The Old Lady of Italian football
In November 1897, a group of friends who studied at the same Massimo D’Azeglio’ high school in Turin and shared the passion for football decided to create a sports club. Legend has it that they arrived on the decision while sitting on an uncomfortable bench in Corso Re Umberto, a street in the middle of Turin. The boys came upon the name Juventus because, in Latin, the term means ‘youth’ – signifying the ages of the club’s founders, all of whom were between 14 to 17 years of age.
Juventus spent the first decade of its existence playing against local sides. It was only in the year 1900, two years after the formation of the Italian football league, that Juventus was able to gain entry. The black and white strips which are currently synonymous with the Old Lady weren’t its original kit. Instead, the club wore pink shirts in its debut campaign in the league.
The club’s decision to don black and white strips was totally accidental. In 1903, as the side was looking for something to replace its washed-out pink shirts, one of the team’s English players were assigned the duty to bring something back from his home country. One of the friends of the player sent black and white replicas of Notts County jersey, and Juve have worn the same kit ever since.
Two years later, in 1905, the first Italian league title arrived as Juventus saw off competition from Milanese and Genoa to win the first silverware in its history. The club’s fortunes nosedived from then on as its Swiss owner left the club, and it wasn’t until after the end of World War 1 that the Bianconeri was able to achieve some semblance of success as it won the Scudetto in the 1925/26 season.
Since then, the Old Lady has become one of the most successful clubs in European football. Apart from winning a record 35 league trophies, it was won 14 Copa Italia titles, 3 UEFA Cups, 2 Champions Leagues and 1 UEFA Cup Winners Cup. Innumerable great players have donned the club’s jersey over the years with the likes of former UEFA President Michel Platini, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, and the club’s current vice-chairman Pavel Nedved notable among them.
In January 2017, Juventus did something which most other clubs simply cannot: they changed their logo. The change, as described by the club owner Andrea Agnelli, was revolutionary. Still, as unprecedented as the design of the new logo is, it isn’t the first time that Juventus have tinkered with their emblem. For, the recent crest – styled in a minimalistic J – is the 9th logo in the club’s history.
More than a century before the latest rebranding of the club’s crest, Juventus adopted its first logo in 1905. It was dichromatic which contained black and white stripes bearing a Latin inscription, the motto of the club. That crest lasted for a mere 16 years before it was changed. The new logo, although colored, had the same theme as the one it replaced.
That wasn’t the case with the logo Juventus adopted in 1929. While black and white stripes were still there, a zebra had made its entry into the club’s crest, as it was a symbol of the West’s “ancient nobility”. Two years later, it underwent slight modification with a crown added over the head of the animal, signifying Juventus’ dominance over Italian football.
Similar changes to the design of the club’s crest continued to happen till 1977, the year when the logo underwent a truly radical change. Gone were the black and white stripes so synonymous with Juventus football club. Two stars had taken their place with an aggressive bull in the middle. That crest remained in fashion for 12 years before the previous logo, with some modifications, was re-introduced.
As indicated by the short history of Juventus’ logo, its fans are familiar with the club changing its emblem every few years. Despite that, the most recent change is hard to digest for many. That’s because the symbols which connect Juventus with its history – i.e. bull, zebra, shield or stars – are no longer there. Hence the reason why some Juve fans still resent the change.
Rank Player Salary per week Age 1 Mattia Perin £70,000 26 2 Szczesny £130,000 29 3 Buffon £46,000 41 4 Chiellini £130,000 35 5 De Sciglio £55,000 26 6 Matthijs de Light £240,000 20 7 Danilo £44,000 28 8 Daniele Rugani £61,000 25 9 Bonucci £180,000 32 10 Alex Sandro €55,000 28 11 Douglas Costa £190,000 29 12 Matuidi £130,000 32 13 Adrian Rabiot £225,000 24 14 Emre Can £160,000 25 15 Juan Cuadrado £130,000 31 16 Miralem Pjanic £210,000 29 17 Rodrigo Bentacaur £22,000 22 18 Aaron Ramsey £225,000 28 19 Paulo Dybala £225,000 24 20 Pjaca £21,000 24 21 Mandzukic £61,000 33 22 Bernardeschi £90,000 24 23 Higuain £240,000 31 24 Cristiano Ronaldo £1,000,000 34
Worst placement in the final table:
After being found guilty of match-fixing, Juventus were forcibly relegated to the 20th spot at the end of 2006/07 season.
Least goals in a season:
Juventus were able to score only 28 goals in the whole of the 1938/39 season. To this day, it remains the worst tally of goals the club has managed in a full Serie A season.
Most goals conceded:
The Old Lady conceded a whopping 56 goals during the whole of 1961/62 season. Interestingly, they conceded the same number of goals during the 2009/10 season as well. Both these campaigns stand out for the club’s leakiest defense in history.
Worst goal difference:
After scoring only 48 and conceding a slightly higher 56 goals, Juventus finished the 1961/62 Serie A season with a goal difference of -8.
Least points scored:
In a full Serie A season, Juventus have never managed less than the 28 points which they got on board during the entirety of the 1963/64 campaign.
It is the 1955/56 season which stands out in this regard. Juventus managed to win only 8 fixtures that season.
During both the 1961/62 and 2009/10 campaigns, the Juventus squad lost 15 fixtures in the Serie A – their worst ever tally of defeats in a single campaign to date.
Worst home record:
Juventus were able to win just six games at their home stadium during the entirety of the 1955/56 campaign.
Worst away record:
During the 1955/56 league campaign, Juventus were able to win just 2 games on the road all season.
Although Juventus have won 35 league titles in their history, the 30th league title which the club won in the 2013/14 season stands head and shoulders above the rest. Following the club’s promotion back to the Serie A after being involved in the Calciopoli scandal a decade ago, it was their 3rd successive Serie A title. Yet, Juve won it in such fashion that its significance dwarfs all those that precede it.
At the end of that season, Juventus became only the fifth team in European football’s history to finish a campaign with 100 plus points on the board. No other team in Serie A, not even the feared Milan side of the first decade of the 21st century, could claim to have set such a record. So unparalleled was the feat that UEFA christened that Juve side as one of the teams of the century.
The Bianconeri managed that feat by winning 33 of its 38 games in the league. Juve also managed a perfect home record as it won 19 out of 19 home games during that campaign. A high octane attack containing the likes of Carlos Tevez, Arturo Vidal, and Fernando Llorente helped the Old Lady score 80 goals, with the club conceding only 23 goals all campaign. Needless to say, then, that that team enjoyed a perfect balance between a world-class defense and a deadly attack force.
Obscuring the club’s dominance in the Serie A is its repeated failures in the Champions League.
Starting from its appearance in the competition’s first all-Italian final in 2003/04 season, the Old Lady has featured in 3 Champions League finals this century. Just as it was the case in 02/03 – when AC Milan saw-off Juve on penalties – the Old Lady are yet to add to the two Champions League titles which it already had before the start of the 21st century.
The club’s story in this millennium’s Champions League has been one of the heartbreaks. While it was Milan who sent Juve packing in the 03/04 final, a decade later, in 2014/15, it was Barcelona who won the title by defeating the Old Lady with a humbling 3-1 final score.
Two years later, it was the turn of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid to further extend Juventus’ miserable streak in the UCL finals. Even though a Mario Mandzukic goal helped Juve level the game on the half-hour mark, a Ronaldo7 brace and one goal each from Casemiro and Marcos Asensio extended Juve’s wait for their 3rd Champions League title for at least one more season.
Ahead of World Cup 2006, Juventus FC were implicated in a match-fixing scandal. Among them in the dock were Italy’s other biggest clubs including Lazio, AC Milan, Fiorentina and more. Still, as they were champions, the spotlight was firmly on the Bianconeri. And it was they who were put to the sword by the Italian football’s governing body.
The whole episode started in 2004. Back then, two rumors started doing the rounds. One alleged that the Juve higher-ups were involved in selecting referees that officiated their games. The other, meanwhile, claimed that the club’s players were susceptible to doping. So potent were these rumors that the Italian police had no choice but to investigate their veracity.
While the 2nd rumor turned out to be unfounded, the wiretaps of the investigating magistrates confirmed the first one and gave birth to ‘The Calciopoli’. Voluminous evidence published by the Italian press showed that Juve’s sporting director Luciano Maggi colluded with the referee designators of Serie A to pick those umpires for the club’s games who were biased towards the Old Lady.
In lieu of punishment, Juventus were handed an exemplary sentence. It started with the first-ever relegation in the club’s history. On top of that, Juve were to start their season in League Two with a -9 points difference. To further pile shame on the Old Lady, the Italian governing body which had its own reputation on the line stripped Juve of their 2005 and 2006 league titles.
Once they found themselves in the Serie B, the Bianconeri saw a flight of key players from the club, including Patrick Vieira, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gianluca Zambrotta, Lilian Thuram, and more. So huge was the exodus of players that most pundits thought that it was the end of Juventus as the world had come to know it. Some thought it impossible for the club to rise from ashes.
Here are some of the fun facts which you might not know about Juventus:
“The Old Lady”: Report claims that while the term ‘Old’ refers to the club’s attitude towards veteran players in the 1930s – when they only signed aged stars – the ‘Lady’ part of the nickname praises those fans who show the same love for Juve as they do for their better-halves.
“Playing with a tie”: The first-ever kit worn by the Juve side didn’t have the team’s current black and white stripes. Instead, it contained pink dress shirts and a tie.
“Stars on the logo”: The stars on Juventus’ logo are far from being decorative, with each of the three stars representing 10 league titles the club has won in its history. As of 2019, there are three stars on the Juve logo because they have won 35 league titles.
“80 cigarettes a day”: During his time at the club, Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri used to smoke 80 cigarettes a day, which translate to five cigarettes every hour. Some might claim the report to be ridiculous but nobody can deny that the Italian himself admitted to smoking 60 cigarettes a day.
“The girlfriend of Italy”: The reason why Juve are nicknamed la Fidanzata d’Italia (the Girlfriend of Italy) is that over the decades it has received huge support from Italian migrant workers who have constantly arrived in Turin to work for FIAT Company since the 1930s.
“Fans applauding an opponent’s goal”: Juventus fans set an example of sportsmanship when they applauded the Cristiano Ronaldo bicycle kick goal that sent the Old Lady out of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League.
“$50m for a goalkeeper”: While paying huge sums for goalkeepers has become a sort of fashion these days for big European clubs, it was still considered an anomaly when Juve signed Gianluigi Buffon for $50m from Serie A side Parma in 2001.
“Four years, four Ballon D’ors”: Between 1982 and 1985, Juventus players went the Ballon D’Or four times in a row – with Paolo Rossi winning one and Michel Platini winning the other three.
“Seven home stadiums”: Throughout their history, Juventus have played their home games in seven different stadiums, more than any other major European club.
“Love affair with Atlanta”: Juventus have sold more players to and bought more players from Italian side Atlanta than any other side in their history.
Details are provided on the age of players, games played, minutes played, goals conceded, games conceded with no goals, yellow cards, red cards, yellow cards.
Silly Season, UEFA, Daily Star, Football Italia, BBC
Official website of Juventus
Wikipedia profile of Juventus
Juventus Twitter profile