(NB – This was submitted prior to the start of the season, yet still holds value!)
We have been here too many times lately, it’s been season after season since Max Allegris departure, too many seasons where we were ecstatic at our new manager and couldn’t wait for the season to start! only to end the campaign barely getting by as a team and with great angst and hate towards the manager, once hailed our new hero. Every season for far too long now we have been let down, first came Sarri then came Pirlo … ok so just two seasons, but still it feels like a lot! A chain smoking banker who rivalled us at our best some odd years ago came to the club promising heavy metal football, yet we heard no drums, no electrifying guitar riffs, no screeching raspy vocals, no scream vocals … Nothing! The music that Juve produced under Sarri was that of a cat scratching sheet metal, Yea! Not exactly the Metal we wanted to hear.
Then came Pirlo, a Disney fairytale that didn’t end well, a man who tried to re-invent the modern game. Pirlo tried to bring us something along the lines of Metalcore
(that heavy metal sound with rap vocals) a fusion of two otherwise polarizing sounds, a fusion that brings the hip hop heads and the rockers together, this is some real going to war music! Music that gets you high on your own adrenaline; but instead Pirlo gave us something reminiscent of mumble rap, a bunch of jargon and half assed wordplay mumbled about over crappy club beats, one really needs to be high to enjoy that stuff, just like one needed to be high to enjoy a Football game under Pirlo on a sunday morning.
Enter the now and we have Max, an oldy but goody, someone who does not know a thing about playing metal, but has mastered the art of classical music, proven in its roots, true to the italian game, yet awfully boring to the masses. Some say Max has to have studied attacking football, and has no choice but to implement some in the modern game, and i don’t know, maybe we get a beautiful mix of violin and some metal, we can end up sounding like Apocalyptica,
or something more atmospheric like Eldamar.
That said this season promises to be the one! The season where we are ecstatic to have a new coach, and can perhaps just as eagerly end the season with him, eagerly anticipating the next.
While we excitedly await Sunday’s game though, we can look back and say that while the Sarri and Pirlo eras were abject failures, not all was doom and gloom. Both eras had player development that built on top of Allegri, or in spite of. Let’s start with Sarri, while his season was arguably the worst between himself and pirlo’s (yes despite winning the scudetto), the team looked it’s most disjointed, and most painful to watch in this season; however this was the season where Dybala earned the player of the tournament award and where he proved that He (not Cristiano Ronaldo) could carry Juve, and that he was ready to be the modern playing Juve legend. It didn’t end there though, Juan Cuadrado and Bentancur both started morphing into great talents during the end of Allegri, but continued the evolution under Sarri hitting new peaks! Dybala, Bentancur and Cuardado were beacons of light in Juve’s darkest hour. Players we already had who excelled to new lengths, dwarfing anything any of the then new recruits, had to offer (Rabiot, Ramsey, Danilo). Then came Pirlo, While he failed to win the scudetto, and while he showed immense stubbornness and lack of tactical flexibility, Juve were, at least for short periods, in bursts, easier on the eye to watch in odd moments of the game. Unfortunately Dybala suffered a nearly season long injury, and he used Bentancur out of position, this stalling (hopefully not reverting) both of their progress gained under Sarri. However! One player continued his great ascend into being one of Juve’s most trusted mercenaries at RWB and that is Cuadrado, who has now gained “untouchable” status and brought a new attacking threat lost from the void left by Joao Cancelo. Pirlo for all his faults tactically, philosophically and for all his failure in the league table and on the pitch, Did manage to improve Juventus greatly. Of course the games were muddled and hard to watch, but he did strengthen the squad immensely, forming a perfect spine for Allegri. I fumed watching Pirlo at the helm, but acknowledge that he did leave his mark on Juve, and some of it was good!
Fast Forward to the Euros, and Chiesa with Italy has now turned into the new Mohamed Salah, the new winger every club would die to have and desperately wants, The most exciting youthful player to grace the game, just as Ronaldo and Messi seem to be dying flames and bowing out.
So under Pirlo we had continued growth: Cuadrado. An invisible player suddenly peacocking: Danilo. And two new stars to carry us forward: Chiesa and McKennie. Pirlo may have been axed, but his legacy in the club still lives on. Despite his horrid season, he still has the love of many Juventini who forgive him, and he still left an imprint in this squad that will continue to grow and help us achieve greatness!
For you see, Allegri is no Slouch! Cuadrado and Danilo I can see them keep their form and even improve under Allegri, Chiesa and McKennie can only grow more under Allegri, and Dybala and Bentancur will SURELY return to the Sarri era level of play, and surpass the Sarri form under Allegri, this is certain because both Bentancur and Dybala have worked under Allegri and began their ascent then. As for Break out Stars Allegri has Several Contenders!
Who do you think will be the breakout Juve star this season? Agree with my three picks? Or perhaps you’d rather back an old gun? Let us know in the comments below! Fino All Fine! It’s not just a slogan, these words are the essence of what makes the club and our culture, these words forever tattooed in our hearts, I think these players live by Fino alla Fine, and refuse to give up on Ramsey, with spending his own money on hiring fitness coaches and dieticians, he has earned my respect as someone who really wants to make it work at juve, and someone who will not easily fade away. We need more players like that and this is why he is my #1 pick for breakout player of the season, and someone who will prove all the haters wrong. I am glad he is staying with us, and wish the whole squad the best of luck in their individual development.
(Piece contributed by Gerry Quinn)