The following is a guest post written by Ahmed Khawaja

It was like the script of a Hollywood movie, or perhaps even better. The club legend returns home, rallies the troops and helps his fallen team rise from the ashes and back to its former glory.

Antonio Conte and Juventus. Butch and Sundance. Adam and Eve. Names synonymous with each other, forever intertwined and joined at the hip.

Conte was nothing short of a miracle worker. The team was meticulously rebuilt from scratch, top to bottom. The players were in awe of their warrior coach, as donkeys became stallions and fledglings became birds of prey. The hunger, the desire, the will to win at all costs, the Juventinita…Antonio Conte was the living embodiment of it all.

3 consecutive league titles on the trot & 2 Supercoppa triumphs followed as Conte’s Juve stormed its way back to the top. Records fell by the wayside as his team dominated the Italian peninsula with one crushing victory after the other. Europe was proving to be a tougher nut to crack, but it was only a matter of time before Conte worked out a winning strategy for that too.

Juve had found their Alex Ferguson. The club’s future was secure and in safe hands. Five, ten maybe even fifteen years…Conte was ours, he wasn’t going anywhere. The next chapter in La Vecchia Signora’s glorious history was to be written by a man from Lecce.

That is not to say it was plain sailing all along. A wrongful suspension from the FIGC for his (nonexistent) role in the Calcioscommesse scandal in his 2nd year would see Conte pushed to the very limit, the agony clearly etched across his face as he was forced to watch his team from the stands for four, interminable months. Whispers of disagreements over transfer market strategy with the Juve top brass were also ever-present, but none of it seemed drastic enough for the unthinkable to ever happen.

Which is exactly what happened on July 15th, 2014.

“I need to announce the consensual decision to terminate the contract with Juventus, which tied us together for this season. There was a journey towards this decision.”

An announcement that sent shockwaves through the footballing word, a dagger through the hearts of the Juve faithful.

Barely 2 days into pre-season training for the 2014/15 season, and Conte was no more. He had walked away from it all.

What could possibly have gone so wrong that Conte felt there was no other option but to leave? It was only in May when he had had a tête-à-tête with the Juve management and confirmed that he was staying for next year.

Some say the club could not deliver on Conte’s high expectations from the transfer market; others suggest that he had lost the passion and drive to push on again. The truth may be somewhere in the middle, a collective failure of all parties involved.

Personally speaking, the fact that he left so abruptly and so late into pre-season is a very bitter pill to swallow. Conte has left Juve in a very difficult situation as far as preparations and strategies for the upcoming season are concerned. His legacy has been badly – and perhaps even irreparably – damaged with this about turn. No player, coach or individual is ever bigger than the club, and to walk out on the players and fans so suddenly is nothing short of desertion.

This was not the right way to say farewell. This was not how this beautiful chapter in Juve’s glorious history was supposed to end, with more questions than answers, and anger instead of sadness.

A famous footballer once said about Juventus that ‘’A true gentleman never leaves his lady.’’ Well this time, the gentleman did just that.