Juve's 2018/19 guide: key player, best signing, young gun, formation and prediction
Football-Italia's Adam Digby says only a Champions League title would do for the Old Lady as Serie A is already in their hands.
Star man: Miralem Pjanic
"While it is tempting to copy/paste those words about “CR7” into this section as well, there is a strong case to be made that the arrival of the former Manchester United man will make Miralem Pjanić even more important. Ronaldo will of course steal the headlines – and undoubtedly the lion’s share of free kick duties too – but the Bosnian playmaker possesses a unique blend of skills that make him indispensable to the Bianconeri cause.
"Emre Can was a useful acquisition, Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira have World Cup winners’ medals, but none of that trio can claim to have the vision, passing ability and creativity that comes so naturally to Pjanić. From his role in front of the defence, the 28-year-old will pull the strings in a team that never clicks properly without him on the field."
Breaking 📰 [SPORT Italia] | Juventus are close to renewing the contract of Miralem Pjanic, who has been linked to Barcelona.— BarcaTimes (@BarcaTimes) August 10, 2018
Pjanic's contract ends in 2021.
Juventus are in advanced negotiations with Pjanic's agent pic.twitter.com/djHAKQmyQS
Key signing: Cristiano Ronaldo
"Who else could it be but Cristiano Ronaldo? Surely a contender for the Ballon d’Or later this year, he will hope to be the man who finally allows the Old Lady to fully realise her dreams and claim that long-awaited third Champions League crown. After denying her twice almost single-handedly, Juve have amassed enough talent to allow Ronaldo to now deliver on that promise for her, knowing that Douglas Costa and Paulo Dybala can help him achieve that aim.
"Top scorer in UEFA’s elite competition for each of the last six seasons, it will undoubtedly Ronaldo’s goals that carry their hopes of success, and it will certainly be in the big Champions League games where they expect him to deliver."
🗣 "Cristiano Ronaldo is on our side now. If we face Real Madrid, we won't start the match 1-0 down. We have the advantage now."— Football Talk (@Football_TaIk) August 12, 2018
- Leonardo Bonucci. pic.twitter.com/I0cCCICp7q
Young gun: Rodrigo Bentancur
"As has already been discussed, the Bianconeri have sacrificed youth for experience, meaning that Rodrigo Bentancur is the only member of the current squad under the age of 24. That the second-youngest is João Cancelo – a full Portugal international now representing the fourth major club of his career – highlights that La Vecchia Signora really will be an ageing beauty in 2018/19, but also serves to underline the belief she has in the Uruguayan midfielder.
"Fresh from an impressive World Cup, Bentancur will hope to find space to improve his already impressive passing and movement, while looking to earn more appearances than the 27 he managed last term."
The Coach: Massimiliano Allegri
"By now Max Allegri needs no introduction, collecting four Serie A/Coppa Italia doubles since arriving in 2014 and propelling Juve to the forefront of Europe. Now with Ronaldo at his disposal, the 50-year-old will need to find a way to bring the best from such a high-profile star while rotating those behind him to ensure everyone is fresh and happy in the latter stages of the campaign.
"His 4-3-3/4-3-2-1 formation should allow the Bianconeri to do just that, a framework that should exploit the pace of his attacking options while simultaneously remaining defensively solid and tough to break down."
Happy 51st Birthday to our manager Massimiliano Allegri. 🎂🎁— Forza Juventus (@ForzaJuve2017) August 10, 2018
Juventus under Max Allegri:
424 Goals scored
153 Goals conceded
+271 Goal difference
71% Win record
4 Coppa Italia
2 CL finals
🏆: 9 pic.twitter.com/LiPFgwi3V5
2017-18 prediction: All about Europe
"With Napoli going through a transition period as Carlo Ancelotti reacclimatises to life in Italy once again, AS Roma still a little behind and Inter yet to prove they can deliver a sustained challenge, domestic football should once again not prove too taxing for Juve, particularly with Ronaldo in the side.
"However, the success of signing him and getting Bonucci back will not be judged in Scudetti and Coppe triumphs, meaning this really is a Champions League or bust campaign. Achieving that will not be easy, they will need the draw to be kind to them and probably a little luck along the way, but anything less than ultimate glory will likely see the experiment deemed a failure."