that statistic may have been used as a signifier of why their success was unsustainable in their recent obituaries, but it won't stop them being compared with the aforementioned historic greats.

...And yet. 

European triumphs also have no bearing on league matters. Think of the two consensus (which is almost always a futile word in football) greatest Premier League teams in history - Arsenal's Invincibles and Manchester City's centurions. Both sides limped out of Europe at the quarter final stage. But that doesn't get brought up in any of the ceaseless debates, does it?

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All this is without even getting to the even murkier waters that exist in generational comparison, especially the generation following the Calciopoli scandal. Because, obviously, the Italian talent pool of the 1990s is not the same as the one found in this decade. Nowhere near it. And yet, much of that is down to that Calciopoli scandal, and no team was affected more by it than Juve

So, does their subsequent re-emergence from the depths of Serie B to unprecedented levels of dominance negate this lack of quality? Indeed, does the fact that, while the Premier League's equivalent debate hinges on two extraordinary feats of domestic achievement, Juve have accomplished both in this very period settle it completely? 

The answer to that question depends on your philosophy and allegiances, both in life and football. But that feels like fence-sitting at its finest. So I'll post this. The Old Lady's current run is the greatest feat in Serie A history. I'm happy to put my neck on the line with that one. I think the records will back me up and I can't see any other team replicating it this century, if the system, let alone the world, still exists. No one will likely get close.

But it is not the greatest team in Italian football history. Not by a long shot. Their European failings are a testament to this and the fact that Serie A is simply a different beast to what it was before the turn of the century. 

Tullio M. Puglia/GettyImages

Now, should they topple Atletico Madrid against the odds on Tuesday night and subsequently march to their first Champions League title in 23 years, as well as trounce their current record points total of 102, then we can talk. But for now, history retains its supremacy. 

Which part, you ask? Well, I'll tell you, but not before you tell me what your star sign is and where you were born. Please note, answers may vary.

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