Team effort takes Juve past Sampdoria and to Serie A title
Congratulations to Juventus, who have been crowned the champions of Italy for the fourth year in a row. A 1-0 victory over Sampdoria was enough to seal their fate as the greatest Italian side of the modern era. The team's continuing dominance and evolving style of play is thanks to their new coach and his army of professional players.
Hoisted up in the air by his players, Massimiliano Allegri merits his rewards, for he has not only confirmed their winning status, but has allowed the individuals within this cohesive squad the opportunity to grow into their own, expressing their own individuality and potential without forgoing their obligation to the team. A gentle soul who has found a way to express his wishes and anger without exhausting and frustrating a squad, Allegri has arrived at his ideal club.
Yet it must be noted that without such a professional squad who boast a soldier mentality, his task would not have been as easy and could have ended a beautiful cycle. A team made up of warriors, intelligence and complete professionals, Allegri was allowed the opportunity to work diligently, to make the most of the team constructed by his predecessor and hard-working management.
Many fans are still dubious about the abilities of club CEO Beppe Marotta and sporting director Fabio Paratici to build a winning team, pointing out their many mistakes in the market. Have they erred? Of course, but they have also brought a lot to the side. They may have frustrated by setting high goals, speaking of great players at the start of the summer only to end up with mediocre replacements, while great opportunities in the market, such as Geoffrey Kondogbia, were given up to chase lesser talent. However, they were also the ones who helped convince Paul Pogba to choose Juve, who fought Bayern Munich for Arturo Vidal's signature, who saw the potential of Alvaro Morata and who believed in Carlos Tevez's redemption.
There will never be another Luciano Moggi or a less corrupt version of such a maestro, and transfer markets are much more difficult to navigate in this day and age, especially considering Serie A's weakening brand; but the fact that Juve have recruited a coach capable of following on from the glorious Antonio Conte and constructing a side that still has a chance of winning a treble warrants praise.
However, despite all the club's sporting achievements, it's important to note that Juventus are winners not because they necessarily have the best squad in Italy, but because they are the team that best understand how to support one another, on the field and off it. Together, as a club, they are growing and developing in every aspect.
Management gave Allegri a chance to express his potential and he in turn reciprocated by introducing a little more class to proceedings. Well-spoken and fair, he does not provoke and always looks to calm matters, understanding "Stile Juve" and what former owner Gianni Agnelli once wanted for the team. Even after the controversial match between Roma and Juve, Allegri refused to stoke the fire and acted as a man in charge of a big club.
Management learned from him and he learned from them. The players at his disposal treated him with respect and immediately put themselves at his disposal. In turn, Allegri supported them by sticking by what they knew in the beginning and only introducing gradual changes when the team required evolvement.
Supporting each other on and off the pitch is the reason behind the team's success in Italy, for Napoli and Roma also boast impressive squads but a weaker understanding of what a club requires to maintain a winning cycle.
Sampdoria had hoped that in their own home they could delay the inevitable and manage a win, and despite pressing high up the pitch and creating some interesting chances, the team looked fatigued and lacked the efficiency required to convert. With the Old Lady's back line well-organised and capable of heroic defending, the home side struggled to get past a determined Leonardo Bonucci and the ever-intelligent Andrea Barzagli.
Allegri is right to be happy that his men gave a good performance on a day when they could have approached the match with a certain level of nonchalance. Desperate not to be complacent, the squad suffered at times but always looked in control and a class above their opponent. For that, and their consistent efforts throughout the season, in every competition they have participated in, Juventus deserve the trophy.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.