Football

Published on July 7th, 2017 | by Vieri Capretta

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Juventus hunt missing piece for Champions League chase

Juventus are already top dogs in Italy, and in Europe’s elite. But the Serie A side are looking for that missing piece to make them supreme

To lose two Champions League finals in the space of three years means there is something more than pure bad luck going on. That’s what Juventus are pondering this summer.

Reaching the final is the difficult part, they say. There’s too many variables when it comes to winning it, they say. But it has happened to Atletico Madrid and most recently of all Juventus. Both clubs just seem like they simply lacked that last part of the puzzle to seal the deal. Focussing on Juventus, the Bianconeri fell short right at the most important moment despite a fantastic campaign.

What can Juventus do to change this in the future? If spending 94 million euros on Gonzalo Higuain, 36 on Miralem Pjanic and bringing in a Champions League expert like Dani Alves wasn’t enough, then what is?

In the last summer transfer window and throughout last year the Turin club as a whole made it quite that clear the Champions League was the key objective. And the team did make it to the final, only to melt incredibly in the second half against Real Madrid, despite a solid first 45 minutes.

The winning mentality that Juve show within Italian borders has been lacking in Europe. Let’s not forget the Bianconeri have lost seven finals out of nine, and the last five. All of these are records. To change this, even better players are needed, and footballers who are used to winning. Dani Alves was important in trying to give Juve a more European mentality, but has now moved on after just a year. More like Alves need to be brought in.

The Bianconeri are close to signing Bayern’s Douglas Costa, a quality winger who knows the Champions League well, despite never winning it. Like him, Juve will need this kind of player, rather than picking from Serie A. Higuain has never had a great record in Europe, Pjanic has been growing up in Europe. That is not to say they can’t win the Champions League in another team; but Juve need to bring in the experience right away.

A name like Andres Iniesta would be perfect, although it’s unlikely Barcelona will sell him. But to improve a team that reaches the final is the hardest thing. So only absolute elite players can make a difference. Otherwise Juve can stay as they are.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted the side needs to improve in their technical abilities. It’s no mystery that Juventus are great at defending, and are obviously very good on the ball as well. But to make that final step Allegri believes the players need to be even better when playing the ball, passing and shooting, essentially when it comes to attacking, both individually and as a team.

This was clear in the final, as the Old Lady was able to score a beautiful goal but created very little apart from that, whereas Real Madrid showed all their confidence in dominating possession in midfield and being ruthlessly effective on goal. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric simply outplayed Sami Khedira and Pjanic.

A reinforcement up front will arrive, as well as something in the middle. A big name, bringing quality and winning mentality – what in a nutshell Juve need to really challenge for the Champions League. Two finals in three seasons remains a great result, but to go one step further, more is necessary.

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About the Author

mm

A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on Uefa.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.



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