Juventus are surprisingly out of the Champions League, dumped out in the quarterfinals by a young Ajax team that was bolstered by a few solid veterans that took over the field in the second half of the 2nd leg tie. This exit is a shock to many as Juventus were heavily favored to take home the champions league for the first time since 1996 after the acquisition of Christiano Ronaldo over the summer. Juventus fans can take solace in the fact that while they are out of this year’s competition, they will be back once again as Juventus is running atop the Serie A and are almost assured to take home the Scudetto once again.
While that certainly is somewhat comforting to Juve fans, it doesn’t answer the question as to why they didn’t go farther into this year’s competition with the addition of the competitions highest scorer, and part of that is due to the team and its strategy. They allowed Ajax too much space, and it showed. Ajax began to press their attack in the second half after watching Juventus absorb waves of attacks in the first half. Juventus also appeared to be old and tired as compared to the Ajax team. Juventus looked to Cristiano for guidance, and he did his job a number of times for the team over the season, and it showed as the team looked dependent on him to propel them past Ajax and he was unable to score another goal.
While the team on the field looked toward Ronaldo, part of that is because of the transfer fee and the reasoning behind it. When Juventus brought in Ronaldo, they signaled their intent to take the Champions League and to do it by any means necessary. But adding one player while influential will not be able to stop an entire team that has been trained and works together as one unit. Ajax showed that, and after looking at some of the transfer targets for Juventus, it appears that the lesson was learned and Juventus will look now towards securing the league title and ensuring that they will be back in the Champions League next season. The team, the board, and the fans use the saying fino alla fine (until the end), and this will need to be shown in the league this season, and the tournament next season for the Bianconeri.