Being somewhat of an old football romantic, there has been a reoccurring theme whilst enhancing my knowledge on the history of football and reminiscing about the 'good old days'. Through time, and in particular when the Azzurri have been at the pinnacle of the game, there has always been a strong Juventus presence.
We all know Juve are the only remaining unbeaten side in Serie A this season. They face daunting trips to Lazio and then Napoli in the forthcoming weeks as their quest for the Scudetto becomes more realistic with each passing round of fixtures. However, watching Claudio Marchisio’s man of the match performance against Palermo on Sunday, three goals from current players in the national squad, and several solid performances from other Italian internationals, it seems fitting to celebrate the grand old Bianconeri tradition of producing fine home-grown talent.
It’s no secret that a strong Juventus inevitably leads to a strong showing from la Nazionale. The class of 1982 contained no less than six players from the Turin giants. Having successfully completed back-to-back Scudetto triumphs in the build-up to the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Zoff, Cabrini, Gentile, Scirea, Tardelli and Rossi went on to help secure a third World Cup success for the national side. It was a similar story in 2006, with Juventus, rightly or wrongly depending on your allegiance, completing successive title triumphs between 2004/06, before Buffon, Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Camoranesi and Del Piero went on to lift the most coveted trophy in football in Germany. Delving further back, while Juventus dominated domestically in the early 1930s, Italy completed consecutive World Cup triumphs in 1934 and 1938.
Fast forward to present day and there are the early makings of a case for déjà-vu. Juventus continue work to regain their ‘invincible aura’ under Antonio Conte, showing early signs that are potentially capable of domestic success in the build-up to the European Championships next summer, while longer-term Brazil awaits. Buffon, Barzagli, Chiellini, Marchisio, Pirlo, Pepe and Matri were all included in Cesare Prandelli’s recent squads to face both Poland and Uruguay. Additionally, there is a case for Leonardo Bonucci, of whom I’m a huge fan despite his critics, to add to the burgeoning Bianconeri presence. So while rivals continue to bemoan the re-emergence of one of the giants of Italian football, and admittedly it gripes me some Juve tifosi continue to find reason to groan despite the impressive start to the campaign, there is an Orzinuovi-native currently sat with great optimism as he leads the Azzurri into Euro 2012 and the World Cup.
No less than eight of the starting XI against Palermo last weekend were Italian, with five of those realistically harbouring hopes of being in Prandelli’s first choice side next summer. Albeit they are nowhere near the level of Barcelona/Spain, or Bayern/Germany, but perhaps there is something in seeing the majority of your stars plying their trade together at club level. It is both refreshing and inspirational that the Turin giants continue to nurture and field home-grown talent, let’s hope it can only result in good things in the immediate future for the club, while also benefiting the national side. Forza Juve!
After sweeping aside Palermo, are Juve ready to tackle, and beat, the likes of Lazio and Napoli? Is it coincidence or can a strong Juventus side help the national side in the upcoming tournaments?
For more of my ramblings on all the latest Juventus and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter: @italiafooty