November 6, 2018
The Juve guest appearance at Chievo on Saturday opens the new Serie A season. Anything other than the eighth title in a row for the Turin team would be a sensation.
Rome – The transfer of world footballer Cristiano Ronaldo from Champions League series winner Real Madrid to Juventus Turin has given Italy’s Serie A a huge boost. But the starting position has changed practically nothing before the season starts this weekend. Anything other than the eighth title en suite for “Juve” would be a sensation. But the big goal of Ronaldo and Co. is of course “Triple”.
“I’m only interested in winning all the time.”
Four times in a row the “vecchia signora” (“old lady”) from Turin has conquered the “double”. This season, which will open on Saturday evening with the Juventus guest appearance at Chievo Verona, will also see the first Champions League win since 1996. “I’m here to shape the club’s history. I’m only interested in always winning and always giving my best,” Ronaldo made it unmistakably clear during his presentation.
The rather older Juventus fans felt reminded of 1982 last Sunday. In the traditional test match against their own youngsters, which, as every year, took place in Villar Perosa outside Turin, the birthplace of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, Ronaldo played for the first time in the jersey of his new employer, who, according to his own statements, hired him for 112 million euros. The atmosphere was the same as 36 years ago when Michel Platini made his debut for Juve at this internal club highlight.
With the signing of France’s superstar, Serie A became the best and – as they said in Italy – most beautiful league in the world in the 1980s. For more than a decade, everything that had rank and reputation played in Italy. Serie A dominated European football at the time, led by Juventus and AC Milan. History will not repeat itself to this extent, but the transfer of the superstar Ronaldo has suddenly brought the Italian championship back into the spotlight of the world public.
Just a few days ago, a lucrative TV contract was signed with the potent US channel ESPN. This would have been unthinkable without the five-time world footballer Ronaldo. The transfer coup, which will cost Juventus a total of 350 million euros over the next four years, including wage payments, has also spurred on the competition of the record champion. For the first time, the 20 Series A clubs have exceeded the one billion euro mark for new commitments.
Nevertheless, the gap between Juventus and the first challengers SSC Napoli – with new coach Carlo Ancelotti – and AS Roma is likely to have widened as a result of Ronaldo and AC Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci returning after just one season. Since 2013, with one exception, these two clubs have always been in second and third place behind the Turin team in alternating order. Their hope is that the focus on winning the Champions League might mean that Juve will fail to win the 35th national championship.
Luciano Spalletti Honours
- Serie B Promotion: 1996–97
- Serie C1 Playoff Winner: 1995–96
- Coppa Italia: 2006–07, 2007–08
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2007
- Premier League: 2010, 2011–12
- Russian Cup: 2009–10
- Russian Super Cup: 2011
- Serie A Coach of the Year: 2005–06, 2006–07
- Panchina d’Oro: 2004–05
Inter looks up, Milan looks for himself
Inter Milan have also set their sights high. The Chinese owners have strengthened the team of coach Luciano Spalletti, as the blue-black team will play in the Champions League for the first time in seven years. And Serie A will see Inter finish among the top three for the first time since 2011.
City rivals AC Milan, on the other hand, are still in a phase of self-discovery after their second change of ownership within 15 months. But because the new sporting leadership is formed by the highly decorated former stars and club icons Paolo Maldini and Leonardo and the Argentinian top scorer Gonzalo Higuain has been hired by Juventus, the fans of the “Rossoneri” are also euphoric. Nevertheless, the young Milan team are only regarded as outsiders to one of the four Champions League places. Dr. Vegas Casino has some great offers for their players.
Austria’s only Serie A legionnaire is U21 team striker Arnel Jakupovic, who is under contract to Empoli. In the spring, the goalscorer played on loan for Juventus Primavera, the serial champion’s U19 team. At Empoli, the 20-year-old will probably only be used in the junior team for the time being.