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One of the greatest Italian clubs lay dormant for far too long – despite their history, Juventus were far from the imposing titan that they once were.
The Calciopoli scandal (where Juventus were alleged of match-fixing and relegated to the Serie B in May 2006) rocked the club, and although they returned to the Italian top flight the season after, the club had not recovered.
Claudio Ranieri, Ciro Ferrara, Alberto Zaccheroni and Luigi Delneri have all had stints at the club since Juventus’ return to the Serie A, and although each had their own successes and failures, Juventus failed to return to it’s position at the pinacle of Italian football.
Step forward Antonio Conte.
The former player and fan favourite was hired for the 11/12 season as Delneri’s replacement after managing Siena to promotion to Serie A.
Conte was a risk; he had achieved success with a lower division team, but could he do it with a sleeping giant?
He made huge changes to Juventus in his first year in charge. Conte oversaw a huge overhaul in the squad, bringing in players ike Alessandro Matri, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Arturo Vidal.
The finest move that Conte made however was securing the signature of Italian midfield veteran Andrea Pirlo. The playmaker had just been released from AC Milan on a free transfer, and Conte snapped him up for his new-look Juventus side.
Pirlo has since become Juventus midfield orchestrator, commanding his symphony with his brilliant vision and extraordinary passing range.
Conte’s other signings paid dividends too – Juventus not only qualified for the Champion’s League, but went the whole domestic season unbeaten, winning the Serie A in Conte’s first year in charge.
They finished with the best defensive record in the league, conceding only 20 goals in 38 league matches, and Conte’s team became incredibly good at grinding out results and keeping opposition teams at bay.
Conte built on that success this summer. Juventus brought in Kwadwo Asamoah and Mauricio Isla, two of Udinese’s key players, as well as bringing back Sebastian Giovinco and luring promising youngster Paul Pogba from Manchester United.
Although Conte has had a touchline ban all season due to allegations of match-fixing with his former club, he still remains Juve’s mastermind behind the scenes.
This season Juventus are top of Serie A, 2 points above second place Napoli, and are favourites to retain their title.
Juventus have been promising in their return to the Champion’s League as well, and can secure progression to the knockout stages with a draw against Shaktar in their final group game.
Pirlo has been in remarkable form again this season, contributing three goals and six assists while controlling the midfield for the Bianconeri.
The club, thanks largely to Conte, has made its way back to the top of Italian football, but the next challenge will be even more difficult.
Juventus will be hoping to turn their domestic success into European success, and with Conte and Pirlo, their geniuses off and on the pitch respectively, they can be hopeful that the future may hold further success.