Juventus have made their brightest
start to a top-flight season since their return to Serie A in
2007, yet still seem to be focused on the past rather than the
Juve, who host Palermo on Sunday, are the only
unbeaten team in Serie A after nine games and lie two points
behind leading pair Udinese and Lazio with a game in hand over
Their impressive new stadium, with the crowd metres from the
pitch, is a vast improvement on the soulless Stadio delle Alpi
and is already sold out for Sunday - a rarity in a country
where empty stands blight many domestic matches.
Yet it has been far from plain sailing.
The club's announcement that talismanic forward Alessandro
Del Piero, relegated to the substitutes bench recently, will not
be offered a contract at the end of the season and coach Antonio
Conte's decision to sideline fans' favourite Milos Krasic have
both aroused controversy.
In the last week, more attention has been paid to Juve's
past than their present.
On Tuesday, the club lost another attempt to have Inter
Milan's 2006 title revoked when Italy's sports arbitration court
ruled it was not competent to rule on the issue.
Juve were stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles for their
involvement in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal with the
latter re-awarded to Inter.
Juve, who said Inter had also been involved in the scandal,
also announced they would be seeking damages from the Italian
federation. Inter deny wrongdoing.
On Wednesday, Italian Olympic Committee President Gianni
Petrucci, apparently referring to the Turin club, made a
hard-hitting speech in which he complained of "too many
"What is happening at the top level of football is
unacceptable - it's hooked on legal doping," he said.
"If we carry on like this, top-level football will become an
extension of public opinion. I'm talking about a part of
top-level football, those who think they are clever."
He added: "What sense is there in [Juventus] going on?"
In reply, Juventus President Andrea Agnelli said he was
prepared to take part in a "political round table" to discuss
everything which had happened since 2006, a move welcomed by the
Italian FA (FIGC).
"Sport on the pitch must outweigh sport in the court rooms,"
said FIGC President Giancarlo Abete.
Juve will finally try to let their football do the talking
against the Sicilians.
In other matches, Fiorentina's new coach Delio Rossi will be
thrown in at the deep end when his side host a rampant champions
AC Milan, who have won five matches in a row.
Lazio visit erratic Napoli, who are likely
to have more than half an eye on Tuesday's potentially decisive
Champions League match against Manchester City. Udinese are at
Struggling Inter, a dismal 17th with eight points and their
2010 treble now just a distant memory, are at home to Cagliari where Davide Ballardini will make his debut as
the visitors' third coach of the season.
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