Time for champions Juve to make mark in Europe

Zee Media Bureau/Rajdeep Saha

New Delhi: The Old Lady of Turin was smiling again on Sunday after Juventus won their third successive Serie A title.

The celebrations in itself have become a regular phenomenon for Antonio Conte`s side. Juve rule Italian football and this time they recorded 102 points to show their dominance. The gap between them and second placed AS Roma was a whooping 19 points and another 26 points from third placed Napoli.

Before their hat-trick, Italy had witnessed the city of Milan sharing the title honours eight times between Inter (6) and AC Milan (2). Juve was stripped off two titles won under former manager Fabio Capello in 2005 and 2006 owing to match-fixing scandals which led to demotion to Serie B. After their comeback the following year, the Turin giants haven`t looked back since then and made their way to the top after Inter`s dominance in between.

Conte has led Juve to a position which promises more Italian Scudettos. Inter and AC Milan have entered a period of transition and re-building and therefore will take time to pose a challenge for the domestic title. But Conte knows it isn`t just Italian supremacy that Juve need. They should look to be the champions of Europe.

After Inter`s CL win in 2009-10, no Italian club have featured in a semifinal in the last four years. None have won a Europa League too. Juve have looked below par in recent CL campaigns and have gone down to European elites. The gap has looked threatening between them and the likes of Bayern, Chelsea and Real Madrid. That is the gap Juve need to close down and therefore improve to a better scale. This season they bowed out in the Group stages before losing in the semifinals of the Europa against Benfica.

Juve need Champions League glory to make a mark alongside other European giants in the recent game and Conte is the man to do that for them. The latter has cited an urge to leave the `Old Lady` and Juve need to hold on to him along with signing some influential players. Its time for them to make it large beyond the Scudetto.

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