Long Reads

Juventus – Once Disgraced, Now The Old Lady Shines

In 2006 the Calciopoli scandal rocked Italian football to the core. At the centre was five Serie A & B clubs, AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, Reggina and the main culprits, Juventus.

All five clubs were all found guilty of being involved in a vast network with the Italian referee’s organisation in selecting favourable referee’s for fixtures involving their clubs. But Juventus received the greatest punishment after general managers Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo were found guilty of having conversations with several officials of Italian football to influence the appointment of referee’s.

Each club involved received varying degrees of punishment, but the most severe repercussions fell at The Old Lady’s door.

For the first time in the clubs history, Juventus were relegated to Serie B after being downgraded to last place in the 2005/06 Serie A season, as a result the Turin giants were stripped of their league title and rivals Inter Milan became the beneficiaries.

Juventus were also stripped of their 2004/05 league title and ordered to commence the 2006/07 season in Serie B with originally a thirty point deduction, but following an appeal, their deduction was reduced to just nine.

With the Old Lady’s reputation in tatters and the prospect of beginning a season outside of Italy’s top flight, manager Fabio Capello and many top stars departed Turin for some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Lillian Thuram, Gianluca Zambrotta (both to Barcelona), Emerson, Fabio Cannavaro (both to Real Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Patrick Vieira (both to Inter Milan) and Adrian Mutu (Fiorentina) completed the exodus from the disgraced Italian giants.

Not all of Juventus’s top stars decided to leave the club during the summer of 2006, club legends Gianluigi Buffon, Pavel Nedved, David Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero all made the brave choice to remain in Turin and help return the club back to Serie A.

These four players where certainly the highest profile players to stay with Juventus, but they were not alone. Giorgio Chiellini, Robert Kovac, Giuliano Giannichedda, Mauro Camoranesi, Jonathan Zebina also made the decision to stay in Serie B.

Despite the nine point deficit, Juventus went on to win Serie B at the first time of asking by six points under the reign of former captain Didier Deschamps, finishing ahead of Napoli and Genoa who too joined the Old Lady in gaining promotion back to Serie A.

Upon returning to Italy’s top division all seemed well. Under Claudio Ranieri, Juventus finished third in Serie A and qualified for the Champions League in 2007/08. A runners-up spot followed in the 2008/09 season but ten points behind champions Inter Milan was deemed unacceptable by then club president Giovanni Cobolli Gigi and Ranieri lost his job.

What followed under the stewardship of Ciro Ferrara, Alberto Zaccheroni and Luigi Delneri was two seventh place finishes, with financial problems also, Juventus were suddenly in the wilderness and a first Scudetto since the Calciopoli scandal seemed along way off.

Juventus’ change in fortune began as a result of a change to their club president in 2010. Andrea Agnelli, an Italian businessman became the fourth member of the Agnelli family to run the Turin giants.

Andrea Agnelli has been credited as the main reason why Juventus are the Italian super-power they are today. Following the Calciopoli scandal, Agnelli was tasked with the completion of their new 41,507 seater stadium, along with balancing their finances in the wake of the ongoing recession that had hit Italy, whilst overseeing the greatest spell of success in the clubs history.

The appointment of former player and fans favourite Antonio Conte in 2011 sparked success at a level that has never been seen before in Italian football.

Between 2011-2019 Antonio Conte who was at the helm at Juventus for three seasons and then former AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, created history winning eight consecutive Serie A titles and an unprecedented four league and cup doubles in a row from 2015 to 2018.

When the Calciopoli scandal was brought to light in 2006, Juventus were widely regarded as a European power. The Old Lady had reached the European Cup/Champions League final in 1985, 1996 and 2003. Upon their return to Serie A the climb back towards the summit of the European game certainly was along way off, especially in the days of finishing in seventh place in 2011.

The wait to return towards to summit of club football, was just four years. Juventus competed with Barcelona in the 2015 Champions League final, and repeated the feat two seasons later were they faced European royalty, Real Madrid in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

The fact the Old Lady was defeated on both occasions, considering were they had come from as a club very nearly completed a magnificent comeback.

On the outside looking in on Turin, losing two Champions League finals doesn’t matter. The fact that Juventus are able to compete with Europe’s elite again is a fantastic achievement (of course the club won’t think it’s OK to lose two European finals) and they are a club who seem brilliantly run too. A new stadium and league title win after league title win have cemented their place as the dominant force in Serie A.

But were Juventus have been incredibly impressive is in the transfer market since Antonio Conte’s appointment in 2011.

According to transfermarkt.co.uk since 2011 Juventus have spent £1.1bn on some truly world class talents (and some not so world class talents!). Cristiano Ronaldo (£105.3m), Gonzalo Higuain (£81m), Matthijs de Ligt (£76.95m), Paulo Dybala (£36m), Douglas Costa (£41.4m) and Leonardo Bonucci (£31.5m) are just some of the talent that the rest in Serie A have to compete with week in, week out.

The hierarchy at Juventus have also been able to negotiate big transfer fee’s if a player has decided to leave Turin. Since 2011, £758.28m has been recouped through player sales meaning that their net spend is £350.15m, which amounts to just £38.91m spent per season.

Stars such as Paul Pogba (£94.5m), Arturo Vidal (£33.75m), Alvaro Morata (£27m), Leonardo Bonucci (£37.8m in 2017, re-signed in 2019) and Joao Cancelo (£58.5m) are just some of the high profile departures from Juventus.

The most impressive part of Juventus’s recruitment has been their exploitation of the Bosman ruling. Since Antonio Conte arrived as coach, Conte, Allegri and now current coach Maurizio Sarri have signed Andrea Pirlo, Lucio, Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Llorente, Kingsley Coman, Sami Khedira, Dani Alves, Emre Can, Aaron Ramsey, Adrian Rabiot and Gianluigi Buffon all on free transfers.

Those players alone would be a formidable opponent for anyone, but factor in the marquee signings too and you have an outstanding football business model. A business model that has turned The Old Lady from a national disgrace to the shining light of Italian football.

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About the author

Mike Jump

Mike Jump is the creator of opinionfootball.strikingly.com and has a passion for talking, discussing and writing about football which is a challenge fitting this around a full time job and being a father of three but it's not stopped him yet!!

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