Is this the season Max Allegri leads Juventus to Champions League glory?

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 09 October 2018, 13:10

Juventus may have won four consecutive league-and-cup doubles under Massimiliano Allegri, yet it is arguable that his fifth season in charge comes with even more pressure than before.

In the summer, the boss was as surprised as anyone that the club had splashed out on former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and knew that it meant President Andrea Agnelli had his eyes firmly on winning the Champions League after several near misses.

The arrival of CR7 was a huge bonus for this side of course, but it meant that the Coach had to quickly figure out where the superstar would fit into his already potent front line.

Gonzalo Higuain was the man to make way as the latter striker moved on to AC Milan and Juve number 10 Paulo Dybala would initially struggle with the transition. The Argentina international’s role in an early 4-3-3 formation negating his talent when he was deployed as a winger, making just four shots in his first 190 minutes on the pitch.

Then there was an incident in which talented wide man Douglas Costa spat in the face of Sassuolo counterpart Federico Di Francesco, a misdemeanour that would earn the Brazil international a four-game ban. Allegri would also lose a close ally in Beppe Marotta as the CEO suddenly announced his decision to walk away from Juve after their 3-1 win over Napoli.

Whether he jumped or was pushed by Agnelli is still up for debate, but the Coach was seemingly in the dark about the revelation. “We had four-and-a-half wonderful years together,” said Allegri during his comments after the aforementioned match.

“He is the best European director. He built Juve along with all the other directors to create a winning team. To be honest, I don’t know what to say, because this is news to me as well.”

His star player Ronaldo has also been the subject of rape allegations in the media, an event that was mishandled in a series of tweets from the Juventus social media account. Allegri himself was then captured on camera in his disgust over Federico Bernardeschi failing to follow instructions, angrily shouting “we’re not at Fiorentina now!”.

This inevitably increased tensions from Viola supporters towards a side which they already feel maximum dislike, the incident just another factor in a tumultuous opening period.

Yet while Allegri could be forgiven for a slow start under these conditions, his Juventus side have won ten times from ten matches in all competitions, the perfect record ensuring the best ever start to a campaign in the club’s storied history.

 

The Coach’s ability to block out the storm surrounding him and focus simply on winning matches must be commended, especially as the aforementioned events would’ve plunged a lesser man into crisis or at the very least allowed him to excuse some below-par performances.

The arrival of Ronaldo was unexpected, but this project to win the Champions League has been a long-term one, and without it Allegri would’ve almost certainly moved on.

“Within this club, we discuss every tiny detail to ensure we make as few errors as possible and I can only achieve that with the aid of my staff,” the boss admitted with modesty after last weekend’s win over Udinese. “Especially as the less the players hear my voice in training, the better. They’ll get fed up otherwise!”

Focus and an understanding of how to zone out external factors has always been a crucial factor in Juve’s success under Max Allegri. The last few months have just allowed the Bianconeri boss to prove it to an even higher degree.

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