The battle between the PFA and A-League owners underlines the challenges faced by football in Australia. It’s time the PFA show some leadership and deal with reality.
As predicted, Juventus won the Italian championship for the ninth time in a row, the 36th in their history.
The confirmation came overnight after a 2-0 win against Sampdoria in Turin, thanks to scores by Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi.
This title hasn’t been celebrated as usual, certainly lifting the trophy as become almost a routine in Turin as it is in Munich, but the critics have some points to make.
New coach Maurizio Sarri’s game did not impress, especially in the second half of the tournament. Despite the win, doubts surrounding the unorthodox coach clearly remain.
Compared to the previous few seasons under Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus wasn’t as dominant as expected.
With two games to play, they don’t have neither the best attack, nor the best defence, they have reached “only” 83 points and even with two wins in the remaining games they’ll not beat the 90 mark as they have done in the previous four seasons.
A problem many other teams will love to have, but a sign that the scepticism that surrounded Sarri’s appointment as head coach may grow even more. Rumours on a possible early conclusion of his tenure have been a constant background in Italian media for several months, while coaches who are currently unemployed – such as reigning Champions League finalist Mauricio Pochettino – have been linked with the position seemingly since the former Chelsea man took over.
Everyone is expecting Juventus to win everything and to win it comfortably, but Sarri has lost Italy’s cup final and his team need to overcome a 0-1 deficit in the upcoming second leg of their Champions League’s round of 16th match against Lyon.
The virtual end of the national competition will allow Juventus to concentrate on this. The bianconeri haven’t lifted the most prestigious trophy in European football since 1996, with five unsuccessful finals appearances since then – which is an eternity for their high standards.