The Bianconeri had another amazing campaign both on and off the pitch growing in stature as one of the world’s top clubs. Here is what transpired in the 2016 for the Italian Champions.
In 2016 Juventus continued their dominance of Italian football completing the rare Drive for 5. For only the third time in Serie A history a club has won 5 consecutive Scudetti and the Bianconeri ended 2016 with no signs slowing down for number 6. They also completed a second consecutive domestic double by winning their record 11th Coppa Italia, coming short, however, in the Italian Supercoppa losing to Milan in Doha Qatar at the end of the year. Here is the Bianconeri’s eventful and successful recap of 2016.
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Lichsteiner, Khedira, Marchisio, Pogba, Alex Sandro, Dybala, Higuain.
2016 saw some significant changes in the Juventus lineup. Most notably rising young star Paul Pogba was sold for a world record 110 million Euros to Manchester United in a much publicized, drawn out saga. Eventually the allure of Man United and pressure from Adidas convinced the Frenchman to Old Trafford. There were no hard feelings however his presence is still missed at the time of writing. On the other hand Juventus completed the 4th largest transfer in history with the signing of forward Gonzalo Higuain for 90 million Euros. Not only did they add one of the top strikers in world football while weakening their closest opponent, but the transfer sent a message to the rest of the world that Juventus is one of the elite clubs in the world.
When Paolo Dybala was purchased from Palermo, there were lofty expectations placed on the youngster and boy did he deliver. Dybala’s pace, touch, scoring prowess and setup skills have made him the next big superstar in world football. He is being compared to Lionel Messi and the club even rejected an 80 million Euro offer from Barcelona. Juventus is a much better team with Dybala in the lineup and still struggles when he isn’t on the pitch.
Max Allegri keeps collecting trophies. His hard aggressive style has kept players on their toes and held accountable for their actions. At this point he has nothing left to prove domestically and will feel pressured to win in Europe. He was close in 2015 but now with a stronger lineup it’s up to him to deliver the club to the promised land and win the Champions League. Only then can Juventus be considered one of the elite of Europe.
There were many great matches for Juventus in 2016 however one stands out the most. In the 2016 Coppa Italia final Juventus faced Milan in an extra time thriller. Throughout the match it was evident that Juventus was short on gas and not as hungry as Milan. The rossoneri’s lack of talent however prevented them from finishing the match off and the 0-0 scoreline went into extra time where Juventus substitute Alvaro Morata hit home the winning goal in the 110’ to seal the domestic double for the Scudetto winners.
It’s easy to forget that at one point in the 2015-16 season Juventus was in 7th place. After this poor start the club went on a 15 game win streak culminating with a last minute win against Napoli from a Simone Zaza screamer. This allowed Juventus to move ahead of the Partenopei at the top of the table and the Bianconeri never looked back from there.
In the Champions League Juventus were unlucky to draw Bayern Munich in the round of 16. In the second leg of the tie Juan Cuadrado put the Bianconeri in control with a 2-0 lead, enough to move on to the quarter finals. Unfortunately a late game collapse allowed Bayern to tie the match 2-2 and win 4-2 after extra time. It was a cruel result after Juventus played an extraordinary road match, making fans and players question what could have been.
This is a tough one as there can be many candidates for Juventus hero of 2016. One of the most important pieces of the club is Leonardo Bonucci. The Italian centreback played the best season of his career. His advanced technical skills have allowed him to play like a deep lying midfielder spreading the ball around and clearing away any danger defensively. He scored vital goals such as the one against Sevilla in the Champions League and against Napoli. He is arguably the best centrback in the world after having an incredible Euro 2016 tournamnet on and off the field. The unfortunate illness of his son has endeared him to millions of fans worldwide and is an incredible ambassador of the game of football as well.
Juventus is known to have some of the most fervent and loyal supporters in Italy, with an unfortunate violent reputation. The Bianconeri’s newest Ultras group “I Gobbi” were created in 2013 and in 2016 were investigated into by the Torino police. It was determined that the group were really a front for the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrese mafia. They were involved with ticket scalping, drug trafficking, extortion and other illicit activity. A club of Juventus’s stature cannot be involved in organized crime. The group have since been arrested and banned from the stadium. Despite Juventus’s success at maintaining a safe and enjoyable atmosphere at Juventus Stadium, they are not immune to the troubles of supporter groups that have plagued the rest of Serie A.