Andrea Agnelli: Childhood Memories Of A New Beginning

Posted on 14/10/2010

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The Juventus President, Andrea Agnelli, spoke this week of his desire to return Juve to being the model of success they previously were, but conceded that to do so would mean winning a trophy. After stating that a return to Champions League football was vital to this, he then went on to add comments that brought many forgotten memories flooding back;

“We must get through the first round of the Europa League & to try and win the Coppa Italia, a competition which has been missing from our trophy cabinet for a long time”

Now to many Juventini this will be disappointing, a club which became synonymous with Scudetto success & numerous Champions League Final appearances during the mid-to90’s now reduced to chasing minor cup competitions? Not so, especially to the generation of fans to which the President belongs.
Following the tragedy & triumph of Heysel, most of that team of champions retired or left the club, ending one of the most successful cycles in club history. Giovanni Trapattoni, architect of that golden age quit just one year later & the Bianconeri fell into mediocrity under Rino Marchesi. In order to arrest the slide, Dino Zoff was brought in as coach by then President Giampiero Boniperti.

Zoff’s team saw many changes, & climbed to a respectable fourth place in a league dominated by the wealth & power Silvio Berlusconi delivered to Milan, & the magical genius of Diego Maradona’s Napoli.
But it was to be in cup competitions the former goalkeeping legend would enjoy success. Early season victories over Cagliari, Taranto, Pescara & Sampdoria earned la Vecchia Signora a place in the Coppa Italia final, with the first leg in Turin on February 28. A 0-0 stalemate against the mighty Rossoneri gave real hope & belief to Juve, but that confidence would be put on hold, the insane scheduling of the cup meant two months before the return match.
This Milan was perhaps the greatest club side of the modern era, drilled by Arrigo Sacchi & containing iconic names such as Baresi, Gullit, Rijkaard & Van Basten. Juve entered San Siro as heavy underdogs against a team in the midst of winning back to back European Cups, & winning them in emphatic, all-conquering fashion.
Yet Zoff’s Juve took the field without awe & after just 17 minutes Roberto Galia sprang footballs most effective offside trap & hit a shot that slips behind Milan keeper Galli, & below the curva occupied by Juventus fans. Cue celebration, but one laced with heavy concern about the reaction of such formidable opponents .
 The time ticked away & Juve fans dared to dream, Aleinikov & Marocchi dominated the midfield, Barros was a constant thorn in the side of Milan, Bruno and Dario Bonetti insurmountable in defence, all protecting the excellent Stefano Tacconi.
 At the final whistle everyone rushed to embrace coach Zoff & parade the Cup before their fans, & a month later Juventus would go on to beat Fiorentina in the UEFA Cup final. These wins instilled that spirit back into a club that had lost its very essence, & the similarities between then & now stir echoes in many of us.
It was that first trophy, aptly won on April 25 – Italian Liberation Day – that freed the club from its recent past & gave birth to a new era, one led first by a returning Trapattoni & then Marcello Lippi. Overseeing all of this was Umberto Agnelli, but perhaps its greatest impact was on the memories of his then 14 year old son.
Source: Il Tifosi
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