Now that a long, thrilling season for Juventus has drawn to a close, Andrea Agnelli met journalists at Juventus Stadium to give his analysis of events over the past year. It was just two weeks ago that the team lifted their 33rd Scudetto trophy and showed off the Coppa Italia won in Rome to the Juventus Stadium crowd. And despite the disappointment of losing the Champions League final to Barcelona, there is a great sense of satisfaction at having done the double.
“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved this year. We’re left with mixed feelings after the match in Berlin. Obviously, like any match, when you play a Champions League final you play to win, but I think it shows we've got back to the level we all wanted to be at in Europe. It’s true that we’ve lost more finals than anyone else, but at least we’ve got to the finals and we shouldn’t regret anything about Saturday’s game. There have been others, such as Manchester, Athens and Munich, that left us with a bitter taste in our mouths, but the team’s performance in Berlin is a great starting point for the future,” began Agnelli.
“We got to the final via an impressive run. The match against Dortmund and the semi-final against Real Madrid were the turning points of our season and enabled us to go into the match against Barcelona with an open mind. We conceded after four minutes and could have crumbled, but instead we picked ourselves up, got the equaliser, had an excellent 20-minute spell and could have won the match.
“All of this gives us confidence in what we can achieve, though just because the next Champions League final is going to be in Milan and Milan is nearby, we shouldn’t think that we will definitely get there. We’ll try, but the finalists change every year and getting to the final is extremely difficult. I would like for us to have a more serene group stage, with qualification for the round of 16 secured by the fourth or fifth matchday. For us to go further we’ll need to be in good form and get a bit of luck in the draw – two years ago Real Madrid and Manchester United, both potential finalists, were drawn against each other at the round-of-16 stage, so one had to go home,” continued Agnelli.
Agnelli then went on to speak of his pride at the trophies won by the team this season: “We’ve won our tenth Coppa Italia and our 33rd Scudetto. It’s been an extraordinary season for which I can only thank the part of the club run by Giuseppe Marotta, Fabio Paratici and Pavel Nedved. Last summer, in the space of just two days, they demonstrated all of their professionalism and calm in finding a solution that allowed us to continue the journey we started a few years ago, and on 16 July we unveiled Max Allegri as our new coach. I have to thank him for the courage he showed in accepting Juve in that historic moment, when whoever came in as coach was going to be under immense pressure. He came in with his quiet manner and slotted in seamlessly to our way of working, managing to help the team to improve even further, and the results are there for all to see.”
The president also had words of thanks for other areas of the club: “I would like to thank the area run by CEO and Chief Financial Officer Aldo Mazzia, which oversees all services, and the Real Estate and Continassa development team. The project should be inaugurated within three years and will allow us to create a real Juventus hub in the area and a proper Academy in Vinovo.
“I would also like to thank the area run by Chief Revenue Officer Francesco Calvo, which oversees all of the sectors that create revenue and are involved on a daily basis in activities that have allowed us to make a step up in terms of quality. Usually, when you think of a football club, you make a distinction between the club, the coaching staff and the team, as if they were three separate entities. At Juventus, however, they are all the same thing – all of them are useful and none are indispensable. This has made the difference and the work we’ve done so far, with the full support of my cousin John, has allowed us to generate turnover of €315m in the 2013/14 season, enabling us to take on the large European powers on the football field. The important thing is to be able to manage this firepower well,” said Agnelli.
Juventus are certainly managing it well at the moment, enjoying another successful season: “We can’t judge a season’s success on the amount of trophies we win, but on whether we get to spring still fighting on all fronts. Of course, the objective is to win every competition we take part in – that’s in our DNA and always will be – but when I judge the results of those who work for Juve I have to make different evaluations, such as the realisation of our industrial objectives, for example. Excellent work has been done so far, with the agreement with adidas, the renewal of our agreement with Jeep and, most recently, our regional agreement with Tecate in Mexico. It’s my privilege to guide a group of real leaders and I would like to thank all the men and women at Juventus who have enabled us to achieve these results and who, as of yesterday, have already started working to help us obtain new success.”
Attention then turned to sports politics, which sees Agnelli and Juventus compare and contrast with other clubs: “I will be an executive board member of the ECA, chaired by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, for the fourth year. I’ve had the chance to learn about the situations of other European teams from the first, second, third and fourth tiers. All of these clubs deserve attention and with them we work to develop football at all levels. Then there is UEFA, run by Platini and Infantino, where I’m a member of the Club Competition Committee and have an excellent relationship.
“What ECA represents to UEFA should happen on a national level, between the Lega and the Federation, which should be focused on football matters. Club associations should be run by people with business minds, while institutional associations should be run by footballers, who are more familiar with the issues. Firstly, in Italy we’re lacking sports facilities and a proper plan. There is talk of reforming the leagues but what are the roles of the Lega Pro, Serie B and Serie A in the system? And what is the role of the technical sector? I can’t see it, yet we need a medium- to long-term plan. In the Lega, we unanimously voted to invest €400,000 into goal-line technology to clear up two or three cases every year, but we still don’t know exactly what happened during the Derby. Here at Juventus Stadium, with half of that investment, we installed Panomera video cameras, which record what’s going on inside the stadium in real time to guarantee safety and ensure the authorities can act quickly. This leaves me perplexed in regard to our priorities,” concluded Agnelli.