From Michel Platini to Zinedine Zidane and from Didier Deschamps to David Trezeguet, Juventus have benefited enormously from having a host of French stars in their ranks over the past 30 years, all of whom traversed the Alpine border to pull on the famous black and white stripes.
When Juventus cross the Alps...
While past and present Gallic stars – former Ligue 1 representatives Patrice Evra and Mario Lemina likely to be among Juve’s travelling party this time around – have inspired Bianconero success at an individual level, the club as a whole has fared extremely well generally when paired with French opponents in European competition, winning 24 times, drawing five and losing five.
With the stage set for a 25th Franco-Juve duel on Tuesday night, Juventus.com takes a look back at three standout European successes on French soil in Europe’s three major competitions, the Champions League, the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup.
Although Juve (31) and Lyon (16) have appeared in the modern Champions League and its predecessors a total of 47 times between them, tomorrow night’s clash will be the first direct meeting between the two teams in the history of the tournament.
In the form of a Europa League quarter-final clash in April 2014, there is at least one past encounter to speak of. On that occasion, a last-gasp strike from Leonardo Bonucci, the defender capitalising on a goalmouth scramble to ram home from close range, made it advantage Juventus in the two-legged tie before the return fixture the following week.
A one-goal aggregate lead soon became two just minutes into the return match at Juventus Stadium thanks to an early Andrea Pirlo free-kick.
Lyon, dangerous on the break throughout, would bite back through Jeremy Briand to jangle home nerves and cancel out Bonucci’s precious away goal only for Claudio Marchisio’s deflected shot to deflect wickedly off Samuel Umtiti and into the net 22 minutes from time.
While not the most memorable, the Bianconeri’s latest meeting with French opposition was arguably one of the most significant.
The Old Lady made the short hop across the Mediterranean to face Monaco on the back of a narrow 1-0 victory in Turin knowing that just avoiding defeat in the principality would be enough to send them through to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2003.
And sure enough, a battling display in Monte Carlo saw Juventus reclaim their place among Europe’s top four but were made to work for the spoils by the competition’s surprise package.
Resilience was the order of the day at the Stade Louis II as both sides played out a full-blooded encounter with clear-cut goalscoring opportunities in short supply. In fact, just two shots on target (one for each side) were recorded across the 90 minutes, the lowest figure from any match that season.
But, a clean sheet earned in testing circumstances was all that was needed as Arturo Vidal’s first-leg penalty sent Massimiliano Allegri’s men marching on to Madrid and eventually a place in the final.
For quantity and quality however, 1997’s thrashing of Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Super Cup remains unrivalled, the double header setting a record for the highest aggregate score in the history of the competition, 9-2.
With just four minutes on the clock, Sergio Porrini grabbed the visitors the lead with a firm left-footed strike that arrowed between goalkeeper Bernard Lama and his near post. This advantage was doubled 18 minutes later when Michele Padovano headed home to put the Bianconeri firmly in the driving seat.
Any doubts that lingered over the final outcome were truly laid to rest nine minutes shy of the interval, when Ciro Ferrara connected with Zinedine Zidane’s cross-cum-shot to send a bullet header flying into the top corner.
But Juventus were in no mood to let up and when Vincent Guerin’s attempted clearance was only prevented from crossing the line by Lama’s heroics, Padovano was on hand to pick up the pieces from close range on 40 minutes.
A Paris Saint-Germain penalty inside the opening exchanges of the restart, converted expertly by Brazilian playmaker Rai, could have sparked a revival from the hosts.
Yet the Bianconeri kept their foot on the accelerator and made it five through Atillio Lombardo’s coolly taken strike after gliding past his man in the area, before Nicola Amoruso rounded off a night to remember with goal number six at the death.
A 3-1 win in Palermo two weeks later would mark the crowning glory of one of the greatest ever 12-month spells for the club as Juventus conquered the world; the Super Cup joining the Champions League, Italian Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup trophies in the cabinet.