Last night, Juventus collected their three final points of a campaign that might well go down in the record books as the most complex throughout the club’s glorious history. When the match official blew the final whistle in Udine, the fans and players alike were almost relieved to reach the end of it.
Despite all the uninspiring displays and occasional embarrassing defeats, Max Allegri’s men still assembled enough points to secure a Champions League spot. Yet, the 10-point deduction catapulted the club from third to seventh in the Serie A standings, meaning that La Madama will have to settle for a Conference League spot… unless UEFA decides to deny us entry to Europe’s third-tier competition.
But for a short while, the Bianconeri thought they’ll have access to the slightly-more prestigious Europa League. Federico Chiesa’s strike put Juve in a temporary sixth place, until Roma snatched a late winner to reclaim their spot.
But based on the chaotic events of the season, Juventus fans shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was Paulo Dybala who struck the final nail in the coffin by converting the Giallorossi’s spot-kick.
The Argentine’s teammates joined him to celebrate the winner under the Stadio Olimpico’s famous Curva Sud in one last ironic twist that summarizes the Old Lady’s miserable campaign.
Now surely it was only a penalty goal against a struggling Spezia side, but La Joya has swiftly established himself as the main talisman in the Eternal City since his infamous departure from Turin last summer.
Therefore, last night’s action served as perfect metaphor for a club that has been hindered by a series of ill-advised decisions taken by its recurring managements.
Undoubtedly, the old regime spearheaded by Fabio Paratici remains the biggest culprit in the story. The shady actions committed by that administration sparked the whole legal storm that plagued the club’s campaign, culminating in two seperate sanctions and a 10-point penalty which was enough to cost Juve a spot amongst the elite in next season’s Champions League.
Paratici’s reign was then succeeded by a new management led by Maurizio Arrivabene and Federico Cherubini (still under the guidance of former president Andrea Agnelli). And while the actions taken by these men were relatively less dubious from a legal point of view, it was still destructive from a sporting sense.
We all remember how Arrivabene boasted about getting rid of Dybala and his lucrative contract with a confident (almost smug) look on his face.
So if Paratici’s business cost us the Champions League, Arrivabene’s “calculated” decisions saw us missing out on the Europa League, and sadly, it’s the players and the fans who are paying the ultimate the price for supporting a club that is still haunted by the ghosts of the past.