European success eludes Allegri
ROME, May 14, (AFP): Juventus were crowned Serie A champions for the seventh year in a row on Sunday maintaining their dominance in Italian football while European success continues to elude the Turin giants. It was a double Roman celebration five days after Massimiliano Allegri’s side won the Italian Cup title with a 4-0 win over AC Milan in the Stadio Olimpico.
“Maximo Masterpiece” headlined the Gazzetta dello Sport of Allegri who has won the league and Cup double in all four seasons since he arrived from AC Milan in 2014. “Allegri is the prophet of a team that writes history, the Turin triumph was expected, but it is still impressive, what else can one say about the extraordinariness of this Juve epoch and its incredible protagonists? Adjectives are no longer enough, the numbers speak for themselves.” Hundreds of fans gathered at the Piazza San Carlo in Turin waving fl ags with the number 7 after Sunday’s goalless draw with AS Roma sealed another triumph with one game to go after a gripping battle with Napoli.
“We’re looking forward to celebrating with our fans on Saturday,” said Allegri of the final game against Verona followed by an open-top bus parade through the city. The trophy will be awarded then and a farewell ceremony expected to honour retiring skipper Gianluigi Buffon. “Four years like these don’t come along often,” said Allegri. “Credit goes to the lads for keeping their cool, taking things one step at a time towards our final objective.” But the Turin giants failed to reach their main goal of winning a third Champions League title and first since 1996. Allegri had led them to two finals in three seasons but this time their challenge ended in the quarterfinals to Real Madrid.
And despite speculation linking Allegri with the vacant Arsenal manager’s job, club CEO Giuseppe Marotta said he was confident he would remain to target the elusive European title. “There is a lot of optimism. I believe that this relationship can continue,” said Marotta. “The Champions League is something imponderable that we always see close but never manage to grasp. “In the Champions League the difficulties are higher than those in the championship, but we have this goal ahead of us and we will definitely go for it again next season.”
Meanwhile, Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli won 2-0 in Sampdoria to give them the meagre consolation of a new club record of 88 points. “It goes without saying Juve are more powerful in every way,” said Sarri, who lamented that Napoli played many games after the champions. Juventus’s last-gasp 3-2 comeback victory over Inter Milan two weeks ago delivered the killer blow to Napoli’s bid for a first title since the days of Argentina legend Diego Maradona back in 1990. “We needed to go to bed early on that Saturday night in Florence,” said Sarri. “The only regret I have this season is that we lost the Scudetto in the hotel and not on the pitch. “The team suffered a psychological blow and felt it for the timing and the way that result came about. “We played after Juve 14 times in the last 16 rounds and seeing as Juve pretty much always win, that badly damaged us. “This sport has become a business for everyone.”