At the end of each season the team who have come first in the Italian Serie A League win the Scudetto, a symbol that was introduced in 1924 for the first time and, worn on the shirts the following season, indicates that the team are Italian Champions. They are also awarded the Italian Champions Cup, the official League trophy since the 1960 - 61 season, and they gain direct access to the Champions League algonside.
Won in the:
In 1980-81, Falcao’s Roma started as big favourites for the title, with Inter predicted as their closest rivals. With only important playmaker Liam Brady joining in the summer, the Bianconeri had a gentle start and after nine games they were behind Roma, Inter, Cagliari, Catanzaro, Fiorentina, Torino and Napoli, even though the table was very close and only four points separated Trapattoni’s men from the Giallorossi.
The recovery started on 14thDecember 1980, with a 4-1 win over Pistoiese corresponding to Roma’s draw against Fiorentina. In the 13thgame, on 18thJanuary 1981 an uninspiring encounter with the Giallorossi finished 0-0 at the Olympic Stadium. Juventus were now considered a third contender for the Championship, alongside Napoli, chasing Roma and Inter. But in the final match of the first half of the season, things became interesting: whilst Roma drew with Avellino at the Olympic Stadium and Inter were surprised by a 2-2 draw at home against the superb Catanzaro, Juve won 1-0 in Firenze thanks to a goal from Tardelli, and were now two points from Roma and just one away from Inter.
Juve prepared to face the second half of the season with new ammunition. In the 18thgame, on 22ndFeburary, it got even closer at the top of the table. Inter caught up with Roma on 24 points, whilst Juve and Napoli were both one point behind on 23. Immediately after, Inter lost contact, going down against Napoli in a direct encounter, whilst Roma victorious over Torino at the Stadio Comunale, put distance between themselves and Juve, even though they were rampant in Bologna (5-1).The fixtures list for the 20th game did the Bianconeri a favour, who overcame Ascoli and benefitted from the 1-1 draw between Roma and Napoli to draw level with the Giallorossi at the top of the table, with Napoli trailing by a point.
This saw the beginning of a long race between the three, full of twists and turns. On the 22ndMarch, the 22ndmatch saw the Bianconeri clinch a 2-1 victory in a thrilling finale against Perugia (Brady’s penalty and Marocchino’s winner in the last five minutes) while Roma drew in Catanzaro and Napoli were shut out in a goalless draw with Avellino. The situation was as follows: Juve 31, Roma 30, Napoli 29. But Inter, looking to restore their pride, beat the Bianconeri on the following Sunday, while Roma defeated Cagliari and Napoli comfortably overcame Bologna. All still to play for. Roma 32, Juve and Napoli 31. On 12thApril, the championship remained up in the air: three squads tied on 35 points, after Juve and Napoli’s victories and Roma’s draw. The win over Udine in the 26thgame saw Juve break away at the top of the table, while Napoli dropped off following their defeat against Perugia. 10thMay, Juve drew with Roma amongst great controversy (0-0, Furino sent off and a Turone goal disallowed for the Giallorossi), and Napoli regained ground with a victory over Como. Juve 40, Roma 39, Napoli 38.
The penultimate game saw Napoli face Juve and Roma awaited a Neapolitan success so they could overtake the Bianconeri. But at San Paolo, a dominant Juve won deservedly and maintained, with only one more game to go, their one point advantage over the Giallorossi, Napoli now left out of contention. The season ended without further drama. On 24thMay at the Stadio Comunale, Juventus overcame Fiorentina with a goal from Cabrini and kept Roma at bay, who drew in Avellino. The race was over, Juve again timed their winning run to perfection. Zoff was an ever present and the icon of an indestructible squad. The 8 goals from Brady and 7 from Cabrini and Tardelli showed that victories are possible if versatile champions are available.