With Serie A title out of reach, Juventus face moment of reckoning – originally posted on Sportslens.com
After becoming an unbeatable force in the Serie A over the years, Juventus’ champion status is under threat as they lose the possibility of becoming champions for the 10th consecutive season.
Whether it is due to the pandemic, burnout or just general lack of consistency, Juventus this season have no longer been the runaway leaders and the battle for number one in Italy has fallen into the hands of Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atalanta.
Having been an ever-present in the Champions League for many years now their European spot is also under even more of a threat.
They currently sit in fourth in the Serie A league table with six games left to play and having played the same amount of games as AC Milan and Atalanta in second and third respectively, level on points with Atalanta and one point behind AC Milan it will be a battle to the wire to finish second.
Napoli on 63 points are just behind and will fancy their chances of nicking a Champions League spot in the final games of the season.
There is little chance of the champions reclaiming their title – Inter are unlikely to lose four straight games in their last five.
Juve still have a chance to finish the season with a trophy if they beat Atalanta in the Coppa Italia final in May.
Manager Andrea Pirlo has come under a lot of pressure this season but as a rookie manager, his debut season has also been met with a lot of support. Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo on the other hand has been routinely criticised.
Initially labelled as the ‘final hope’ when Juve were still in Europe and chasing the league title, he has been made the scapegoat for their failures this season with his wages and performances coming in for serious criticism.
There are now reports that Ronaldo may consider a return to Manchester United, which had seemed very unlikely a year ago.
What is clear for Juventus is that if they do not improve substantially over the summer and next season, this season may just be the first of several that sees the Serie title slipping out of their hands.