Can Juventus win the Champions League?
When Juventus signed Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, much talk focused on whether this signing would enable the Italian champions to win the Champions League, something they haven't done since the 1995/96 season.
For the eighth successive year, Juventus won the Serie A title this season, and they are more than likely to be named as the favourites for next season in Betfair Serie A odds. But after being defeated by surprise package Ajax in the quarter-finals, can the Italian giants bounce back next season and reclaim a trophy that has alluded them for over two decades?
The Ronaldo effect
When they signed Ronaldo for €100 million, they didn't just sign one of the world's best players, they also bought a player who could lure other top talent to the club. There are suggestions that Benfica's highly rated attacker, João Félix could be on the move to Turin, with Ronaldo apparently eager to see his compatriot join him in Italy.
A former Real Madrid teammate of Ronaldo is Spanish midfielder Isco, who is considered one of Juventus' top priorities in the transfer market.
People want to play alongside Ronaldo, and that will help Juventus when the transfer window re-opens in the summer. The Italian champions have also been linked with a move for Ajax wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt as they look to freshen up their defence with some young blood.
There has been much interest in the Dutch centre back, with the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City rumoured to be interested in signing the Champions League semi-finalist. He is considered one of the brightest talents in the game and perhaps playing alongside Ronaldo would appeal to the highly regarded defender.
The Italian champions
Juventus won their eighth consecutive Serie A title this season, which is their 35 th overall. They are always the favourites to win the league, but the Champions League has eluded them for so long. Depending on the fixture list they are given for next season, they may be able to plan a strategy for picking and choosing when to play their star players and use players like Ronaldo and Douglas Costa for the big Champions League matches.
Their domestic dominance has allowed them to build a frightening reputation in Serie A, which will help them retain their title next season. If they are to win the Champions League, they need to produce the same dominance on the continent to build up their reputation overseas.
Massimiliano Allegri is the current Juventus manager, but after defeat to Ajax in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, rumours surfaced suggesting the club's president – Andrea Agnelli – has lost patience with the team that hasn't won European club football's biggest prize and will seek a new manager to oversee glory.
Allegri's contract expires in the summer of 2020, meaning Agnelli would only have to pay a year's salary to the manager. Talks are ongoing about the future of Allegri, but it has been noted that he'd like to stay at the club.
Juventus' president needs to be aware that even bringing in a world-class manager won't guarantee the club the Champions League trophy. Pep Guardiola, who won the competition as Barcelona manager twice in his four seasons at the club, failed to win it in three seasons in charge of Bayern Munich and so far, three seasons at Manchester City too.