The facts, events, stories and people that made Juventus the most successful team in Italy
Juventus win it all
The Boniperti era started with a bang by winning back-to-back championship titles (1971-72, 1972-73). It was the beginning of a successful period in Juve’s history which saw them lift nine Scudetto trophies, celebrate their first European success with the 1977 UEFA Cup, the 1984 Cup Winners’ Cup and the Champions League.
However, the long awaited success in Europe’s most elite competition was marred by the Heysel tragedy which took place in Brussels on 29 May 1985. Something inexplicable happened before the start of the match and 39 innocent victims lost their lives. From that moment on, football would never be the same again. The two teams decided to go ahead with the game in order to try and restore law and order, and in the end, Juventus won the cup. It was a joyless success, but the victory enabled the Bianconeri to fly to Tokyo in the winter to play in the Intercontinental Cup final. Argentinos Junior were beaten on penalties and Juve were crowned World Champions.
Vycpalek and Carlo Parola helped form an unstoppable machine under Boniperti’s presidency but then, in 1976, Giovanni Trapattoni took over the managerial reigns. The coach from Cusano Milanino helped guide Juventus to an era of dominance by investing in young Italian players such as Zoff, Scirea, Tardelli, Cabrini, Causio, Rossi, Gentile, Furino, Anastasi and Bettega. From the 1980s onwards, Boniperti was able to sign foreigners who would go on to make world-beating contributions. The first example of this was Liam Brady, an intelligent Irish midfielder who dictated the pace of play, had passing expertise in abundance and scored valuable goals. His final strike, scored from the penalty spot in Catanzaro gave Juve their 20th Scudetto title on 16 May 1982 and enabled the club to add a second star to the shirt. The Juventus supporters were ecstatic.
Less than two months later, on 11 July, the whole of Italy would share their joy as the national side won the World Cup for the third time. Looking through the team it was impossible not to see the resemblance to Trapattoni’s side. Zoff, Gentile, Cabrini, Scirea, Tardelli and Rossi were the mainstays of the Italian National Team who lifted the cup in Madrid in the presence of Sandro Pertini, president of the Italian Republic. With six goals in seven games, Rossi was the tournament’s top scorer and was fully deserving of the Golden Ball award, just the second Italian player (after Rivera) in history to receive this honour.
In the immediate aftermath of the World Cup, the number of foreigners eligible to play in Italian teams increased to two, so Polish Zibì Boniek and, more significantly, Michel Platini arrived at Juventus. The Frenchman proved to be a true world-beater. He displayed elegant movement, regularly featured on the scoresheet, played with his head up and consistently placed passes onto his teammates’ feet from 50 yards away. Le Roi went on to win the Golden Boot and Golden Ball three years in a row as he thrilled fans the world over. During the triumph in Tokyo, he scored the winning penalty and saw one of the best goals in football history disallowed. In that season, Juve achieved their final Scudetto of the Boniperti era. Platini went on to play one more season before then becoming a coach, manager and President of UEFA in 2007.
Platini’s retirement coincided with a restructuring of the team which saw Juventus enjoy a less successful period, despite a UEFA Cup-Coppa Italia double in 1990. Dino Zoff was at the helm and ably supported by one of his great friends and former team mates, Gaetano Scirea. But fate cut that solid partnership short during a trip to Poland where Gaetano tragically died in a car accident while on a scouting mission for Juve’s next UEFA Cup opponents. The 3rd September 1989 is a date that no supporter will ever forget.