Juventus
    Juventus
      29.11.2014 19:29 - in: Serie A S

      Torino in the spotlight

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      Founded in 1906, the seven-time Serie A winners finished seventh in Italy’s top flight last time out and are currently managed by Giampiero Ventura

      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 the Bianconeri’s ‘Quinquennio’ exploits 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.

      The 2013/14 campaign saw the seven-time Serie A champions narrowly avoid relegation after finishing 16th, but last season Giampiero Ventura’s men experienced somewhat of a renaissance, finishing in seventh position above the likes of Milan and Lazio in Serie A.

      And after Parma were unable to compete in Europe due to financial trouble, the Granata were awarded a Europa League place in this season’s competition, their first appearance at European level since 1994.

      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.

      Prior to moving to Juventus Stadium three years ago, the Old Lady also played their home games there once again from 2006/07 to 2010/11.

      Current team

      Captain Kamil Glik has been a mainstay at the club since joining back in 2011. The Polish-born centre-back, who is known for his physicality and agility, has made 29 appearances for his national side and also enjoyed a two-year spell with Real Madrid C.  

      Twenty-nine-year-old shotstopper Daniele Padelli was an ever-present during the successful 2013/14 campaign that saw Torino finish among the top seven. Even though the Granata ended up on the losing on both occasions, the goalkeeper pulled off a number of important saves during both encounters against the Bianconeri last season.

      Versatile defender Matteo Darmian – who can fill in at centre-back or on either flank – continues to earn rave reviews for his impressive performances in the Torino jersey. The 25-year-old made his competitive debut for Italy during the Azzurri 2-1 win over England at this year’s World Cup in Brazil.  

      Roma-born Cesare Bovo is an experienced defender who has played for six Serie A sides since making his top flight debut back in 2001. The centre-back is currently in his second spell at Torino having rejoined the club from Genoa in 2013 and is very comfortable with the ball at his feet.

      Moroccan Omar El Kaddouri is a silky number ten who acts as the crucial fulcrum between Torino’s midfield and attack. Currently in his second season at the club on loan from Napoli, the 24-year-old has been likened to Bianconeri fan favourite Zinedine Zidane for his similar style of play.

      Transfer activity

      During the summer, Torino brought in four ex-Bianconeri to add to the growing list of players who have featured for both clubs.

      Italian striker Amauri has swapped Emilia-Romagna for Piedmont having joined the Granata early on this summer. The 34-year-old – who scored 17 times in 71 appearances for Juventus – returns to Turin after impressing for Parma during the last two campaigns.

      Teaming up with Amauri is another Juventus alumnus in the form of Fabio Quagliarella, with the 31-year-old returning to the club who gave him his professional debut in football. During his four years with the Old Lady, Quagliarella won three Serie A titles on the spin and contributed 23 goals in the process.

      Nifty midfielder Antonio Nocerino has joined on a season-long loan from Milan. The ex-Azzurri international, who graduated from the Bianconeri youth academy and featured for West Ham in the Premier League during the 2013/14 campaign, is hoping to enjoy a new lease of life in Turin after seeing his career falter in the last few years.  

      Following the expiration of his contract at Parma, left-back Cristian Molinaro has arrived on a free transfer. The experienced 31-year-old plied his trade with Stuttgart in the Bundesliga for four years after leaving Juventus in January 2010.  

      Going the other way, last season’s Serie A top scorer and former Bianconero Ciro Immobile has left for Borussia Dortmund, whilst Alessio Cerci has joined reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.

      The pressure is firmly on both Quagliarella and Amauri to replace the goals of the exciting duo who scored 43 times between them during their tenure at the club.

      Elsewhere, Marko Vesovic has signed for HNK Rijeka on a season-long loan deal whilst Riccardo Meggiorini brought his two-and-a-half year spell in Piedmont to an end by joining Chievo.  

      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 tactician turned his hand to coaching, taking up a post as the Blucerchiati's youth coach and then being made assistant manager of the first team.

      After leaving Sampdoria 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 low-key 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 experiencing 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 Serie A table.

      He arrived at Torino a few months later, and in his first season won promotion to Serie A where they have competed ever since.
      Ventura enjoyed one of his most successful campaigns in Italy’s top flight when he led the Granata to last season’s seventh-place finish and a spot in the Europa League, thus ending the club’s 20-year exile from a European competition.

      His charges currently possess 12 points – the same at this stage last season – but sit down in 15th position, only three off the relegation zone, having won just once in their previous five Serie A games.

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