Having left Juventus after a successful tenure, Massimiliano Allegri is back in the dugout as head-coach of the Old Lady. The Italian was announced as the club's manager for the second time, ahead of the 2021-22 season after a two-year hiatus.
In his 5 seasons in Turin, Allegri managed to record a mind-boggling win percentage of 70.48%, the highest in the history of Juventus. He also won an incredible amount of silverware to back up his numbers. During his reign, Juventus accumulated a total of 11 trophies. They reached two Champions League finals as well, but lost to Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid in 2017.
Juventus have been on a downward trajectory ever since the 53-year-old Italian parted ways with the Bianconeri back in 2019. Both Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo were sacked after a solitary season, owing to their subpar performances.
Juventus under Allegri
Juventus conquered the Italian top-flight every single year under Allegri, stretching their consecutive Serie A title wins to eight seasons. The Italian helped build a dynasty at the Allianz Stadium that had never been witnessed before in modern-day Italian football.
The catastrophic fall of the two Milan giants initially stimulated Juventus' rise to prominence. But the domestic dominance shown by the Old Lady in the past decade remains unparalleled and was built almost entirely by Allegri and Antonio Conte.
The acclaimed Italian coach inherited a decent squad from his predecessor Conte in the 2014-15 season. Allegri majorly used two formations in the 57 games he managed in his first year at Juve. These were either a flat 3-5-2 with offensive wing-backs, or a traditional 4-3-1-2.
Allegri's first competitive game as Juventus manager was a 0-1 victory against Chievo Verona, away from home. Current Fiorentina defender Cristiano Biraghi scored the only goal of the game, heading into his own net in the sixth minute.
Let's take a look at the set of players that Allegri named in his first Juventus XI.
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Present club: Parma)
The man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Juventus himself. Gigi Buffon is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time, with his career spanning over 4 decades. The Italian legend has made over 1,100 professional appearances for club and country.
The longetivity of the shot-stopper at the top is truly remarkable. Having spent close to 20 years at Juventus, Buffon returned to Parma ahead of the 2021-22 season in a bid to help his boyhood club gain promotion to Serie A.
Center-Back: Martín Cáceres (Present club: Without Club)
Martín Cáceres' career has taken him all over the world, from Uruguay to Spain and even England. However, his most memorable moments came during his time in Italy. Even though the 34-year-old defender made his professional debut in 2006, he has less than 340 appearances to show for his 15-year long career.
Nevertheless, Caceres has proven to be a solid squad member, wherever he has played. The Uruguayan is currently without a club after his contract with Fiorentina ended on July 1st, 2021.
Center-Back: Leonardo Bonucci (Present club: Juventus)
Leonardo Bonucci is fresh off winning Euro 2020, lifting the coveted trophy after a stupendous performance in the final. He has been a stalwart for both Juventus and his national side for over a decade now and shows no signs of slowing down.
The ball-playing central defender has formed a formidable partnership with Giorgio Chiellini at both club and international level. Bonucci has spent some of his best years at Juventus. Apart from a shock move to AC Milan in between, the 34-year-old has been a Bianconeri man, in and out.
Center-Back: Angelo Ogbonna (Present club: West Ham United)
The Italian utility man is currently plying his trade at West Ham United, where he has been a key figure ever since signing from Juventus in 2015.
Ogbonna is known for his strong and powerful stature. He started his career at Torino, rising up the ranks to become a starter. The robust defender joined Torino's cross-town rivals Juventus in 2013, for an initial fee of €13m. Ogbonna spent two seasons with the Old Lady before securing a move to England.
Left Wing-Back: Kwadwo Asamoah (Present club: Without Club)
Kwadwo Asamoah has been an extremely underrated player throughout his career. The Ghanaian consistently put in brilliant performances but still ended up under the radar.
Having spent all of his senior career in Italy, Asamoah was one of Allegri's most trusted players. He moved to Inter on a free transfer from Juventus in 2018, spending two seasons with the Nerazzurri. In early 2021, Asamoah signed for Cagliari on a six-month deal. He is now without a club.
Right Wing-Back: Stephan Lichtsteiner (Present club: Retired)
Stephan Lichtsteiner played most of his senior career in Italy, appearing more than 300 times for both Lazio and Juventus. The dynamic right-back is famous for his hard work and consistency.
He departed Juventus after seven seasons and 14 titles to join Arsenal in 2018. After just 14 Premier League appearances, Lichtsteiner moved to FC Augsburg where he ended his illustrious career.
Central Midfield: Arturo Vidal (Present club: Inter Milan)
Arturo Vidal has won a league title every year since the 11/12 season, barring one, in three different European leagues. That is some achievement. After four fruitful seasons at Juventus, Vidal has switched clubs thrice, spending three seasons at Bayern Munich, two at Barcelona and one at Inter.
What hasn't changed is the effective ruggedness of the Chilean midfielder's game. He recently won the fifth Scuedetto of his career, in his first season with the Nerazzurri.
Defensive Midfield: Paul Pogba (Present club: Manchester United)
Five years after securing a dream move back to Old Trafford, things haven't been easy for Paul Pogba. The flamboyant midfielder has been brilliant in flashes, but it's safe to say that he hasn't lived upto the €105m fee United paid to Juventus in 2016.
Pogba has been constantly linked with a move away from the 'Theatre of Dreams', sometimes to PSG and at others, to Real Madrid. Nevertheless, every football fan is desperately waiting to see whether Pogba can recapture his Juventus form any time soon.
Central Midfield: Claudio Marchisio (Present club: Retired)
A one-club man like his compatriot Buffon, Claudio Marchisio spent just two seasons of his professional career outside Juventus, one of which was on loan to Empoli back in 2007.
The midfield maestro made 389 appearances for the Bianconeri before switching to Zenit Saint Petersburg. He then decided to call it quits after just a solitary season in Russia.
Striker: Carlos Tevez (Present club: Without Club)
The most enigmatic player on the list, Carlos Tevez was as unpredictable as one could possibly get. He had the capability to score a hat-trick one day and the audacity to ditch work to play golf the other.
Tevez was Juventus' most productive player in the 2014/15 season, scoring 20 goals and laying out seven assists. After leaving Italy, Tevez spent two seasons in China with Shanghai Shenhua. His spell in China was sandwiched between two different spells with Boca Juniors. Tevez is currently unemployed after leaving the Argentinian club earlier this summer.
Striker: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich)
The youngest player in the squad, it is hard to believe that Kingsley Coman is still just 25 years old. Arriving in Turin on the back of a single season with PSG, Coman played just 15 times for Juventus before moving to Bavaria. In spite of his numerous injuries, the French winger has managed to cement his place in Bayern's squad. He was a vital member of the historic treble-winning Bayern side of 19/20, scoring the Reds' only goal against PSG in the UCL final.
There were 11 substitutes on the bench that day, of which nine remained unused. Fernando Llorente came on to replace Kingsley Coman in the 68th minute. The only other substitution that Allegri made in the game was to bring on Roberto Pereyra for Arturo Vidal in the 90th minute.
Both Llorente and Pereyra are currently contracted to Udinese. The likes of Patrice Evra, Simone Pepe and Sebastian Giovinco were also present on the bench.
Juventus will be looking to bounce back as soon as possible after two average seasons. In this time, they have crashed out of the Champions League in the Round of 16 twice, and given the Serie A title up to Inter Milan. Will Allegri be able to replicate the success of his past days? Or will his second spell in Turin leave some sour notes on his legacy?