25 April 2016
Take five straight Scudetto titles and try to analyse the greatness behind them all.
What makes winning five consecutive league championships so complicated is the need to keep a team at the pinnacle of the competition throughout half a decade.
History shows that very few clubs in world football have managed this, but, by recruiting well across the board, constantly innovating and refreshing ideas in training methods and beyond, and not least by maintaining a ruthless, winning mentality, Juventus have threatened to make what many could only dream of look easy.
Of course, it is no small feat to keep a group of players motivated for every moment of a five-year period, but this is exactly what has enabled the club, brick by brick and* *win by win, to construct the royal palace of achievements.
Then there is the fortress, otherwise known as Juventus Stadium. Five seasons on from the fanfare surrounding its inauguration, the arena has only ever known Scudetto success.
The Bianconeri’s home form has been imperious yet again this term, winning their last (14) on the trot and not conceding a single goal in (nine) outings in 2016.
Defensive strength has undoubtedly been a key common denominator across the five title-winning campaigns. In Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Martin Caceres, Juventus can count six players who have formed the crux of their rearguard over this entire period and whose understanding with one another only knows an upward curve.
In the words of Buffon himself, setting a new Serie A record for minutes without conceding (973) owed a great deal to the men working tirelessly in front of him.
If personnel has changed relatively little across the backline over the years, the same cannot be said for the midfield and forward areas.
Summer departures of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez left Massimiliano Allegri with the challenge of remolding two fundamental departments of the team. In the Tuscan tactician, however, the club could not have been in safer hands, blending several new signings* *brilliantly not only on the pitch, but also creating the perfect environment for them to forge strong bonds and friendships off it.
The transformation would not have been as effective without the more experienced group members setting the example and raising their own games in the process. This is precisely what Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba have done, the former establishing himself as the most reliable of midfield lynchpins, regularly dictating the flow of the game, the latter providing energy aplenty and increased ammunition in the final third to record what has been his most productive Serie A season for goals (eight) and assists (12).
Meanwhile, up front, the irresistible displays and mesmerising goals of Paulo Dybala have won over the hearts and minds of everyone of a black and white persuasion. Replacing Tevez was never going to be straightforward, but in La Joya the club have succeeded in bringing in one world-class Argentine for another.
Then, anyone searching for the so-called secret to Juventus’ success will also discover the most beautiful element not only of this illustrious club but of sport.
No individual is ever more important than the collective.
Over the course of a 38-game league season, each squad member plays their part. Times that by five and absolutely everyone playing or working for the Bianconeri has contributed to this record-breaking* *winning formula – one which is spelt quite simply, Juventus.