The announcement that Massimiliano Allegri and Juventus will go their separate ways was not met with the shock normally reserved for such occasions.
One of the most successful managers of the modern era, the 51-year-old led Juventus to five consecutive Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia wins in five years in Turin, but his departure prompted a largely subdued reaction among fans.
Many were thankful to Allegri for Juventus’ sustained dominance, but a large majority was happy to see the back of him. A lack of success in Europe and a brand of football that was perceived as too dull and pragmatic ultimately ended a marriage where love never truly blossomed.
While Allegri might not be universally liked among Juventus fans, he has earned his place in the club’s history and, statistically at least, should be considered among their greatest ever managers.
Giovanni Trapattoni (1976-1986, 1991-1994)
Arguably the most influential manager in the history of the club, Trapattoni took Juventus’ domestic dominance and extended it to Europe. His first stint in Turin delivered six league titles, including the one that saw Juventus become the first Italian club to have two stars adorning their badge to symbolise 20 league titles.
If success within Italy’s borders was nothing new, Trapattoni reached heights previously untouched by his predecessors as he led Juventus to their first European trophy by winning the UEFA Cup in 1977.
Seven years later, the Cup Winners’ Cup and the European Super Cup followed, before the Bianconeri landed the most coveted prize of them all in tragic circumstances at Heysel in 1985 and then added the Intercontinental Cup to their cabinet a few months later.
Known for his pragmatism, Trapattoni combined the core of Italy’s 1982 World Cup winning defence with exciting attacking talents of the calibre of Michel Platini, Paolo Rossi and Zbigniew Boniek.
The trio had gone by the time Trapattoni returned to the club in 1991 after five years, but he still managed to guide a Roberto Baggio-inspired Juventus to another UEFA Cup win in the second of his three seasons in charge.
Marcello Lippi (1994-1999, 2001-2004)
Tasked with returning Juventus to domestic glory after a barren period, Lippi went way further and catapulted the Old Lady to the top of world football. By the time he replaced Trapattoni, Juventus hadn’t won the league in nine years – an eternity by the club’s standards.
Not afraid of making unpopular decisions, Lippi ushered Juventus into a new era on and off the pitch.
Roberto Baggio, a club icon, was replaced by the precocious talent of Alessandro Del Piero, while Juventus recruited the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps, Vladimir Jugovic, Alen Boksic and Christian Vieri.
In his first year in charge, Lippi delivered the Scudetto and only narrowly missed out on the UEFA Cup, before adding two more league titles in the following three seasons.
It was in Europe, however, that his team was at its best, winning the Champions League in 1996 and then adding the Intercontinental Cup a few months later. Juventus lost the next two Champions League finals but had set a standard every club in Europe aspired to.
“Juventus were the benchmark,” Gary Neville said when reflecting on how the Manchester United side he played for measured themselves against Lippi’s side.
“We measured ourselves against them and I still look back on the team of Alessandro Del Piero, Zinedine Zidane, Alen Boksic and Didier Deschamps as the best I ever faced.”
Lippi departed halfway through the 1998-99 season, before returning to Italy’s first capital for a second spell as his predecessor had done. Two more Serie A titles followed but continental glory eluded him, as Juve fell at the final hurdle in the Champions League yet again, losing to AC Milan in 2003.
Massimiliano Allegri (2014-2019)
Far from the popular choice when he replaced Antonio Conte in 2014, Allegri’s spell on the banks of the River Po began inauspiciously when supporters hurled eggs at his car as he arrived to conduct his first training session.
Not one to engage in verbal skirmishes, the Livorno-born manager let the pitch do the talking for him and results mostly kept criticism at bay. It speaks volumes for Juventus’ domination that none of Allegri’s five titles in Turin were decided on the final weekend of the campaign and that in four occasions the Bianconeri held the league’s best defensive record.
In Allegri’s first four seasons in charge, Juventus also secured the Coppa Italia – a trophy which had been absent from the Old Lady’s trophy cabinet for two decades prior to 2014 – making him the first manager in any of Europe’s top five leagues to win four consecutive domestic doubles.
For all his domination in Italy, however, Allegri came undone in Europe, just as his predecessor had done. Juventus lost to Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid 2017 and were within a last-minute penalty of reaching the semifinals last season.
The surprising arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo was expected to help Juventus over the line but Ajax’s youthful exuberance exposed many of what Allegri’s critics consider to be his main flaws in Europe.
Antonio Conte (2011-2014)
If Allegri continued Juventus’ domestic domination, Conte was the man who returned the Old Lady to the top of Italian football. A popular choice with the fans after spending 13 seasons in black and white, Conte took over a club in transition – the Bianconeri had finished seventh in the previous two campaigns – and transformed it into a ruthless winning machine.
Despite the pressure and expectations, he led Juventus to the title in his first season, when the Bianconeri became the first and so far only side to remain unbeaten throughout a 38-game Serie A season.
Two more titles followed, with Juventus breaking the 100-point barrier for the first time in league’s history in Conte’s final season in Turin.
A shrewd operator in the transfer market, Conte developed Paul Pogba into one of the best midfielders in the world and showed clubs could make great signings even without spending exorbitant amounts. Pogba, Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente and Arturo Vidal were signed for a combined £20m.
As it would be the case with his successor, however, Conte’s lack of success in Europe – Juventus never got past the quarter-finals in the Champions League under him – ultimately sealed his fate in Turin.
Čestmír Vycpálek (1971-1974)
Vycpálek’s name could be easily forgotten in Juventus’ glorious modern history, but the Czechoslovakian was a pivotal figure for the club at the turn of the 1970s.
Vycpálek began his 11-year spell in Serie A with a solitary season in Turin, before returning to the club as manager of the youth team after he was sacked by fifth division side Mazara.
Shortly after, Zdenek Zeman’s uncle found himself in charge of the first team following the premature death of Armando Picchi. Not fazed by the new environment, the Czechoslovakian guided Juventus to the title in his first full season in charge.
A second Scudetto arrived in the following season when Juventus lost both the European Cup and the Coppa Italia finals. Vycpálek finished second in his third season, before being replaced by Carlo Parola halfway through his fourth year in charge as Juventus clinched their third title in four years.
Words by Dan Cancian: @mufc_dan87