Juventus' season is in TATTERS already after Champions League exit

Veterans are showing their age in Max Allegri’s an outdated tactical plan and they’re £26m worse off after Champions League exit… Juventus’ season is in TATTERS already – but can Antonio Conte or Zinedine Zidane be tempted?

  • Juventus have been DUMPED OUT of the Champions League after Benfica loss 
  • Massimiliano Allegri must take the blame with his system and style outdated 
  • Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte are dream targets – but don’t come cheap 
  • Fans are wary that the season could continue to get worse if Allegri stays on 

The flames of hell have now devoured Juventus. 

If there were a group mentioned by Dante Alighieri in his poem ‘Divine Comedy’ dedicated to the worst teams in the Champions League, there would certainly be room for Juventus and their historical negative records that accompanied the sensational 4-3 defeat against Benfica. 

In the course of more than 100 years of history, the Italian club had never conceded three goals in 45 minutes in the Champions League and had never completed a cycle of five games with only three points in standings. 

This has been historically bad.

Tuesday’s defeat to Benfica represented one of the lowest points’ in Juventus recent history

The Juventus capable of winning nine league titles is no longer there, it is dead and, simply put, they are not yet able to be reborn because they lack ideas, players and coaches suitable for building a new winning culture. 

After eight consecutive trips to the knockout phase, Juventus have been dumped out of the Champions League.

The lack of character depth is also attributable to Massimiliano Allegri, who almost never manages to turn a match around from losing positions.

Tuesday’s match against Benfica represents one of the lowest points in Juventus’ recent history and produced a result that lost the club around €30million (£26m) in prizes, TV rights and tickets in 90 minutes. 

With 11 goals conceded in Europe it is the first time in the Champions League that Juventus have let in so many goals after the first five games. 

Juventus were eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday after losing 4-3 to Benfica

The team’s charisma is similar to that of a piece of butter that loses consistency in the pan at the first heat of the flame. They put up no fight, no resistance.

It is quite clear that the Italian club unfortunately suffered all the embarrassments and mistakes of their coach for 70 minutes.

Forty-five per cent of the possession and 100 fewer passes in midfield than Benfica: these figures, which did improve in the last 20 minutes as part of a spirited comeback, should be enough to show how Juventus fell to defeat.

It showed both a technical and tactical inadequacy – and that all starts and ends with Allegri.


Watching Allegri this season is like watching a reckless betting expert on the stock exchange, who continues to invest money despite the losses on the shares he owns, desperately hoping to recover lost cash.

Allegri is persisting with a style that doesn’t work and players that are badly out of form. The losses, metaphorically, are piling up in light of Champions League elimination.

Benfica’s fluidity looked seamless. They ran and performed complex tactical instructions at supersonic speed while Juventus looked slower – much slower – and that limited them to banal displays. 

Players look devoid of ideas and a spark can only come from a change in management

Allegri’s philosophy has been out of touch for years and is simply inexcusable at the top level in Europe. 

A shock is needed to salvage this season and this shock can only be the result of a change of coach.

Allegri’s gaze is one of suffering; he constantly talks to his staff because he doesn’t appear to have the ability to make decisions on his own. He looks like a child in trouble, clinging to the legs of his parents – in this instance that is Simone Padoin and Marco Landucci – in search of solutions to the team’s problems.

The first 70 minutes on Tuesday night was the latest demonstration of inadequacy of a coach who has few ideas left in the tank. 

His 3-5-2 is like a dummy that is given to children to try to reassure them. Its placebo effect lasts a few minutes and does not solve the problems. 

Allegri’s gaze is one of suffering and his tactical inadequacies have been exposed in Group H

Juventus have players suitable for 4-3-3 but the coach has been experimenting since the beginning of the year, constantly twisting the players’ tactical points of reference and to no great success.

Juve immediately leave the Champions League at its first hurdle but what the fans do not forgive Allegri for is that this team has never given the feeling of being able to continue the European journey in these disastrous five matches. 


Even the Europa League now seems hazardous. 


If Andrea Agnelli had not had Allegri sign a four-year contract, today the Italian coach would probably no longer be on the bench after the disastrous match against Benfica. 

It was so abject, it’s the type of aberration that gets a manager sacked. 

Agnelli will know now that he made the wrong choice – but paying off Allegri wouldn’t come cheap. 

It is only October and Allegri has already failed the target at the beginning of the season, crashing out of the Champions League group stages.  

Players chosen by directors Federico Cherubini and Maurizio Arrivabene have so far underperformed and now there is talk of ripping it up and starting over. 

Andrea Agnelli (right) must be cursing the fact he tied Allegri down to a four-year contract

Playing as they did in Lisbon, Juve risk ending the season between eighth and 10th place in Serie A. That would be damning. 

Allegri and his side have lost points against Salernitana, Sampdoria and Monza, and those kinds of performances are seriously compromising the team’s standing in the league. 

Juventus are viewed as a boxer who gets punched in the face and can’t stand up waiting for the referee’s final count. 

There is no strength, no determination and no form of love for the club to push these players to try and do something to help the team and drive them forward. 

The main fault lies with Allegri and his determination to insist on players who have no future in Turin: Bonucci, Cuadrado and Rabiot, or others with a contract expiring like Alex Sandro.

So, who can replace him? That’s a key talking point in and around the Allianz Stadium for supporters. 

One low cost solution is Paolo Montero. 

A cheaper – and more likely – replacement option right now is Under-19 boss Paolo Montero

Zinedine Zidane (left) and Antonio Conte (right) are both seen as dream options for Juventus

The Uruguayan coach is doing very well with the Under 19 team and is rapidly climbing the ranks under Agnelli. 

As stated in many interviews, Montero was the Juventus president’s favourite player and this could be a determining factor in elevating him to the top job. 

But then there are the glamour names heading into next season: Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidane. 

The two former Bianconeri midfielders have Juventus DNA and both have the desire and ambition for different reasons to return to Turin. 

Money would likely prove the toughest sell with the maximum contract that Juventus can offer around €9million including bonuses.

With Juventus’ finances not what they once were and an ageing squad heading in the wrong direction, the bigger question is who in their right mind would leave a Champions League club – or in Zidane’s case, the serenity that comes with being out of work – for this? 


Not that Allegri is willing to accept this, though.

The team chosen for the match in Lisbon is an ode to the maddening obsession of betting on old and frightened players who have long since past their peak.

Allegri is big on trusting his veterans but it isn’t paying off and again in Lisbon, when Benfica raced into a 4-1 lead, it backfired epically – again. 

Bonucci and Cuadrado were the only ones in the Juventus starting XI to have faces full of fear and stress during the Champions League anthem – and their psychological condition negatively affected their performance on the pitch. 

Juventus appeared slow and disheartened. They appeared to lose touch with just how important the match was in their qualification hopes. It was, unquestionably, a must-win game.

Juan Cuadrado (left) continues to have faith of Allegri (right) but he is a source of contention

Conceding three avoidable goals in a few minutes was due, in large part, to the two dressing room elder statesmen.

When Bonucci and Cuadrado went off the pitch they were almost happy to have ended their agony in a horrible game in which the team lost the match in the missed duels and lapses in concentration defending counter-attacks.

Taking centre-back Bonucci first. He is a bowling pin who got knocked down by the speed of the Benfica players. It was hard to watch.  

It’s a miracle that he didn’t cry when he was substituted because his confusion on the pitch was so evident that it was also underlined by the perplexed looks of team-mates Danilo and Federico Gatti. 

Cuadrado, on the other hand, continues to lose the ball in an awkward way, causing seriously frustrating situations for team-mates, such as the penalty awarded by the referee minutes after Moise Kean’s goal. 

Cuardrado argued, several times, with team-mate Dusan Vlahovic with the striker exasperated at not getting balls into his feet. 

It was handball from the Colombian and again Allegri was left to curse his veterans. They hinder, rather than help, it seems.  

Leonardo Bonucci almost looked relieved to have been taken off after another tough evening

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