Juventus
    Juventus
      28.09.2013 19:03 - in: Serie A S

      Granata in the spotlight

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      Torino have had to endure their fair share of tragic moments as well as enjoying many glorious ones, but after falling slightly from the heights they once achieved they are now improving year on year

      Club

      Famous for the claret colour of their shirts, a distinctive characteristic that has seen them become commonly known as the “Granata”, Torino have won seven Scudetto titles and five Coppa Italia trophies in their illustrious history, making them the joint fifth most successful Italian side to have played the game.

      The club began following a split from Juventus by a group of 23 dissidents led by Alfredo Dick in 1906, and won its first Scudetto in 1927/28.

      The most glorious era of its history came between 1942/43 and 1948/49, when a side now remembered as “Il Grande Torino” matched Juventus’ “Quinquennio” team by winning an extraordinary five straight Scudetto titles.

      But after triumph came tragedy, as all but one of the players that made up that famous side were killed in a plane crash on the Superga hill that towers above Turin to the east of the city.

      And after a difficult decade during which they were undoubtedly affected by such a great trauma, the Granata were eventually relegated to Serie B in 1958/59.

      They returned the very next season, and even managed to scale the heights they had achieved back in the golden era with another Scudetto in 1975/76.

      But after a momentous run in European competition which saw them finish as runners-up in the 1991/92 UEFA Cup and a Coppa Italia win in 1993, in 2005 the Granata suffered a shock elimination from sporting competition altogether, with the FIGC terminating them as a club due to financial problems.

      Demoted to Serie B after re-establishment, they battled back well, and, with the new name of Torino F.C., they made it back to the top flight the very next year.

      Last season, Giampiero Ventura’s men narrowly avoided relegation after finishing 16th, but staying up was their aim and they achieved it.

      Stadium

      Torino play their home games in the city of Turin’s Stadio Olimpico, a ground which hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies and was converted for use as a football stadium after the games had finished.

      Built at the direction of Benito Mussolini in 1932 and originally named in honour of Il Duce, it was called the Stadio Comunale before the renovation that brought it up to its current state.

      The 25,300 seater arena was one of the host stadiums for the 1934 FIFA World Cup, and it was the home of both Torino and Juventus from the fifties until 1989, when the Bianconeri elected to move to the Stadio delle Alpi. Juventus also played their home games there once again from 2006/07 to 2010/11.

      Current team

      They clearly weren’t lacking in attack last season, as their tally of 46 goals was more than any other side in the bottom half of the league table. And with Alessio Cerci in fine form this season –Serie A’s current top goalscorer after moving into a striker’s role - that looks set to continue.

      Early signs this season suggest that the Granata have followed Juventus in adopting a 3-5-2 formation, with Ciro Immobile partnering Cerci in attack.

      Following the departure of Rolando Bianchi, Kamil Glik has been promoted to captain. The Polish international defender scored in his country’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against England in Warsaw in October 2012, and will be crucial to Torino’s hopes of staying up again this season.

      Transfer activity

      The biggest development in the summer transfer window was Angelo Ogbonna’s attention-grabbing move to city-rivals Juventus, but Ciro Immobile has come in as part of that deal with the Bianconeri. A prolific scorer while at Pescara and an Italian Under 21 international until surpassing the age limit recently, he will need careful monitoring.

      The Granata have also brought in a number of talented midfielders without spending a great deal, including youngster Nicola Bellomo from Bari and Omar El Kaddouri on loan from Napoli.

      Perhaps even more important is the retention of Alessio Cerci, an Italian international who looks set to be their main goal threat this year.

      Going the other way, club captain Rolando Bianchi has left after five years of service and 73 goals scored for Torino because club and player were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract.

      Manager

      Giampiero Ventura is a vastly experienced coach, having been in charge of a total of 18 Italian sides.

      After a brief playing career with Sampdoria, cut short aged 25 due to a serious back injury, the Genoa-born born 65-year-old turned his hand to coaching, taking up a post as Sampdoria youth coach and then being made assistant manager of the first team.

      After leaving the Blucerchiati to pursue a career as a head coach, his first notable role after learning his craft at a number of Ligurian amateur teams and a brief stint at Spezia was a spell at Sicilian Serie C1 outfit Giarre. There, he led them to fourth place, their best ever position in the league. 

      After a relatively unsuccessful two years in Serie B with Venezia, he returned to Serie C1 to take charge of Lecce, a side which he led to two consecutive promotions.

      Again he worked wonders at Cagliari, also guiding them into the top flight, before inconsistent seasons in quick succession with Sampdoria, Udinese, Cagliari, Napoli, Messina and Verona.

      In 2009 he replaced Antonio Conte at the helm of Bari, before parting ways with the club in February 2011 with the Galletti sitting at the bottom of the table.

      He arrived at Torino in the summer of 2011, and in his first season won promotion to the Serie A league where they now compete.

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