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Despite that domestic dominance, it has been customary for the last three or four years, to preview the Juventus season with the observation that, frankly, nothing matters as much to Italy’s winning-most club as the Champions League final. With the arrival of Ronaldo, that pressure has clearly increased. Beaten in two of the last four finals, Juventus dearly want to get back there again, and win it this time, a point not hidden by any of the club heavyweights:
“This year, we’ve got to move on from the dream to the realisation. We set out to win everything”, said club President Andrea Agnelli in his pre-match get-together at the family villa with the squad. His cousin, John Elkaan, the chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) sounded equally ambitious:
“This year we have a really strong Juventus, one of the strongest ever… Every year, when we meet up here, on the one hand we are celebrating our past successes but on the other we’re thinking about how much we still want to win…”
Even coach Massimiliano Allegri, normally a man to calibrate his words carefully, could not hide the Juventus ambitions under any sort of bushel, saying:
“This year, more than all the previous years, we’re determined to win the Champions League. After losing two finals, we’ve really got to try to win it…but you always need that little bit of good luck as well as of humility…
Inevitably, Allegri had words of praise for his most famous new boy, saying:
“Ronaldo is living proof that you don’t win five Balon d’Or just because you are technically gifted. He is a player who puts himself under pressure every day and that has helped him achieve fantastic results.
“The team is already itching to go out there an win and the more quality you have the easier it is, above all in the Champions League. To win that you have to score goals and in the last few years Ronaldo was often the leading goalscorer…”
Allegri also had a few words to say about another of his big names, returning prodigal son, Leonardo Bonucci, back at Juventus exactly one year after he stormed out in a temper, joining AC Milan instead. In a remark which suggests that past differences between himself and Bonucci have been laid aside, Allegri said:
“He (Bonucci) is a very important and very experienced player who will greatly strengthen our defence…”
As for Bonucci, talking with reporters this week about his famous new companion, he said this:
“Well, at least if we draw Real Madrid again in the Champions League this season, we won’t start off 0-1 down because of him. This time, he is playing for us…”
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