26.06.2015 11:11 - in: The team S

      Champions of Italy!

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      The Bianconeri wrap up Scudetto number 33 after defeating Sampdoria 1-0 and edge closer to a second consecutive unbeaten season on home turf with a 1-1 draw against Cagliari

      Back on 2 May, the Bianconeri were standing on the cusp of a 33rd Scudetto title, needing only a point from their trip to face Sampdoria in Liguria in order to reconfirm themselves as champions of Italy.

      Not content to rest on their laurels however, Massimiliano Allegri’s men went one better, claiming a 1-0 triumph at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris courtesy of Arturo Vidal’s header on 32 minutes.

      During a first period bereft of clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, a moment of magic was needed to light the blue touch paper, and after Stephan Lichtsteiner had delivered a pinpoint cross to the back stick that took all the Blucerchiati rearguard out of the game, his Chilean comrade diverted an effort across Emiliano Viviano and into the back of the net.

      The hosts, who were looking to end a five-match winless run and tighten their grip on a Europa League spot, rallied after the break but came up against a stern Juventus wall which defended tirelessly throughout the encounter.

      When Paolo Valeri’s whistle finally brought a halt to proceedings, chants of “I campioni dell’Italia siamo noi” rang out from the travelling faithful as the players got the celebrations started on the pitch and in the dressing room.

      Below are just some of the protagonists’ post-match thoughts on a memorable domestic campaign.

      Allegri: “We believed we could do it and were at the top from the very start. I came into an important dressing room and gradually we’ve worked together, doing an extraordinary job. Credit for this Scudetto win also goes to the lads, who worked their socks off from day one. We’re a great group.”

      Gianluigi Buffon: “The Scudetto titles become even better as the years pass. You never get tired of winning. In fact, the older you get, the more you enjoy these triumphs. We’re a group who possess a strong mentality, spirit of self-sacrifice and a will to always want more.”

      Andrea Barzagli: "I honestly didn't think we'd go on to win as much as we have. The opening of Juventus Stadium sparked off something special that has made this club great again and seen us enjoy incredible success. We've written a chunk of Bianconeri history and we want to go on adding more pages."

      Leonardo Bonucci: “It’s amazing how great this Scudetto feels. We’ve all been fantastic throughout the campaign. Credit to everyone: the players, the staff and also to our fantastic boss. We’re dedicating this to our fans: they’re Juve’s beating heart and are always on hand to help us with their support.”

      Giorgio Chiellini: “We’re fantastic in every department, everyone has played their part. We possess excellent individuals like the new lads who hit the ground running from the start. I’d also like to give an honourable mention to the defence. We know how to dig deep and maybe I’m the symbol of these characteristics.”

      Seven days later, attentions once again turned to Serie A as Allegri’s charges welcomed struggling Cagliari to a sun-soaked carnival atmosphere at Juventus Stadium.

      One man making his grand return to action that day after a prolonged spell on the sidelines was Paul Pogba who capped a strong performance by giving the Old Lady the lead on the stroke of half-time with a deflected long-range effort.

      Despite Juventus dominating the second period as they endeavoured to put the result beyond any doubt, the Rossoblu equalised five minutes from time when Luca Rossettini poked the ball over the line after seeing his initial header rattle the upright.

      Regardless of the stalemate, the Bianconeri were able to extend their unbeaten run on home turf to an incredible 46 matches, last succumbing to Sampdoria 2-1 in January 2013.

      Speaking after the encounter, Pogba had this to say on his comeback: “I did lots of running and didn’t feel anything so I think I’m well set. I am pleased with my goal but I wanted a win today as well and we drew. Still, I’m happy with my performance and with my level of fitness during the game.”

      The boss was also full of praise for the returning Frenchman: “Paul put in a decent display and is in good physical condition. It was important for him to regain his judgement of distances in the middle of the park.”

      Domestic duties done and dusted, now it was time to finally focus all attentions on a two-legged Champions League semi-final against European heavyweights Real Madrid.

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