Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018

Soccer: Juve boss calls for patience, sounds Italy alarm


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, April 11 - Juventus boss Antonio Conte said
time, rather than a few big signings, was needed for the Turin
team to be able to be a genuine candidate to win the Champions
League after they were turfed out by Bayern Munich in the
The coach also sounded the alarm for Italian football,
saying he could not see a Serie A side winning the Champions
League in the near future after its only remaining
representative in the competition exited the last eight 4-0 on
Serie A sides ruled the roost in Europe in the late 1980s
and early 1990s, but the Italian top flight has lost
competitiveness in recent years.
The domestic game has been dogged by problems, including
hooliganism, racism and match-fixing, and even the biggest clubs
like Juventus, AC Milan and Inter no longer have spending power
to match that of top continental outfits.
Most Italian teams do not own their stadiums, but rent them
from local authorities, which means they cannot use them to
generate revenue - a factor seen as playing a big role in the
loss of economic muscle.
As a result, Serie A has fallen to fourth in the UEFA
ranking after being overtaken by the German Bundesliga, so now
there are only three Italian teams in the Champions League,
rather than the four they had before this season.
"The way things are right now, I don't see any Italian
teams winning the Champions League for the next several years,"
Conte said after seeing his side soundly beaten 2-0 by Bayern
Munich on Wednesday.
Juventus are better off than most as they are the only
Serie A club to own their own stadium after opening a slick
modern complex featuring shops, restaurants, conference
facilities and a museum in 2011.
But there is still a big gap between their financial
firepower and that of the likes of Bayern, Real Madrid,
Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Given this situation, Conte believes the only way for
two-time European champions Juve to regain their position at the
top of the game is to work hard and have lots of patience.
"There's a great deal of work to do, but we already knew
that," Conte said.
"It's no good thinking that two or three big signings will
enable you to win the Champions League next season. Patience is
"Bayern aren't just technically strong, they're also
physically powerful, they've got young players and will remain
at the top of European football for many years.
"There's bound to be a gap when you take on such an
organised club and a team that has reached two Champions League
finals in the last three years".
Conte has revived Juve's fortunes since taking over his
former club in 2011.
He led them to the Serie A title in his first season in
charge to end the long trophyless spell they endured after being
relegated to the second tier and stripped of two league crowns
for involvement in the 2006 Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.
His men are on course to retain the scudetto, as they are
nine points clear at the top of the table with seven games to
The coach said he was satisfied at the European campaign
despite the exit.
"Given that two years ago we weren't even in the Europa
League I have to congratulate my players for getting this far,"
said Conte.
"They've worked really hard to make a mark in this
competition over the past two years.
"They (Bayern) were simply stronger than us and we can only
congratulate them".
Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon agreed that Juve have a lot
of work to do, but said they have strong foundations to build
"Juventus are among Europe's eight best sides," Buffon
"That's an irrefutable fact and it's the basis from which
we'll start from in order to improve further".

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