Chelsea Lose To Juventus, Record Second Defeat In A Row


Juventus players acknowledge fans at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Juventus and Chelsea on September 29, 2021 at the Juventus stadium in Turin.
Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Federico Chiesa proved to be a big game player once again with the only goal in Juventus’ 1-0 Champions League win over holders Chelsea which could kick-start their faltering season. 

Sat 10th in Serie A after a succession of unconvincing performances domestically, Juve top Group H with a perfect six points thanks to a superbly taken winner 10 seconds after half-time from Chiesa, one of Italy’s stars at Euro 2020.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side took down the European champions, despite missing starting forwards Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata, with a disciplined performance that sucked the life out of the Blues and restricted them to very little in front of goal.

“We showed the Juventus spirit tonight, and that’s what the coach asks of us,” Chiesa, who has been criticised by Allegri this season, told Amazon.

“There has never been any problem between me and the coach, I do what he asks of me. When Juve start off poorly there is always a lot of unnecessary noise: we all want to take the club back to the top.”

Juve are three points clear of both Chelsea and Zenit, who they play in Saint Petersburg in three weeks.

“The players put in a great performance against the European champions. We were solid defensively and conceded very few chances. (Wojciech) Szczesny barely had a save to make,” said Allegri to Amazon.

“We also missed some really good chances on the counter but I’m happy. We haven’t conceded a goal, we have six points, it’s another step towards qualifying.”

Chelsea dominated the ball in the early stages but it was the home side who had the first real chances of the game, both of which came after pouncing on sloppy passes in midfield.

Chelsea Held At Bay 


Chelsea’s Moroccan midfielder Hakim Ziyech (L) tackles Juventus’ Brazilian defender Alex Sandro during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Juventus and Chelsea on September 29, 2021 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Adrien Rabiot was barracked by the home crowd in the 16th minute when after sprinting away on a break with almost the entire Chelsea team still upfield, he elected to play a pass to Federico Bernardeschi which was completely mishit and rolled to Edouard Mendy.

Four minutes later it was Chiesa’s turn to show the Blues a clean pair of heels after pinching the ball, only for his low shot from a tight angle to drift just wide.

Juve’s gameplan of sitting in and stopping Chelsea from getting a passing rhythm going worked but they initially lacked a focal point and too often let off the hook a Chelsea team missing the dynamism of N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount.

However they got the goal they deserved immediately after the break through Chiesa, who has had an uncertain start to the season but confidently met Bernardeschi’s through ball to lash home the opener at the near post.

Chelsea responded by again pressing Juve back into their box but again struggled to break through the hosts’ well-drilled backline.

It was Juve who were wondering how Bernardeschi didn’t double their lead in the 64th minute when he tripped over his own feet with the goal at his mercy.

And they were breathing a big sigh of relief with six minutes left when after a prolonged spell of Chelsea dominance Romelu Lukaku thumped wide after being nicely set up by Mateo Kovacic.

The home crowd roared at the poor finish of Lukaku, former striker at their fiercest rivals Inter Milan, and right after Kai Havertz headed over the bar let out another shout of joy at the final whistle.

AFP

Serie A: Osimhen Shines Again, Scores Fourth League Goal

Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (R) celebrates with Napoli’s Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A between Napoli and Cagliari on September 26, 2021 at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples. Carlo Hermann / AFP

 

Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen scored as Napoli maintained their perfect start to the Serie A campaign on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Cagliari which ensured they reclaimed top spot, while Lazio won an eventful derby 3-2 to down Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

Luciano Spalletti’s side cruised to their sixth victory in as many league games against a Cagliari team coached by former Napoli manager Walter Mazzarri thanks to Osimhen’s sixth goal in all competitions this month and a second-half penalty from Lorenzo Insigne who pre-match celebrated his 400th Napoli appearance.

They are two points ahead of AC Milan after another confident display that ends a week in which they scored 10 goals without reply in three league matches.

“The best way to celebrate was to win and score a goal,” said Insigne to DAZN, who is four goals away from Diego Maradona’s Napoli total of 115.

“We did it together as a team. We’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, keep our heads down and work because there is a very, very long way to go.”

Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (R) celebrates after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A between Napoli and Cagliari on September 26, 2021 at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples. Carlo Hermann / AFP

 

Next weekend Napoli travel to Fiorentina in what will be the first true test of their title credentials, as their 2-1 win over Juventus earlier this month came against a team missing a host of starters.

They made easy work of a passive Cagliari, with Osimhen making it four Serie A goals in five appearances this campaign in the 11th minute when he met Piotr Zielinski’s low cross with a typically assured finish.

Osimhen was involved again when a low-key match was settled in the 57th minute, the in-form Nigeria attacker being cleaned out by Diego Godin and Insigne lashing home the subsequent penalty to ensure a simple win.

The Nigerian had scored a brace as Napoli outclassed Sampdoria 4-0 in a Serie A game on Thursday evening.

READ ALSO: Football Must Do More To Combat Racism Than The Take Knee – Lukaku

Juventus Win First Serie A Game Since Ronaldo’s Departure

Lazio Win Derby Honours


Lazio’s players celebrate at the end the Italian Serie A football match Lazio vs AS Roma at the Olympic stadium in Rome on September 26, 2021. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

 

Goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Pedro and Felipe Anderson gave Lazio a tight derby win over Roma at a raucous Stadio Olimpico which saw two teams attack each other for 90 minutes.

Maurizio Sarri’s side were winless in three league matches heading into the weekend but now sit sixth on 11 points, seven behind Napoli and just one behind fourth-placed Roma, who twice pulled goals back through Roger Ibanez and Jordan Veretout.

In the aftermath Mourinho lashed out at referee Marco Guida and the VAR officials after what he saw as a clear foul on Nicolo Zaniolo just before Lazio launched the counter-attack which ended with former Roma player Pedro putting Lazio 2-0 ahead in the 19th minute.

“The referee and VAR weren’t up to the standards of a match of this level. From 2-0 it could have been 1-1, the referee made a mistake on the field and VAR made a mistake… they all made a mistake,” Mourinho said to DAZN.

Dybala Misses Chelsea

 


Juventus’ Argentine forward Paulo Dybala (L) reacts after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Sampdoria on September 26, 2021 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

 

Juventus will have to face Chelsea in the Champions League without Paulo Dybala after the Argentina forward limped off with a thigh injury early in their 3-2 win over Sampdoria.

Dybala opened the scoring with nine minutes on the clock at a wet Allianz Stadium, with Leonardo Bonucci and Manuel Locatelli netting the other goals to move Juve ninth on eight points, but soon afterwards the 27-year-old left the field in tears after the latest in a long line of injuries.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side host European champions Chelsea on Wednesday and the coach said Dybala and centre-forward Alvaro Morata, who also exited with a thigh problem towards the end of the match, would be out of action until after the next international break which runs from after next weekend’s matches to October 15.

Fiorentina bounced back from midweek defeat to Inter Milan with a battling 1-0 win at Udinese which moved them into fifth on 12 points, six behind Napoli.

Promoted Empoli are threatening the European places after beating Bologna 4-2 to win their second match on the bounce and climb up to eighth, while Salernitana remain rooted to the bottom of the league with a single point after losing 1-0 at Sassuolo.

AFP

Juventus Win First Serie A Game Since Ronaldo’s Departure


Juventus’ Italian forward Moise Kean (C) celebrates with Juventus’ Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur (L) and Juventus’ Argentine forward Paulo Dybala after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match between Spezia and Juventus on September 22, 2021 at the Alberto-Picco stadium in La Spezia. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Juventus pulled themselves out of the Serie A relegation zone on Wednesday after earning their first league victory of the season at the fifth attempt, coming from behind to win 3-2 at Spezia. It was also their first Serie A win since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club. 

Massimiliano Allegri’s side moved up to 12th in Italy’s top flight on five points following the hard-fought win which at one point looked to be heading for an embarrassing defeat.

Emmanuel Gyasi and Janis Antiste had put Spezia ahead shortly after the break following Moise Kean’s 28th-minute opener, the Italian’s first goal for Juventus since returning from Everton.

However substitute Federico Chiesa levelled midway through the second half with his first league goal of the season and a few minutes later Matthijs de Ligt struck the winner when the ball fell kindly to him from a Paulo Dybala corner.

It was a far from convincing performance though and Spezia could have levelled late on, with Wojciech Szczesny at his best to push away Giulio Maggiore’s volley with five minutes remaining.

READ ALSO: Verona Inflict First Loss On Mourinho’s Roma


Spezia’s Ghanaian forward Emmanuel Gyasi (2ndL) celebrates after scoring an equalizer during the Italian Serie A football match between Spezia and Juventus on September 22, 2021 at the Alberto-Picco stadium in La Spezia. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Juve are eight points behind league leaders Inter Milan, who could be joined on 13 by city rivals AC Milan when they host Venezia later on Wednesday.

In the other early match Salernitana earned their first point of the season when they came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home with Verona.

Nikola Kalinic put the away side ahead with a deft first-half brace but Cedric Gondo pulled one back just before half-time when the ball dropped to him following Franck Ribery’s free-kick.

Mamadou Coulibaly then struck the leveller with 14 minutes left to send a passionate home crowd wild, although the promoted outfit stay bottom of the league.

Cagliari host Empoli in Wednesday’s other late match.

AFP

 

Italy’s Moise Kean Joins Juventus After Ronaldo Exit

(FILES) Moise Kean will be the final piece of Juventus’ post-Cristiano Ronaldo attack after the Italy forward completed his move from Everton on August 31, 2021. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP)

 

 

Moise Kean will be the final piece of Juventus’ post-Cristiano Ronaldo attack after the Italy forward completed his move from Everton on Tuesday.

Kean, 21, returns to the club where he began his professional career as an academy graduate on a two-year loan which will then turn into a permanent sale for a reported fee of 20 million euros ($23.6 million), subject to certain conditions being met.

“Moise is back and he joins us on loan,” Juventus said on its Twitter account.

Juventus announced the move while also officially confirming the departure of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, who will join his former club Manchester United.

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 11, 2018 Juventus’ Italian forward Moise Kean (L) and teammate Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo inspect the pitch at the Stade de Suisse in Bern, on the eve of the Champions League Group H football match between Young Boys and Juventus.  (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)

 

Juve sold Kean to Everton in the summer of 2019 after excelling in his breakthrough season in Serie A but he failed to impress in England and last season was loaned to Paris Saint-Germain.

He scored 17 times in 41 appearances for the star-studded French side, who lost their Ligue 1 title to Lille and were knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester City.

On Friday Kean was called up to the Italy squad after missing out on Euro 2020, won by Roberto Mancini’s impressive Azzurri last month.

Kean has already represented his country nine times, scoring twice.

Man United Agree Deal With Juventus To Re-sign Ronaldo

 

 

Manchester United announced on Friday they have reached a deal to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus, 12 years after he left Old Trafford for Real Madrid.

“Manchester United is delighted to confirm that the club has reached an agreement with Juventus for the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo, subject to agreement of personal terms, visa and medical,” United said in a statement.

“Everyone at the club looks forward to welcoming Cristiano back to Manchester.”

United’s swoop capped a tumultuous 24 hours during which Ronaldo initially seemed poised to join rivals Manchester City.

Premier League champions City had been widely linked with a move for the Portuguese forward after missing out on England captain Harry Kane.

However, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinted a deal was in the offing during his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of Sunday’s Premier League trip to Wolves.

“Cristiano is a legend of this club, he’s the greatest player of all time, if you ask me,” said Solskjaer, who played alongside Ronaldo.

“We’ve always had good communication. I know Bruno (Fernandes) has been talking to him as well. He knows what we feel about him. If he was ever going to move from Juventus, he knows that we’re here.”

Sky Sport Italia reported that United have offered Juve 28 million euros ($33 million), agreeing a two-year deal with the superstar attacker worth 25 million euros per season.

Ronaldo won the first of his five Champions League titles and was first crowned the world’s best player during six years at United between 2003 and 2009.

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 01, 2008 Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to take a free-kick against Birmingham City during their English Premiership football match at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, 
PAUL ELLIS / AFP

 

In total he scored 118 goals in 292 games, also winning three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups.

Earlier in the day, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s desire to leave the Italian giants.

“Yesterday, speaking with Cristiano, he told me that he has no intention of staying at Juventus, for this reason, he will not be picked tomorrow. This morning he didn’t train,” said Allegri.

“He was here three years, he made his contribution, he made himself available to Juventus and now he’s leaving. Life goes on.”

Ronaldo won two Serie A titles with Juventus, but his time in Turin has not lived up to expectations.

He joined 2018 after scoring a remarkable 450 goals in 438 matches in a glittering nine-year spell in Madrid that also included four Champions League triumphs.

Juventus’ hopes he would be the final piece required to end their 25-year wait to become champions of Europe have been thwarted.

They have failed to get beyond the quarter-finals in the past three seasons.

Last season, they were deposed as Italian champions by fierce rivals Inter Milan and had to wait until the final day of the campaign to secure qualification for Europe’s top club competition.

However, Ronaldo still topped the Serie A goal charts, edging out Romelu Lukaku, who joined Chelsea this month for £97 million.

And he also rolled back the years at Euro 2020 to win the Golden Boot despite playing just four games as Portugal bowed out at the last 16.

United have already significantly strengthened their squad with the signings of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane during the transfer window as they aim to win the Premier League for the first time since 2013.

Ronaldo joins an already loaded group of attacking options for Solskjaer featuring Fernandes, Sancho, Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba.

-AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo Wants To Leave Juventus, Says Allegri

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 03, 2021 Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Udinese at the Juventus stadium in Turin. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Juventus, coach Massimiliano Allegri revealed on Friday, as rumours of an imminent move to Manchester City gather pace.

“Yesterday, speaking with Cristiano, he told me that he has no intention of staying at Juventus, for this reason he will not be picked tomorrow. This morning he didn’t train,” Allegri told reporters ahead of Juve’s Serie A match against Empoli on Saturday.

Premier League champions City have been widely linked with a move for five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo after missing out on England captain Harry Kane.

“I’m not disappointed in Ronaldo, he made his choice,” added Allegri. “In life, things change. Great players like Sivori, Platini, Del Piero, Zidane, Buffon have passed through Juventus — it’s part of life.

“He was here three years, he made his contribution, he made himself available to Juventus and now he’s leaving. Life goes on.”

Earlier on Friday Juve had confirmed that Ronaldo would not train with his teammates, with Sky Sport Italia reporting that the superstar forward arrived at the club’s Continassa training centre in the morning to say goodbye to his teammates before leaving at around 10:45 am local time (0845 GMT).

On Thursday Sky claimed the Portugal captain had already cleaned out his locker in the dressing room despite Allegri and club director Pavel Nedved both insisting last weekend that he would remain in Turin.

Allegri even told reporters that Ronaldo had told him personally that he wanted to stay after Serie A’s top scorer last season started on the bench at Udinese on Sunday.

According to daily Gazzetta Dello Sport, a deal for superstar Ronaldo to go to City could be completed within the next 24 hours, with the summer transfer window set to close on Tuesday.

The fee, however, could be a problem with the Italians believed to be wanting in the region of 25 million euros ($29.4 million).

– ‘Disrespectful’ rumours -Ronaldo, who has one year remaining on his contract, has also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and a return to Real Madrid.

Last week, Ronaldo himself rubbished reports of a move back to Real Madrid, calling them “disrespectful” and saying that stories of his departure were written with “nobody ever being concerned about trying to find out the actual truth”.

Real have since had an initial bid of 160 million euros for PSG star Kylian Mbappe rejected, but according to French media reports are set to make a second offer of 180 million.

That would close any route for Ronaldo back to the Santiago Bernabeu, although as well as the reports of a possible move to City, there have also been rumours he could join old rival Lionel Messi in Paris to replace Mbappe should the Frenchman leave.

Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for Manchester United early in his career before leaving for Madrid in 2009.

He joined Juve in 2018 after scoring a remarkable 450 goals in 438 matches in a glittering nine-year spell at the Bernabeu that also included four Champions League triumphs.

At Juventus, his hopes of winning another Champions League have been thwarted, with the club failing to get beyond the quarter-finals during his time in Turin.

Last season, they were deposed as Italian champions by fierce rivals Inter Milan and had to wait until the final day of the campaign to secure qualification for Europe’s top club competition.

Ronaldo Misses Juventus Training As Man City Rumours Heighten

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 03, 2021, Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Udinese at the Juventus stadium in Turin. 
Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo will not train with Juventus on Friday, the Serie A giants confirmed to AFP, as rumours of an imminent move to Manchester City gather pace.

Widespread media reports said that Ronaldo left Juve’s Continassa training centre before the start of Friday’s session. Sky Sport Italia reported that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner arrived in the morning to say goodbye to his teammates before leaving at around 10:45 am local time (0845 GMT).

Asked by AFP if Ronaldo would be training with his Juve teammates, a club spokeswoman confirmed that he would not.

According to daily Gazzetta Dello Sport, a deal for superstar Ronaldo to go to Premier League champions Manchester City could be completed with the next 24 hours.

Despite Juventus insisting the 36-year-old was staying, on Thursday Sky claimed the Portugal captain had already cleaned out his locker in the dressing room and is reluctant to make himself available to face Empoli this weekend.

If a deal is to be reached, the clock is ticking with the transfer window set to close on Tuesday.

Premier League champions City have been widely linked with a move for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner after missing out on England captain Harry Kane.

The fee, however, could be a problem with the Italians believed to be wanting in the region of 25 million euros ($29.4 million).

Ronaldo, who has one year remaining on his contract, has also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and a return to Madrid.

Ronaldo joined Juve in 2018 to huge fanfare.

Last weekend, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted that he had received assurances from the Portugal star over his future.

“Let’s clarify this issue, Ronaldo told me that he’s staying,” Allegri said in response to numerous questions on Ronaldo’s form and mindset ahead of Sunday’s Serie A opener at Udinese.

“He has always trained well and has always been available. I’ve read rumours in the papers, but he’s never wanted to leave Juventus.”

Italy’s top scorer last season with 29 goals started the Udinese game on the bench.

 ‘Disrespectful’ rumours

 

&

 

Last week, Ronaldo himself rubbished reports of a move back to Real Madrid, calling them “disrespectful” and saying that stories of his departure were written with “nobody ever being concerned about trying to find out the actual truth”.

Real have since had an initial bid of 160 million euros for PSG star Kylian Mbappe rejected, but according to French media reports are set to make a second offer of 180 million.

That would close any route for Ronaldo back to the Santiago Bernabeu, although as well as the reports of a possible move to City, there have also been rumours he could join old rival Lionel Messi in Paris to replace Mbappe should the Frenchman leave.

Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for Manchester United early in his career before leaving for Madrid in 2009.

He joined Juve in 2018 after scoring a remarkable 450 goals in 438 matches in a glittering nine-year spell at the Bernabeu that also included four Champions League triumphs.

At Juventus, his hopes of winning another Champions League have been thwarted, with the club failing to get beyond the quarter-finals during his time in Turin.

Last season, they were deposed as Italian champions by Inter Milan.

-AFP

Juventus First Team Under Quarantine After COVID-19 Case

J by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

 

Juventus’ first team has been put in quarantine after Tunisian midfielder Hamza Rafia tested positive, the Turin club said in a statement Thursday.

During health checks, “it appeared that the player Hamza Rafia was positive for Covid-19,” read the statement from Juventus.

“This procedure will allow for all individuals who test negative to perform regular training and game activities, but will not allow for contact with those outside the group,” it said.

The 22-year-old Tunisian-French midfielder, a former member of the youth team, was called up to the first team of Juventus last year.

-AFP

Ronaldo Undergoes Juve Medical Ahead Of Fourth Season In Turin

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo warms up prior to the Italian Serie A football match Bologna vs Juventus Turin on May 23, 2021 at the Renato-Dall’Ara stadium in Bologna.
ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo underwent a medical in Turin on Monday ahead of his fourth season with Juventus, along with four other returning Euro 2020 participants.

The 36-year-old Portugal international, who has one-year left on his contract, flew back to northern Italy on Sunday night.

On Monday morning the top scorer in Serie A last season arrived at the team’s medical centre for tests where he was greeted by about one hundred cheering Juve fans and signed autographs.

Also returning were European championship participants Dejan Kulusevski, Matthijs De Ligt, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot.

Ronaldo was reported to be set to meet coach Massimiliano Allegri and the Juventus management to clarify his future amid speculation linking him with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

READ ALSO: World Bank To Finance Extra COVID-19 Jabs For Poorer Nations

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s future had been in doubt after a difficult campaign during which Juventus lost their Serie A crown after nine years, exited the Champions League in the last 16 and only sealed fourth place and elite European football on the final day.

Juventus open the new season at Udinese with Allegri, who signed Ronaldo in 2018, back at the helm two years after his shock departure despite winning five consecutive league titles with the Turin club.

Former Real Madrid and Manchester United star Ronaldo has scored 101 goals in total for the club in 133 games.

AFP

Parma Re-Sign Buffon 20 Years After He Left The Club For Juventus

File photo: Gianluigi Buffon celebrates at the end of the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Sampdoria on April 15, 2018, at Allianz Stadium in Turin. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon has returned to Parma two decades after leaving the Italian club who were relegated last season.

“He is back where he belongs, he is back home. Superman returns,” the club said on Twitter.

In a video, 43-year-old Buffon declared: “I’m back”, later adding on social media: “And now let’s keep having fun.”

Buffon confirmed last month he was leaving Juventus, the club he played for since moving from Parma in 2001, apart from one season with Paris Saint-Germain in 2018-2019.

“Parma Calcio 1913 can confirm having reached an agreement with Gianluigi Buffon for a contract that will sign him to the club until 30 June 2023,” the club said in a statement.

“As such, exactly 20 years after his last game for Parma, Gigi will wear the Gialloblu colours again. He does so having won pretty much everything there is to win in the game.”

Buffon holds the record for Serie A matches played with 657, since his first with Parma in 1995 as a 17-year-old.

Since then, Buffon has played just one season in Serie B when Juventus were demoted in 2006-2007 for the ‘Calciopoli’ match-fixing scandal.

Buffon played his final game for the Turin giants in the Coppa Italia final where he lifted the trophy for the sixth time.

It was his 685th game for Juventus and his 27th career trophy, including the 2006 World Cup.

READ ALSO: Christian Eriksen: Denmark Midfielder To Have Defibrillator Implanted Following Cardiac Arrest

File photo: Gianluigi Buffon reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Italy and Sweden, on November 13, 2017 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

 

The former Italy captain is an iconic figure in Italian football, one of the stars of the Azzurri’s World Cup triumph who racked up a record 176 caps for his country.

Buffon won 10 Serie A titles with Juventus, as well as five Italian Cups, and six Italian Super Cups with the club and second-tier Serie B in 2007.

He also won Ligue 1 with PSG in 2018-2019 before returning to the Turin giants.

He won the UEFA Cup back in 1999 with Parma, the year the club also lifted the Italian Cup and Italian Super Cup trophies.

However, he has never won the Champions League after losing finals with Juve in 2003, 2015 and 2017.

Validation of ambition’

“We are thrilled to welcome Gigi Buffon home,” said club owner Kyle Krause, who took over last September.

“We are going to bring this legendary club back to its rightful place,” continued the American.

“Buffon’s return is another validation of that ambition. It’s a really special moment for all of us.”

The club were among Italy’s top clubs in the 1990s under the ownership of dairy company Parmalat, winning three major European titles.

After Parmalat collapsed in 2003 following a huge financial fraud, the club went bankrupt. They sank to Serie D in 2015.

Three successive promotions put them back in the top flight in 2018. They were relegated after finishing bottom of the league last season with 83 goals conceded in 38 games.

Buffon was second-choice in Juventus to Wojciech Szczesny after his return from PSG.

But the veteran has reportedly received a guarantee of being captain and number one goalkeeper and playing a role in the club when his on-pitch career ends.

AFP

Ronaldo Hints At Juventus Exit With Cryptic Message

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo warms up prior to the Italian Serie A football match Bologna vs Juventus Turin on May 23, 2021 at the Renato-Dall’Ara stadium in Bologna.
ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has raised doubts about his future at the Old Lady with a cryptic Instagram message.

Ronaldo set another career milestone over the weekend after becoming the first player to have emerged as the highest goal scorer in three of Europe’s top five leagues – Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A.

With one year left on his Juventus contract, speculations had been rife about him leaving the Italian giants if they missed out on a top-four finish, for a Champions League spot.

The Portuguese fuelled the speculation when he took to his Instagram handle on Monday, declaring that he has reached a goal he set for himself at Juventus.

“This year we couldn’t win Serie A, congratulations to Inter for the well-deserved title. However, I have to value everything that we achieved this season at Juventus, both in collective and individual terms,” he wrote.

“The Italian Super Cup, the Italian Cup, and the Serie A Top Scorer trophy fill me with happiness, mainly due to the difficulty they carry with them, in a country where nothing is easy to win.

 

 

 

“With these achievements, I reached a goal that I had set myself since the first day I arrived in Italy: to win the Championship, the Cup and the Super Cup, and also to be Best Player and Top Scorer in this great football country filled with tremendous players, giant clubs and a very own football culture.”

Despite not featuring in Juventus last game of the season, which was a must-win, the 36-year-old emerged Serie A top scorer of the season with 29 goals, five more than closest rival Romelu Lukaku.

In celebrating his achievements, the five-time Balon d’Ór winner made out time to thank his teammates and the club.

“I’ve already said that I don’t chase records, records chase me. For those who don’t understand what I mean by this, it’s very simple: football is a collective game, but it is through individual overcoming that we help our teams achieve their goals,” he said.

“Thanks to everyone who took part in this journey! We stand together.”
Ronaldo is expected to engage in talks with the Juventus owners over his future.

His future may depend on Andrea Pirlo still controlling the reins at Turin next season.

However, Pirlo’s position is still in doubt after Inter broke Juventus’ stranglehold on the Serie A title and they struggled to finish the season in the top four.

In an interview with  DAZN via Calciomercato, Pirlo insisted his major goal was to finish well, despite an unsuccessful defense of his team’s Serie A title.

“I don’t know, for me it was important to finish well the work started this summer, winning the Italian Cup and leading the team in the Champions League,” Pirlo said.

“We leave the words to those who have to decide in the future, I have always been 100% committed and this is the result. “

 

Juventus Beat Atalanta 2-1 To Win Italian Cup

Juventus’ Colombian midfielder Juan Cuadrado wears the Colombian flag as players celebrate after Juventus won the final of the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) football match Atalanta vs Juventus on May 19, 2021 at the Citta del Tricolore stadium in Reggio Emilia. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

 

 

Juventus beat Atalanta 2-1 to win the Italian Cup on Wednesday as Italian fans returned to the stadium for the first time in over a year.

Goals from Dejan Kulusevski after half an hour and Federico Chiesa with 15 minutes to go gave Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus their second trophy of the season after the Italian Super Cup.

 

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo holds the cup after Juevntus won the final of the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) football match Atalanta vs Juventus on May 19, 2021 at the Citta del Tricolore stadium in Reggio Emilia. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

Juventus players celebrate winning the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) after the football match Atalanta vs Juventus on May 19, 2021 at the Citta del Tricolore stadium in Reggio Emilia. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

Juventus fans celebrate at the end of the final of the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) football match Atalanta vs Juventus on May 19, 2021 at the Citta del Tricolore stadium in Reggio Emilia. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

Juventus’ American midfielder Weston McKennie (Top) goes for a header during the final of the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) football match Atalanta vs Juventus on May 19, 2021 at the Citta del Tricolore stadium in Reggio Emilia. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

 

Ruslan Malinovskyi had pulled a goal back for the Bergamo side who were denied their first major trophy since 1963.

A total of 4,300 fans were allowed into a stadium for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown in March 2020.