The Senescent Old Lady

The most successful football club in the history of Italian football looks exhausted this season with the Scudetto hopes all but gone, only the Europa League to compete for outside home, is conceivably the only reasonable chance of silverware this year. Juve is on the edge of precipice this year with a disappointing season after finishing as runners up last season.

The Old Lady definitely needs an age lift and all the fans must have thanked heavens after the sacking of Ciro however the cost was too much. After the early exit from UEFA Champion’s League and then crashing out of Coppa Italia against Inter, it was crystal clear that Ciro was not motivational enough for the boys at Turin and hence the firing was inevitable.

Sports News - February 19, 2010After watching the team losing to the Nerazzuris in the Coppa Italia, Juventus’ board finally realized the disorder the club was in,  and came to a conclusion of replacing Ciro Ferrara which was actually inevitable after the poor string of results. But his successor who was speculated to be Rafael Benítez(Like who even wanted him at Juve except for the red society from Mersyside), turned out to be a man who had not managed a professional side since being sacked by Juve’s city rivals Torino in February 2007, Alberto Zaccheroni.

The successor’s past record being no better than the former, as Zaccheroni was fired by Il Toro after suffering defeats in 6 consecutive games. However Ciro’s sacking was no surprise after the results and more importantly lack of leadership by Ciro. It was obviously his legendary status when he was a player at the club that bought him the position of a manager but the flair was missing. Apparently he wasn’t lucky enough to have a squad like Chelsea had, when Avram Grant took over from Jose Mourinho. With so much pride at stake I wonder what’s wrong with the board members.

I have followed the club for many years and the situation has never been this weary. Coming to the players, with the exception of Alex Del Piero who has been rock solid in his performance and probably Chiellini who has been stable enough, none of the player manage to impress. With the ever so dependable Pavel Nedved having hung up his boots, Juve need a dependable midfielder desperately. They need someone who can occupy the midfield with as much authority as Nedved and before him Zidane did.

Diego was bought to do this but has till now failed to prove to the fans that he can fill the void left by Nedved the way Nedved eased into the team when Zidane left for Madrid. Melo has been an embarrassment getting nothing but cards(both yellow and red) for the club. Gigi has been ordinary which hurts me like anything, Camoranesi and Cannavaro need to take inspiration from Alex, Trezeguet needs to decide whether he wants to stay and perform for Juve, Grygera, Grosso, Giovinco need to come of age now. Amauri needs to understand that fame comes with performance and not by cashing-in on the controversies. I think he should be put on sale if he continues to miss those easy headers and lose balls cheaply despite his good built. Iaquinta has been invisible, so much so that I almost forgot he is still a part of our team.

Players and Managers are not the only concern for the club; the board room is full of charlatans too who promised a lot when they came but have failed to deliver anything. All in all, as we come to the end of this season, I can just hope for a miracle that can resuscitate the Old Lady before it’s too late to take our beloved club in the top 4 although we really don’t deserve it this season.

  • sachin

    lets c whether they can better milan’s 5th place finsih or nt
    😛

  • Somnath

    Grygera & Grosso are both aged players. Grosso is actually 31, how can you expect them to “come off age” along with Giovinco ?

    I can’t believe you called Gigi “ordinary” he has been shaky for last 2-3 games after coming back from the meniscus surgery. Otherwise he was the reason why Juve won most of the very few games they did.

    Alex has been wonderful for last 3 weeks, but before that he was terrible.

    No mention of Claudio Marchisio ? Whenever he played as a CM he has been one of the most consistent players this season. Ciro tried to push him to right wing & he struggled there. He also scored that delighful goal against Inter in Serie A.

    How can a trequarista Diego replace a left winger – Nedved ?

    I agree with your take on the board though.

  • Somnath

    Also Iaquinta was wrongly diagnosed with an injury & so he has missed out for most of the current season, before he got injured he scored consistently.

    He is set to return in next few weeks.

    I would like to add that there has been 51 injuries suffered, a lot of them long term, this season.

  • nice work dhawal!! so whats your take, why arent Diego and Melo fitting in?

  • Somnath

    Diego struggled in the mid-season. But then again, offensive players have often struggled in Italy. Platini was so fed-up with Juve that he wanted to leave in the middle of his first season. Zidane, Nedved all were terrible in the first season.

    Diego started out too well, he played one magical game against Roma, scoring two great goals. Expectations were hightened, & he would never match those in his first season.

    Diego has struggled in the 4-3-1-2 due to lack of movement in the team. Most often he has found himself alone surrounded by 3-4 players. He is no Maradona. He worked brilliantly in 4-2-3-1 with Giovinco & Camoranesi providing support. But that system got scraped.

    He has been Juve’s best offensive player in 2010, just that the team around him is underperforming.

    Needs to work on his shooting though.

  • Somnath

    Melo is an extremely limited player. He has a poor passing range. But he can break up play really well.

    Melo can not work as a regista or a deep lying playmaker. That was what he was asked to do under Ciro, replace Zanetti. Given his limited ball distribution, he was predictably terrible. He could neither create, nor was he fully able to break play.

    He is more of a destructor under Zacch & has been improving rapidly. He gave two MOM performances against Ajax & Bologna.

    Very card prone though.

  • Dhawal

    Alex has been the heart and soul of the team for the past 10 years… even in this season he has played the role of an inspiring captain.
    And thanks for mentioning Marchisio which I forgot to write about.
    When Nedved came to Juve he was more of a playmaker… He was bought in to replace Zizou and he delivered. Similarly Diego was expected to bring some magic back in the midfield along with Marchisio and Giovinco but his performance has not been up to the mark. Melo lacks the patience and skills, he is not creative and in my opinion is a waste for us.

    I personally feel Juve need Marcelo Lippi to revive them again.