5 league champions who were relegated the very next season
From unbridled joy to cruel heartbreak in successive seasons
No other team’s fans have experienced unbridled joy and cruel heartbreak in successive seasons as much as those who saw their title-winning teams get relegated in the very next season. Be it due to scandals or just plain poor performances, quite a few teams have gone through the ignominy of suffering the drop after lifting the league title the previous season. Many have come back to the top division in the very next season itself, but missing out on a full season of football in the top-flight can have severe consequences, especially losing top quality players. We look at five such champion teams who were relegated the very next season.
#5 Juventus - Serie A
Technically, Juventus were relegated immediately after winning the Serie A title in 2006 and not after playing another season. But they are in this list because of the scandal that shocked the football world to its very core – the Calciopoli scandal of 2006.
Juventus had won the 2005/06 title comfortably with a record that saw them win 27 games and lose only one in 38. They celebrated the title with 91 points in the bag – three points ahead of AC Milan. But before 2006 World Cup glory, Italian football was brought down to its knees.
Juventus general managers Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo were at the heart of the matter. They were accused of influencing decisions with respect to which referees would officiate games in the Serie A and which key players from the opposing teams would be booked in games against the Turin-based club. Entire telephone conversation transcripts were even published in newspapers.
The result? Juventus were stripped of not only their 2005/06 title but the 2004/05 title as well as more proof emerged. Other clubs were also not spared. Clubs like AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina were deducted points (the original punishments of relegation for the latter three were cancelled after appeals).
The Old Lady ended up losing big players like Fabio Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram and Zlatan Ibrahimovic who decided against playing in the Serie B. But there were players who did not desert the team such as Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero, Pavel Nedved, Mauro Camoranesi and David Trezeguet.
“A true gentleman never leaves his lady.” said Del Piero at the time. In spite of a 9-point deduction, Juve won the Serie B title in the very next season and gained promotion back to the Serie A.