With a history-making fifth consecutive Scudetto title safely on the mantelpiece, not to mention a record 11th Coppa Italia crown, there is only one way for Juventus to provide 2016 with the conclusion that it deserves: with a third and final piece of silverware in Qatar.
These were the words of midfield maestro Claudio Marchisio this morning as the Bianconeri’s number 8 looked ahead to an intriguing showpiece encounter with a Milan side “hungry for revenge” in Friday’s Italian Super Cup in a rematch of May's Coppa Italia final in Rome.
Speaking pitchside at Doha’s Aspire Academy before Juve’s first training session on Qatari soil on Wednesday, Marchisio had this to say of the immediate challenge ahead, his team-mates’ winning mentality and a bittersweet 2016 on a personal level:
“Our focus at the moment is on preparing ourselves as best we can by getting used to the playing surface and the climate here; finals always come down to the smallest details.
“Our league defeat to Milan taught us that we must not underestimate anyone. If you are not at the races against any side at this level, you always risk losing, not least in a game like this where one mistake can cost you the trophy.”
Ready for the Rossoneri
“It’s a one-off fixture against a team that has made a very good start to the season so we will need to be at our very best to come out on top.
“Milan will be dangerous for two reaons: firstly, they will be hungry for revenge after the Coppa Italia final (won 1-0 by Juventus at Rome’s Stadio Olimipico) and secondly, they are coming here on the back of a very positive first half of the season.
“They were not in the title race last time out but they have begun in the best way possible so far mixing experience with the desire of their younger players to good effect. We’re expecting a difficult 90 minutes; they will be here to win and seize the trophy from our grasp.”
Juve? Natural-born winners
“What sets this group apart is our ability to make the most of whatever chance comes our way and take any challenge we face head on. We want to end 2016 in perfect fashion with a bit of silverware.
“Gonzalo (Higuain) has arrived at a club that is characterised by its desire to win and that is why he has settled in so well. That shared value has allowed him to really express himself on the field as a player, and integrate himself into the group off it. He’s a winner and both he and the club as a whole are determined to have another fabulous season."
“On a personal level, this year has been a bittersweet one for me: I could win my third trophy of 2016 on Friday but at the same time I have missed large portions of it through injury.
“As a team, we’ve had a remarkable 12 months, posting incredible figures and breaking records all over the place. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved but now it’s all about Friday and returning home with the Super Cup trophy in our arms.”