Juventus are going to win the Scudetto for a fourth consecutive year.
That is a statement that should ring true come the end of the season in May, and propel Massimiliano Allegri’s side into Serie A folklore as a result.
Despite their overwhelming success it is an achievement often overlooked and swatted aside. For all of the problems plaguing Italy’s top flight, the rest of the footballing world should take note at their rise and admire the glory in which they have delivered in recent years.
It seems hard to believe that, nearly nine years ago, the Old Lady were relegated to Serie B as a punishment for match-fixing that somewhat muddied the reputation of the country in the aftermath of Italy’s triumph at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The decision to demote them to the second tier of Italian football sent shockwaves through the entire planet. Having waltzed to the title the preceding season, few had imagined the punishment would strip them off the Scudetto and see them plying their trade away from the heavyweights of both Milan clubs and Napoli.
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Consequently, things changed. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Patrick Viera were amongst the biggest casualties, and joined Inter Milan who were the recipients of the league title that Juventus had so emphatically won. Fabio Cannavaro sealed a transfer to Real Madrid, whilst Gianluca Zambrotti departed for Barcelona. Any hopes of a quick return were quickly being extinguished with a series of big exits.
But what helped was keeping those who remained faithful to the jersey. Alessandro Del Piero, David Trezeguet, Pavel Nedved and Gianluigi Buffon all stayed to propel them back to the top flight. They ultimately helped the club return to Serie A, a division that barring a few years in the wilderness they have taken by storm ever since.
For the years that followed, Inter were the dominant force. Under Jose Mourinho they built a side that would win the treble in 2010, and dethrone Barcelona as champions of Europe in the same year.
But the arrival of Antonio Conte transformed the club. After a seventh-placed finish in 2011, they rallied to finish the following season unbeaten and win the league with 84 points as a result.
It was just the tonic needed after their days in the wilderness. They then won the league title again the following year, with the arrival of Paul Pogba heralded as a masterstroke given his performances that have the rest of Europe’s elite registering interest in him ever since.
Conte bowed out on a high last year having masterminded a league triumph that saw them clock up 102 points from their 38 games, and even the arrival of Allegri has failed to halt their stunning surge to yet another imminent league title.
They have battled through the dark ages and more success around the corner. It is hard to see a side that can beat them to the league title emerging over the course of the next decade.
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