Juventus came under fire after their heavy 4-0 loss to Chelsea on Tuesday, the Italian team’s biggest defeat in 17 years and the worst in its Champions League history.
The Italian club relinquished the top spot in Group H without a fight in London, and the English team did not face much trouble in front of its beleaguered guest.
The result made an unwanted history for the Turin club, after it overcame its 4-1 loss to Bayern Munich in the group stage in the 2009-2010 season and to Real Madrid in the 2016-2017 final to become the heaviest defeat in the most prominent club competition in Europe. This is the biggest defeat for Juventus in all competitions since its 4-0 loss to Roma in the Italian league in February 2004.
“Something shameful” was headlined by Tuttosport, a Turin-based newspaper, describing Juventus as “unwatchable”.
“You can lose against Chelsea, but not in this way,” Gazzetta dello Sport said. “Not being humiliated from the first minute until the last minute.” La Repubblica described the defeat as “a night of deep retreat and humiliation”.
And it wasn’t just newspapers that were highly critical of Juventus, as former high-profile players of the club took part in the campaign. “Little can be learned from a night like this,” said Alessandro Del Piero, Juventus’ all-time top scorer.
“This team takes two steps forward and then ten steps back,” added former midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi.
“A real lesson in football,” former Juventus coach Fabio Capello said, pointing out that the result was a sign of the suffering of Italian clubs in Europe, as an Italian team has not been crowned champions of the Champions League since Inter Milan did it in the 2009-2010 season.
“Maybe we have to learn from the German coaches by playing the matches more aggressively. If we don’t change our approach, it will be difficult to reach certain levels,” he added.
Juventus is the most successful club in Italy, with a total of 36 league titles, but its collapse at Stamford Bridge highlighted the club’s decline in recent years.
Coach Maurizio Sarri led Juventus to the Serie A title in the 2019-20 season, but was sacked after being knocked out in the Champions League round of 16 against Olympique Lyonnais.
His successor, Andrea Pirlo, inexperienced, lasted one season after losing to Porto in the same round of the Champions League, and clinched fourth place in the local league in the last round of the season.
It was hoped that with Massimiliano Allegri’s return to coaching the team, two years after his departure after winning five consecutive league titles, he would succeed in restoring pride, but Juventus started the season poorly.
Juventus is currently eighth in the league after 13 rounds, and suffered embarrassing defeats against Empoli, Verona and Sassuolo.
Performance and results in the Champions League were the only positive thing ahead of Tuesday’s match, as Juventus had already qualified for the round of 16 before their trip to London with four wins in four matches.
But few can expect this version of Juventus to come close to repeating Allegri’s feat when he led Juventus to the Champions League final twice in the 2014-2015 and 2016-2017 seasons.
“We are aware of our weaknesses and we need to work on them, there is no point in hiding it,” Allegri said. “We will improve and improve from matches like this.” Juventus fans hope he is right, as their patience is wearing thin.