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A-League All-Stars face a Juventus side on the path to creating a dynasty

Serious: (from left) Carlos Tevez, Gianluigi Buffon, coach Massimiliano Allegri and Patrice Evra of Juventus.

Serious: (from left) Carlos Tevez, Gianluigi Buffon, coach Massimiliano Allegri and Patrice Evra of Juventus. Photo: Reuters

Unlike Manchester United's visit last year, the ANZ Stadium "house full" sign is unlikely to be seen before Sunday's A-League All-Stars match against Juventus. Merchandise tents won't sell out before kick-off and not all fans will sit in the stands gaping in awe.

Last year there was 90 minutes of silence as fans were stunned by Manchester United's presence. Juve's fans won't hold back. Those attending will witness something special. 

Juventus are not coming here at the end of an era, or the birth of a new project. They arrive as a team firmly on the path to creating a dynasty.

They will face the A-League All-Stars as the reigning champions of Italy for the past three years. If the next phase of their mission is a success, they will be European champions in nine months.

The sudden departure of coach Antonio Conte during the break sent shockwaves around the world as fear crept in that Juve's control over the peninsula was weakening. But according to those within the club, it presented a chance for Juventus to make the next step in a plan to conquer the continent. Conte revolutionised the squad and turned the club back into the monolith it once was. However, he failed in Europe. In his place enters Massimiliano Allegri, a man who – despite winning a Serie A title with rivals AC Milan – became the scapegoat for a poorly run club in a nosedive.

He laboured with a creaking squad that was forced to shed stars each transfer window to balance books but still did something Conte could not – continuous qualification for the Champions League knockout stages.

Throughout Juventus' history, European success has been a sore point. Their only two triumphs have been hollow victories, one via a penalty shootout and the other overshadowed by the tragic Heysel disaster.

With more supporters outside of Turin than within, Juventus claim to be the team of their nation. In an era when Italian sides have succumbed to clubs from Spain, England and Germany, there is an onus to carry the flag. 

Juventus came close to returning to the summit in 2006 before dreams were dashed by the corruption of former managing director Luciano Moggi. Now, they feel they are presented with an opportunity to finally provide their fans with genuine continental glory along with a fourth consecutive "Scudetto". Standing in the way are 19 Italian teams that despise Juventus, along with the new cashed-up European elite.

"This year will probably be much harder compared to the last year because there is more competition," Allegri said. "The other teams in Italy are better and they've strengthened their [squads] quite significantly. Juventus is still the favourite, however it will be a more challenging championship this year."

The stories surrounding Juve's transfer market dealings have all been about approaches for their two prized midfielders, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba. European heavyweights such as Manchester United and Real Madrid prepared offers that would test transfer records but all have been rebuked so far. The consensus is Juve remain bullish but, according to sources close to the club, the duo have dug-in their heels – such is their belief in the club's project.

If Friday's British papers are correct, it will take a transfer fee five times greater than Juventus' outlay and a personal salary twice his current earnings to lure Vidal away from Turin. As of now, he remains a "Bianconero".

To reinforce the club's ambitions, hours before the players landed in Sydney on Friday morning, news broke of an audacious bid to sign the cornerstone of Arsenal's creative play, Jack Wilshere.

So driven is the club to strive forward that only the injured Alvaro Morata was omitted from the squad shipped to Asia and Australia. Those whose futures are surrounded by speculation were not spared from the rigours of travel to play showcase teams hastily put together on the other side of the world. Their travelling party includes more than just coaches, physios, players, marketing and media staff; it includes directors and administrators who remain in Sydney amid the wheeling and dealing of European summer transfers. 

Allegri was flanked by captain Gianluigi Buffon, last season's top scorer Carlos Tevez and new signing Patrice Evra at their first press conference since arriving in Australia.

"I'm very happy to be here, it's great to be here for our season launch, we're preparing for our season to start," Tevez said.

To reinforce this, club owner and president Andrea Agnelli watched from the front row. There are no publicised jogs on Bondi beach or a barrage of quick-stop promotions. They have a clear view of Sydney's two biggest landmarks from their hotel windows on the harbour, but it is clear these Italians are not on holiday.

1 comment so far

  • I'm expecting the Foxtel A-lg all stars to beat Juvenuts 3-2 in a very open and flowing game.
    juventus have lots of talent in their team, but the Aussie outfit will be more hungrier, and very keen to show the tourists they mean business for the entire 90 minutes.

    Commenter
    Foxtell A-lg All-stars 3 ( will beat) Juventus 2
    Location
    Woonoona
    Date and time
    August 09, 2014, 1:27PM

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    Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

    Round 1
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    Round 4
    Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
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    Round 5
    Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
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    Round 6
    Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
    NEW 0vs BRI 4 Stats
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    Round 7
    Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
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    Round 8
    Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
    VIC 3vs ADE 2 Stats
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    WEL 5vs MCY 1 Stats
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    Round 9
    Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
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    Round 10
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    Round 11
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    PER 3vs VIC 3 Stats
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    Round 16
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    Round 18
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    Round 20
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    NEW 0vs SYD 1 Stats
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    Round 21
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    Round 22
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    Round 23
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    VIC 2vs CCM 1 Stats
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    Round 24
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    Round 25
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    Round 26
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    Round 27
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    Round 28
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    Round 29
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    Round 30
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    Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
    Overall standings
    Team P W L +/- Pts
    Melbourne Victory 27 15 4 25 53
    Sydney FC 27 14 5 17 50
    Adelaide United 27 14 9 15 46
    Wellington Phoenix 27 14 9 10 46
    Melbourne City FC 27 9 10 -5 35
    Brisbane Roar 27 10 13 -1 34
    Perth Glory 27 14 5 10 50
    Central Coast Mariners 27 5 14 -24 23
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