This May will mark the 25th anniversary of Juventus last winning the UEFA Champions League.
Back in 1996 Marcello Lippi’s side were victorious over Ajax on penalties at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Since then, we have been runners-up on five occasions:
1997: Borussia Dortmund
1998: Real Madrid
2003: AC Milan
2017: Real Madrid
Juventus have dominated Serie A for the past nine years, but the European Cup continues to evade us.
According to data from a recent Betway study, squad value usually equates to success. This is backed up by 16 of the 18 most valued squads currently in Europe being in the Champions League Round of 16, which kicks off this week.
Juventus are of course one of those, as shown in the infographic below. And our odds with the bookmaker are 12/1 – fourth favourites, behind Bayern Munich (3/1), Manchester City (3/1) and Liverpool (15/2).
Those odds are also a fair reflection of the squad values – as Liverpool top the table at €1.1 billion, closely followed by Manchester City’s €1.06 billion-rated squad and Bayern Munich’s €891.4 million.
We’re not currently dominating domestically as usual, eight points behind leaders Internazionale but with a game in hand. Down in fourth, also below AC Milan and AS Roma. It hasn’t been the easiest of debut campaigns for Andrea Pirlo, but the World Cup winner and legend still has time to lift a trophy this season.
Could it be the Champions League? Never say never. Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona all look far from their best this season. And when you have Cristiano Ronaldo in your side, nothing is impossible.
The most expensive Serie A transfer in history has a lot of support in attack – Alvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala, Federico Chiesa and Juan Cuadrado are all match winners in their own right, whilst youngster Dejan Kulusevski could cause a few surprises in the knockout stages.
We remain solid in defence too, which you can’t say about all of the remaining contenders for the Champions League – Liverpool have had issues this season, Barcelona aren’t too tight and Atletico Madrid conceded eight in the group stage.
Leonardo Bonucci, Danilo and Matthijs de Ligt have all been dependable once again this season whilst Wojciech Szczesny has proven to be a good shot stopper between the posts. The acquisition of Weston McKennie from Schalke 04 in the summer gives us a determined, energetic and powerful midfielder in front of the back four two, particularly following Blaise Matuidi’s departure to the MLS.
Our Round of 16 first leg is on Wednesday as we travel to FC Porto. Arguably one of the more favourable sides we could have drawn. The Portuguese giants have drawn their last four games domestically – very uncharacteristic. They are seven points behind leaders Sporting Club of Portugal in the league and having played a game more.
Can Juventus win the 2020-21 Champions League? Absolutely. We’re as good as anyone on our day and have a bunch of experience in the squad to lead the way.