Juventus chasing immortality

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Juventus's redemption is complete, after they claimed a first legitimate Scudetto in nine years with victory over Cagliari on Sunday evening.

Six years ago, Juve were cast into the wilderness as punishment for their prominent role in the Calciopoli scandal, but they have been transformed into the best team in Italy once again under the stewardship of Antonio Conte.

There was always the sense that this season offered a new beginning for the Biaconeri, with the move to a purpose built new home an opportunity to forget previous transgressions at the ageing Stadio delle Alpi.

Beating an AC Milan side littered with stars to the Serie A title is, in itself, a superb achievement by Juve, yet Conte's side could break new ground should they avoid defeat in their final game of the season.

After 37 matches, Juve have yet to taste defeat in the league, and their final encounter against Atalanta next weekend provides a chance for the Turin giants to become the first Italian side to ever go a 38-game season unbeaten.

And, although Conte was keen to savour the title-clinching victory against Cagliari, the former Juve midfielder quickly turned his attention to the possibility of yet even more history.

“Winning the league is something beautiful,” Conte told Sky Sports Italia after Sunday's game. “It's amazing. Amazing. A very special year has become extraordinary. Congratulations to all the players and the fans.

“Only against Lecce was there a mishap. And even then, I still thought we could win it. We are champions of Italy, and have gone 37 games without defeat.

"Now we want to go the whole season unbeaten. It would be an historic feat.”

The meeting with Atalanta looks set to be the last time Juve captain Alessandro del Piero will represent the club in the league, with the 37-year-old set to leave Turin on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Del Piero's committment to Juventus through the near catastrophe of the Calciopoli remained unwavering, as did that of Gianluigi Buffon and they, above all others, deserve to revel in the club's transformation.

"I start every year to win. Sometimes it doesn't happen - recently a lot - but this repays us with a very special flavour for what happened in 2006," Del Piero said.

"My experience here has been wonderful, I am embracing my team-mates tonight with great happiness and enthusiasm, as I do in all the games whether I played or not."

Buffon added: "Tonight, without doubt after the World Cup, is the greatest joy of my sporting life," Buffon said. "Finally it can give a sense to the phrase that hard work pays off.

"I thought of many people in these moments and there are many dedications to make, first of all to Alessandro Del Piero, as finally we were able to celebrate together again."

Del Piero will leave Juventus at the end of the season as the club's greatest ever icon but, avoid defeat next Sunday, and he will depart Turin an immortal.

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