The race for the Serie A title hasn’t been this hot for close to a decade. Juventus – winners of 35 league titles and champions in each of the last eight seasons – look, for the first time in years, vulnerable.
They still sit close to the top of the table – at the time of writing they are second, level on points with first-placed Inter – but they are being found out time and time again.
The era of flowing, beautiful, dominating football would appear to be over, and the re-emergence of traditional Italian giants Lazio and Inter has made the exposure of Juve’s solitary tactic – namely, give the ball to Ronaldo – seem all the more considerable.
There was a time when fans would have never bet on anyone other than Juventus to emerge from a gruelling Serie A season with an abundance of silverware, but those days are now in the past. The era of Juventus’ dominance is over, and here are two key reasons why.
1. Ronaldo will soon be a spent force
Cristiano Ronaldo is in no way the player he once was. When he left Real Madrid to join Juventus, many claimed that it was because he wanted to end his career in a slower league which would allow him to maintain his strong goalscoring record, and there’s definitely an element of truth there, but even such an astute decision by CR7 can only slow the ageing process so much. Ronaldo is 35, and while he is still scoring goals for fun, he is not as lithe, agile or quick as he used to be. Juventus’ core tactic is to give Ronaldo the ball and hope he can weave some magic, and while he can still do that to some extent, his powers are waning.
2. Inter are a serious team again
The two Milan teams were, two decades ago, regarded as two of the most powerful teams in all of Europe, but in recent times both have slipped significantly down the rankings. Inter haven’t lifted the Italian title since the 2009-10 season, and much of that victory was down to the fact that Juventus had been relegated to Serie B in the wake of the Calciopoli scandal, but the Nerazzurri are back and arguably as good as they ever have been. With superstar striker Romelu Lukaku acting as a goal-getting assassin, and following the signing of Danish maestro Christian Eriksen, it would appear that Inter is the team to beat once again.
Claim your free bet now and reap the rewards when Samir Handanovic gets his hands on the Coppa Campioni d'Italia later this year.