Juve Legend Antonio Conte Could Be The Man That Ends Glory Run He Started

It always looked like it was going to be a huge summer in Italy when it was announced that both Inter Milan and Serie A champions Juventus were on the lookout for new head coaches.

In a bit of a Shakespearean twist Inter swooped for the man that started the glorious revival at Juve, Antonio Conte.

Conte is a legend in Turin. He won multiple Serie A titles there as a player as well as a Coppa Italia, a Uefa Cup and a Champions League.

Years later he would return to the club. At that time La Vecchia Signora were struggling to find any sort of form that would see them challenge for a Scudetto, never mind win one. They hadn’t won a major championship since the Calciopoli scandal and even though they were back in the top flight, they couldn’t regain the dominance that had their rivals quaking in their boots during the early 2000s.

In the 2010/11 season, Juve finished seventh and a full twenty-four points behind first placed AC Milan.

Antonio had impressed at Bari and it was decided that he had the leadership skills required to get Juventus challenging again.

In his first season in charge, Conte did more than just challenge. Juventus would go unbeaten for the full term and take the title away from Milan. That was in 2012 and The Old Lady haven’t relinquished their crown since, winning eight Serie A championships in a row. Conte would win the first three of them. It was he who would bring back the passion and that all important winning mentality. He had a team structure that worked and he brought with him a discipline that team could thrive under.

The job took a toll on Conte and his reign also took a toll on his players and it was for the best that he bowed out when he did. That Juve squad could have broken down had he remained in charge for another season. Max Allegri came in and kept the club progressing.

In the resulting years as Juventus would carry on winning in Italy, Antonio Conte would impress as Italy manager just losing out at the quarter-final stage to world champs Germany on penalties at Euro 2016.

He would then takeover at Chelsea and win the Premier League in his first season there, succeeding over top managers Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Conte would spend two seasons in London, winning the FA Cup in his second year.

Now the fifty year old boss is back in Italy and he’s at another sleeping giant. This time, Antonio wants to knock Juventus off the perch that he had put them on!

Not an easy task. Juventus have an array of world class stars to call upon. That includes the phenomenal Cristiano Ronaldo. They still have a group of experienced pros that helped start that golden era with Conte like Gianluigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.

In the summer Juve decided to hit the reshresh button just as they did when Conte left. This time Allegri departed and he was replaced with eccentric coach Maurizio Sarri.

Sarri is a different breed from Conte and Allegri. Conte is more reactionary and willing to change his tactics if it means his team have more chance of success. Maurizio has only won one serious trophy in his management career.

But that trophy came in the summer as he helped Chelsea to the Europa League. He looked absolutely delighted with his medal that night and that could have him craving for more nights like that.

It seemed an odd appointment. He doesn’t have that winning mentality and that tactical discipline that Conte and Allegri had at the Juventus Stadium. He also often seemed a bit of a Juve hater when he was at Napoli. Plus history tends to suggest that he needs a years gracing period before we see clubs truly benefiting from his coaching beliefs.

But the Juve hierarchy did hit that reset button, they clearly want to see a change on the park that sees a different type of football on display.

Antonio Conte has arrived at the San Siro and instantly started to make The Nerazzurri look better, dare I say they actually look like title challengers.

As always Conte wants to see a solid defensive spine to build upon his foundations.

He has a very capable keeper in Samir Handanovic. In front of him Conte once again prefers to play with a three and it’s a smart three too. The experienced Diego Godin has arrived from Atletico Madrid and he’s already a Conte foot-soldier. Martin Skriniar has the potential to be one of the world’s top centre-halves. Plus you’ve got Stefan de Vrij, the Dutch centre-back is great at passing the ball out of defence and that’s something Conte always seems to have from one of his defenders.

Interestingly though, while Inter have had a decent showing in defence this term there’s room for improvement and Sarri’s Juventus possess a better defensive record.

In attack, Conte’s Inter have actually been more impressive. Only Atalanta in Serie A have scored more than Inter Milan during this campaign.

Conte made Romelu Lukaku his number one target in the summer and Inter splashed out around £73m on the Belgian striker (Source Sky Sports).

Lukaku has already praised his relationship with his new boss:

‘My rapport with Conte is very strong, as he is a coach who really helps me,’

‘At the age of 26, I want a coach like this, who helps me every day and gives me motivation.’

Via Daily Mail

Lukaku has already made good on his return, scoring seven league goals in his first ten appearances. He has been partnered ably by Lautaro Martinez, the twenty-two year old has added five goals to his team’s cause.

While Inter on average take less shots per game than Juve, they have taken more chances!

The Nerazzurri currently lead the table by two points but Juventus have a game in hand.

Conte is without doubt a very talented and successful manager. He has the tools needed to win this championship, we all know that. If it were a Shakespearean play then it would make complete sense that Antonio would arrive back in Italy and destroy the dynasty that he helped to create.

But the successful monster he helped build may not be ready to relinquish it’s throne. Juve still look strong under Sarri and they haven’t needed the same time to adapt to his style, which doesn’t seem to be as set in stone as it once did!

Juventus drew first blood when they went to the San Siro earlier this month and beat Inter with a late Gonzalo Higuain goal (The Guardian).

This is shaping up to be an almighty title race in Serie A.

Can Antonio Conte awaken yet another sleeping giant to destroy his once beloved Juve? Or will Maurizio Sarri charm the Old Lady and finally succeed to a top flight championship?

I can’t wait to find out!

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