Juventus face a trip away to Cagliari at the Sardegna Arena on Wednesday evening, in what will be their first game since securing a ninthsuccessive Serie A title.
The Old Lady clinched another Scudetto on Sunday after a 2-0 win over Sampdoria, in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to take his tally to 31 Serie A goals for the season.
As for Cagliari, the 14th-placed side haven’t won in their last eight fixtures, with their last triumph coming on 27 June in a 4-2 thumping of struggling Torino.
The hosts will not exactly be expecting to end that dreadful run against the champions on Wednesday, especially as they lost the reverse fixture 4-0 earlier this season.
Here’s 90min’spreview of this fixture…
When is Kick Off? Wednesday 29 July What Time is Kick Off? 20:45 (BST) Where is it Played? Sardegna Arena TV Channel/Live Stream? Premier Sports 1, LiveScore App
Maurizio Sarri will have to make do without a number of his star attractions, with Brazilian winger Douglas Costa set for another spell on the sidelines, alongside Sami Khedira, Giorgio Chiellini and full-back Mattia De Sciglio. The former Napoli boss could also be without both Paulo Dybala and Danilo who were forced off through injury during their triumph at the weekend.
With the league already secured and a meeting with Lyon in the Champions League on the horizon, Sarri could rest some of his key men.
As for the home side, there should be no major injury concerns to trouble manager Walter Zenga, although Nahitan Nandez will miss out through suspension.
Juventus: Buffon; Cuadrado, Rugani, De Ligt, Alex Sandro; Matuidi, Bentancur, Ramsey; Bernardeschi, Higuain, Ronaldo
While Juve did wrap up another relatively comfortable league title at the weekend, it’s not all been plain-sailing of late. The restart has seen them drop points at both Atalanta and Sassuolo, while they also suffered defeats to AC Milan and Udinese – with the latter loss delaying their title celebrations.
Their season as a whole has been somewhat confusing, with their title triumph perhaps overshadowing some poor performances and their ageing side. With a vital Champions League clash to come, it could be a good opportunity on Wednesday to build some momentum.
As for Cagliari, their wretched run of form may not have put at them at risk of relegation, but it doesn’t exactly bode well ahead of next season. In fairness, the hosts have rarely been thrashed of late, albeit they have been on the wrong side of a number of cagey affairs.
Juve may have one eye on their European hopes, but they will no doubt want to end their title-winning season in style. Star man Cristiano Ronaldo will also be hoping to hunt down current top scorer Ciro Immobile, who is currently on 34 Serie A goals for season.
It’s never straightforward with this Juventus side, but it would be no surprise to see them score a hatful of goals on Wednesday.
– Liverpool won their first league title in 30 years.
– Leeds United were promoted to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years.
– Real Madrid won La Liga for the first time in three years.
– Football stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the first time, well, ever.
We at the DEPR headquarters rank the 25 (yes, 25) best teams in Europe for the 30th and final time this season. And to do so we thought we’d bring out the big guns; the guns that, after firing, you look at and say ‘madonn’.
Yep, that’s right, it’s The Sopranos week.
“‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.”
For years, all Leeds United fans could bring themselves to talk about was ever fading memories of their Don Revie-led glory days. When their team were the best in England, winning league titles and FA Cups by the truckload.
Now, finally, they have something else to talk about.
For the first time in 16 years, their club are back where they belong in England’s top flight. And we at DEPR are bloody glad they are.
“In your worst dreams a duck flies off with your penis.”
In Sevilla fans’ worst dreams, Barcelona or Real Madrid fly off with Lucas Ocampos this summer.
They’ll be hoping that their qualification for the Champions League will be enough to keep hold of the talented Argentine.
“Life is putting the prozac to the test.”
The first half of the Bundesliga season was remarkable for Borussia Monchengladbach. They were locked in a three-horse race for the league title, and were absolutely blowing away every team that dared face them with their ferocious counter-attacking football.
The second half of the season was a different story. It, well…let’s just say it put the prozac to the test for Gladbach fans. BUT, while their title challenge fell apart, they did manage to sneak into the Champions League.
“In my thoughts, I use the technique of positive visualisation.”
Ok Leicester City fans, we know that the last day of the season didn’t exactly go to plan, but let’s look at the positives:
– Your club massively overachieved this season. – Jamie Vardy won the Golden Boot. – James Maddison is signing a new contract. – Big Brendy Baps has your team playing great football. – Your new kit is lovely.
“If I had any ounce of self-respect I would cut your d**k off.”
If RB Leipzig have any ounce of self-respect then they wouldn’t have tweeted about Timo Werner signing for Chelsea like a Twitter fan account called @MaestroMount8.
“Teddy Roosevelt once gave an entire speech with a bullet lodged in his chest. Some things are just a matter of duty.”
Stefano Pioli once resurrected an entire football club with a bullet lodged in his chest – a wound he’s miraculously survived.
So despite Milan all but appointing Ralf Rangnick as their manager for next season, Pioli – due to a certain 10 game unbeaten run and wins over Juventus and Lazio – will be in charge at San Siro for the 2020/21 campaign.
And he bloody deserves to be.
“Like Popeye says, I yam what I yam.”
Love them or hate them, Atletico Madrid are still just who they are:
A boring, yet effective, football team.
“Other people’s definitions of you, sometimes they’re more about making themselves feel better. You gotta define yourself.”
At the start of the 2019/20 season, every single member of the 90min editorial team tried to define Sheffield United as relegation fodder.
During the 2019/20 season, the Blades proved themselves to be a lot more than that. They defined themselves as a top half team who play arguably the most exciting football in the Premier League.
“Well, what are you gonna do?”
Well, Borussia Dortmund…what are you gonna do this summer?
Are you going to keep hold of Jadon Sancho?
Are you going to sign a defender who can actually, you know, DEFEND?
Are you going to sign more central midfield cover?
Or are you going to accept the fact that you’re only the second best team in Germany? Huh?
It’s time to show some ambition BVB. Do the right thing.
“I’m like King Midas in reverse here. Everything I touch turns to sh*t.”
In 2017, Ousmane Dembele was one of the most exciting prospects in the world. Now, he’s a bit sh*t.
In 2018, Philippe Coutinho was one of the most talented attacking players in Europe. Now, he’s a bit sh*t.
In 2018, Antoine Griezmann was one of the best footballers in the world. Now, he’s a bit sh*t.
All of the above is proof that everything Barcelona touches turns to sh*t.
“Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
Let’s call a spade a spade, Gennaro Gattuso isn’t a particularly great manager and Napoli haven’t been particularly great since he’s taken charge.
However, every once a while, he’s able to inspire Napoli to a huge win.
The Coppa Italia final was one such win. So, you know, credit where it’s due.
“More is lost by indecision than by wrong decision.”
Manchester City underperformed this season for one simple reason: they didn’t buy a centre back last summer.
Instead of buying a centre back they trusted John Stones, who proved once again that he is completely and utterly hopeless.
“When you’re married, you’ll understand the importance of fresh produce.”
Another summer of buying a billion players and selling a trillion players led to yet another Eredivisie title for Ajax.
“You steer the ship the best way you know. Sometimes it’s smooth. Sometimes you hit the rocks. In the meantime, you find your pleasures where you can.”
Inter’s 2019/20 campaign has been a pretty interesting one.
Sometimes it’s been smooth, when Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez were firing on all cylinders and I Nerazzurri were challenging for the title.
Sometimes they hit the rocks, with defeats to Bologna.
Overall though, there’s been plenty to enjoy for Inter fans this season, and under Antonio Conte their club are certainly moving in the right direction.
“Some people are so far behind in a race that they actually believe they’re leading.”
Chelsea think that they’re absolutely smashing the transfer window so far with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Neither of those players are defenders, and that’s what the Blues are in dire need of.
“Positive vibes only.”
Had COVID not put a halt to the Serie A season, SS Lazio would probably be celebrating their first Scudetto in 20 years.
And that’s a pretty depressing though to Le Aquile fans so let’s not dwell on it. Instead, let’s dwell on the fact that your club have been absolutely outstanding this season and will probably be even better in the next.
Nine SPFL titles in a row and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
You Bhoys…you Bhoys…I’ll tell ya…it’s beautiful stuff.
“Sometimes we’re all hypocrites.”
About eight months ago football fans took to Twitter and declared Manchester United ‘the worst team in the world’, ‘an embarrassment’ and ‘a team full of sh*tters’.
Now, football fans take to Twitter and declare Manchester United ‘the best team in the world’, ‘an amazing side’ and ‘a team full of heroes’.
Twitter is a fickle place, but at least football fans are now slightly closer to being right than they were eight months ago.
“There’s an old Italian saying: you f**k up once, you lose two teeth.”
There’s an old saying in Porto: you f**k up once, Benfica win the Primeira Liga.
So judging by the fact that Porto won the league, it’s fair to say that they didn’t put a foot wrong all season.
“You know, Tony, it’s a multiple choice thing with you. ‘Cause I can’t tell if you’re old-fashioned, you’re paranoid, or just a f**king asshole.”
It’s a multiple choice thing with Juventus.
‘Cause after they bagged their ninth consecutive Scudetto I can’t tell if they’re a great team, a boringly effective team, or just f**king sh*t.
“This ain’t negotiation time. This is Scarface, final scene, f**kin’ bazookas under each arm, ‘say hello to my little friend!'”
This summer isn’t a summer in which PSG can afford Neymar and Kylian Mbappé to force a move away from the club.
This ain’t negotiation time.
It’s UEFA Champions League mini-tournament time, when Neymar and Mbappé need to step up and deliver on the grandest stage for their current club.
This is Scarface, final scene, f**kin’ bazookas under each arm, ‘say hello to my little friend!‘ time for PSG’s two superstars.
“Someday soon, you’re gonna have families of your own and if you’re lucky, you’ll remember the little moments like this, that were good.”
For…well…ever, Atalanta have been starved of success. Seen as nothing more than a provincial club who could never, ever, hope to compete with the two European heavyweights (AC Milan and Inter) from down the road.
And then Gian Piero Gasperini took over, and things changed.
The little Bergamo club are now better than both their mega-rich neighbours – despite their Championship-sized budget – and pretty much every other team in Europe too.
“You’re only as good as your last envelope.”
There’s a strong argument to be made for Liverpool being top of the end of season Definitive European Power Rankings.
They won their first league title in three decades.
They won the FIFA Club World Cup.
They’re the current holders of the UEFA Champions League.
BUT they did choose to lift the Premier League trophy to Coldplay’s ‘Sky Full of Stars’ so for that reason – and that reason alone – they’re down in third.
“Be a leader, not a follower. Master P said that.”
Is Zinedine Zidane the best manager in the world?
The two La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions Leagues and two Club World Cups in just four years as a head coach suggest that he is.
“Just when they thought I was out, they pulled me back.”
After a fairly disastrous end to 2019, Bayern Munich made a new year’s resolution to be the best damn football team in Europe and they actually stuck to it.
Since the turn of the year, Die Roten have won 23 of 24 games, lifted the Bundesliga Meisterschale and the DFB-Pokal, and scored about a million goals (most of which were scored by Robert Lewandowski).
And it’s this form that has led to Bayern Munich being crowned the number one team in Europe by 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings.
Victory over Sampdoria on Sunday evening brought home the bacon for Juventus, who won Serie A for the ninth straight season.
Nine. Straight. Seasons.
That’s quite a silly feat, so silly that we’ve marked it by ranking all nine title winning teams on just how good they were.
A comfortable victory over Sampdoria secured title number nine, but Maurizio Sarri’s debut season has not been without its turbulence.
They were bossed by Lazio in the Supercoppa, the Coppa Italia final ended in penalty-kick heartbreak against Napoli, and they have been on the wrong end of an eyebrow-raiser or two since returning from lockdown – most notably horsing a two goal lead out the window to lose to Milan.
Juventus won Serie A in 2012/13 – that’s about all we can say for it.
The entire season was overshadowed by the Calcioscommesse match-fixing scandal, where manager Antonio Conte and his assistant Angelo Alessio were banished from the touchline for almost a year as a result of their involvement.
Juve themselves weren’t implicated, and escaped with their title on this occasion.
In hindsight, it’s pretty clear to see why Max Allegri left Juve at the tail end of last season.
What was a hugely promising campaign rapidly came off the rails: the warning signs were there in a 3-0 Coppa Italia defeat to Atalanta, and defeat to Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals, followed by a whimpering five-game winless run to conclude the league season, all suggested that Allegri’s Old Lady had snuffed it.
Still, they had Cristiano Ronaldo, and that was something to celebrate in itself.
Conte leaving was supposed to set Juve back a year or two, but as it turned out, it had the opposite effect.
A fresh-faced Allegri arrived from Milan and quickly put together a fearsome defensive unit. They played 450 minutes of league football before they conceded a goal, a run of games that included a 7-0 victory over Parma, on their way to a particularly comfortable title win.
Allegri’s maiden year also saw Juve come within a whisker of European glory, but beating Barcelona proved a bridge too far in Berlin.
Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain were on fire in 2016/17. The Argentine duo racked up more than 50 goals between them, as Juve saw off a stern challenge from Roma and Napoli to win a record-breaking sixth straight title.
This team was really good, arguably the best around, but came up against a Real Madrid team in the Champions League final who were in no mood to be beaten.
Breaking 100 points and keeping top spot from November all the way until the end of the season isn’t bad, eh?
Carlos Tevez made his £8m fee from Manchester City look like a snip as he rattled in 21 goals in a historic season for the Turin giants. Only a disastrous European campaign stops this team ranking higher.
It’s always a bit underwhelming when someone else wins you the league, but it’s something Juventus are no strangers to. Napoli’s victory over Roma in May 2016 made it a record-equalling five straight titles, as Allegri’s team would go on to become the first side in Italian history to retain the league and cup double.
It wasn’t all plain-sailing, however. A diabolical start to the campaign saw them pick up just one win in six, but a derby win over Torino – on Halloween no less – set them back on the right track.
That kicked off a run of 15 straight wins, and they would not lose another game until they travelled to Verona on the penultimate day, with the title in the bag.
You’d hate to be Napoli, wouldn’t you?
Maurizio Sarri’s team took 91 points in 2017/18; enough to be a league winning total in seven of Juve’s nine years on top of the game so far.
It just so happened that they came up against a really, ludicrously good Juve team, who upped their game and responded to the challenge when they had to.
The 2017/18 team summarised the spirit that has been constantly present throughout the past decade. When the chips were down, they were next to impossible to beat, and it ultimately won them a league and cup double for a fourth – fourth – straight season.
Any season where you sign Andrea Pirlo and go unbeaten for the entire campaign is a major win, whichever way you look at it.
Conte’s maiden campaign earned a resilient Juve team a first league title (that actually stood) since 2003, and set the table for a decade of dominance, the likes of which we will never see again.
Well, unless Juventus themselves keep it up until 2030 – which you wouldn’t rule out.
Juventus making history is getting a bit boring now, isn’t it?
For those of you who stopped counting ages ago, it’s now nine Serie A titles in a row for the Turin giants, who swept aside Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria to move seven points clear of Inter with two games to play.
Juve returned from lockdown with a bit between their teeth and it soon became clear that there would be no miracle from the likes of Lazio, Inter or Atalanta. The latter briefly threatened to make it interesting, but heading into their third-from-last fixture (or ‘antepenultimate’ if we’re feeling clever) they needed just one win to put themselves out of reach.
And, inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo, that they did, with Maurizio Sarri becoming the third manager since 2011 to win a league title with Juve.
The encounter at the Allianz Stadium had an all-business feel to it, and you never really thought anything other than a home win was incoming. Ronaldo opened the scoring, because of course he did, when an intelligent free-kick from Miralem Pjanic put him in a yard of space on the edge of the area, and with a right boot like the hammer of Thor, he thundered one past Emil Audero.
1-0 can look precarious when there’s a league title on the line, but things got a lot more comfortable shortly before the second half’s scripted water break. Federico Bernardeschi got his first of the season from close range, and from there on out it was easy street for the hosts, whose comfortable position was only compounded when Morten Thorsby saw red for a petulant second booking.
Ronaldo spurned the chance to make it three when he smashed a penalty off the crossbar, but regardless, that’s now nine titles on the bounce. Until this freakish Juve team came along, no-one in Italy had ever gone as high as six.
Juventus sealed a record-extending ninth Serie A title in a row on Sunday night, beating Sampdoria 2-0 at the Allianz Stadium to take an unassailable lead at the top of the table.
La Vecchia Signora did have the chance to wrap up the title when they face Udinese in midweek, but threw away a lead to lose 2-1. However, that result merely prolonged the inevitable – with Juve now confirmed as champions after goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi.
I Bianconeri have undoubtedly been worse this season than in previous successful campaigns under both Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri. However, consistent slip-ups from closest challengers Inter and Lazio mean Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and co. have wrapped up the title with two games to spare.
Lazio looked like Juve’s closest competitors during a run in which they dropped just points between mid-October until March’s suspension of play, but have won only four of their ten games since the restart. They may end up finishing fourth as a result, behind Inter and Atalanta – who have been the standout team in Serie A since things got back underway.
Inter also looked the part while beating teams below them, but their inability to compete with sides towards the top end of the Serie A table has seen them fall short in Conte’s first season at San Siro. In Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, I Nerazzurri have had a formidable duo up front – but despite their combined 36 goals (Lukaku with 23, Martinez with 13), too many off days have cost Inter dear.
It’s Juve’s 36th top flight title and they also have the chance to win their first Champions League since 1996 later this summer. The Turin outfit have a 1-0 deficit to overturn when they face Ligue 1 outfit Lyon in their home leg of the last 16 tie.