More than a battle cry, it is a call to order. Harsh, peremptory, and significant. “We are Juventus and we must put more efforts to play better and win in a convincing way,” shouts Cristiano Ronaldo after the resounding home debacle in the last match of 2020. That 3-0 inflicted by Fiorentina burns on the skin of Juventus players, who only one other time in a total of 242 games at the Juventus Stadium had lost with such a devastating result: it was the famous night of CR7’s bicycle kick in the Real Madrid jersey, April 3, 2018, but now the Portuguese’s feelings are opposite.
“A poor performance and an unacceptable result,” adds Cristiano Ronaldo on social media platforms, in captaincy tones that he had rarely unleashed so sharply in these two and a half years spent at Juventus. Evidently, Cristiano Ronaldo felt the need to make himself heard before the break. “I hope it will help us come back stronger and more united than ever: believe in us” he added after his social burst. The situation of Juventus is as delicate as it is potentially explosive because of this emotional roller coaster that risks costing the team its tenth consecutive Scudetto. The Italian champions seemed to have turned around after the derby won at the 94th minutes and the victory against Barcelona at Camp Nou. Even Pirlo was convinced of this, even more so after the recent convincing performance in Parma. But after the defeat against Fiorentina, everything is back in question including the coach and the psyco-physical conditions of the players.
It is not only a question of an elusive identity and of a tactical balance still uncertain, but of a worrying nervousness (5 players red-carded plus the sanctions inflicted to Paratici and Nedved for protests against the referees) and above all of a lack of continuity in the performances and in the results that is costing dearly. “If you play without your head, you’ll make a bad impression,” underlined Andrea Pirlo after yet another blackout.
Juventus has lost too many points on the road, six draws plus one defeat in 13 games, and has not yet beaten a big team in Serie A: compared to last year, when Maurizio Sarri was on the bench, 11 points are missing (24 against 35) and we have to go back to the “tragic” start of 2015 to find something similar with 21 points in the standings. Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus, however, strung together a record of victories and made an unprecedented comeback. Certain miracles can be repeated, but Juventus must start winning now to catch up with AC Milan and Inter Milan. In this regard, Andrea Pirlo commented “We feel strong but if AC Milan and Inter Milan are ahead, it means that they are ahead of us”.
The year ends with an unpredictable 6th place, therefore out of the Champions zone, with AC Milan and Inter Milan running away with 10 and 9 points ahead of Juventus. While waiting to understand when the match against Napoli will be played, the direct clashes in January (on the 6th against AC Milan and on the 17th against Inter Milan: both at the San Siro) already become the crossroads of a season. Andrea Pirlo set priorities with his players giving more importance to the attitude of the team on the pitch and also with the board of the club for the eventual January’s signings. Andrea Pirlo stated that Juventus will evaluate if increasing the quality of players could be a viable solution.
The 19-year-old American full-back Bryan Reynolds (8 million euro at FC Dallas) is one step away although the player will be “parked” temporary at Cagliari because there are no free places for non-EU players at Juventus. For the present, instead, a forward is needed because Dybala is on the sidelines due to the arm wrestling over his contract renewal. There have been new contacts for Milik (Napoli) and a survey for the Memphis Depay (Lyon) has been made. Both players may be free-agent in 6-month time while a reinforcement is also needed amongst the midfielders and, in this case, the dream is always the return of Paul Pogba to Turin.