July 7, 2022

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How Juventus’ nightmare Serie A season has left them in a CRISIS and trailing Inter Milan

Juventus are no longer the beast they once were. 

They were the team every Serie A side feared, but not anymore. Instead, it seems as if Juventus have replaced their shark teeth with those of a rabbit. 

After being held to a 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona at the weekend, Juventus are 10 points behind league leaders Inter Milan. They have a game in hand and can close the gap to seven, but make no mistake, Juve are a club in crisis.

It is not only their struggles in the league which has caused concern, but Juventus also find themselves in big trouble in the Champions League, trailing Porto 2-1 in their last-16 tie.

Juventus' Serie A title bid suffered a huge dent after being held to a 1-1 draw by Hellas Verona

Juventus' Serie A title bid suffered a huge dent after being held to a 1-1 draw by Hellas Verona

Juventus’ Serie A title bid suffered a huge dent after being held to a 1-1 draw by Hellas Verona

Cristiano Ronaldo showed his frustration as Juventus slipped up in the title race once again

Cristiano Ronaldo showed his frustration as Juventus slipped up in the title race once again

Cristiano Ronaldo showed his frustration as Juventus slipped up in the title race once again

Their problems this season can be traced back to the summer where their recruitment team’s arrogance saw them fail to sign an alternative forward for Alvaro Morata or replacements for Adrian Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey in midfield. 

Saturday’s result was damaging to Juventus’ Scudetto ambitions and was further evidence that they need to make changes in the summer. With six regular starters out with injuries, Cristiano Ronaldo was heavily relied upon again and tried to bail them out but Verona fought back to cancel out his goal and earn a point.  

President Andrea Agnelli has been left furious with Juventus’ recent performances while Pavel Nedved was repeatedly seen as a frustrated onlooker in the stands of the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi. 

Here, Sportsmail take a look at exactly what is going wrong at Juventus right now and how they go about solving it.

Inter Milan are now 10 points clear and threatening to knock Juventus off their perch

Inter Milan are now 10 points clear and threatening to knock Juventus off their perch

Inter Milan are now 10 points clear and threatening to knock Juventus off their perch

Mistakes in the market 

Fabio Paratici had won Agnelli’s trust after orchestrating Ronaldo’s move from Real Madrid, but in the past two years he has come under the spotlight for making some questionable signings.

Bringing in Matthijs de Ligt, Merih Demiral, Federico Chiesa, Dejan Kulusevski and Weston McKennie has been crucial in rejuvenating Juventus’ ageing squad, but Paratici’s good work is under threat of being undermined because of his mistakes.

It was clear that Juventus needed a striker capable of replacing Morata and Paratici never acted. A deputy left back was also needed, but again Juventus failed to bring anybody in.

Juventus are paying for Fabio Paratici's (right) failure to sign a back-up striker and left back

Juventus are paying for Fabio Paratici's (right) failure to sign a back-up striker and left back

Juventus are paying for Fabio Paratici’s (right) failure to sign a back-up striker and left back

Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey, meanwhile,  have been disastrous signings and do not reflect well on Paratici.

The Juventus chief’s contract is about to expire and the club are yet to decide whether or not to renew his deal. Nedved’s position remains secure but Paratici’s looks in jeopardy.

There’s no doubt that Juventus will be making sweeping changes at the end of the season and it is entirely likely that Paratici will be one of the club’s key figures to leave after a 10-year spell. 

Embarrassing performances from Ramsey and Rabiot 

Ramsey and Rabiot’s time at Juventus is showing no signs of improving.

Against Verona, they were the worst players on the pitch and are suffering from a clear lack of confidence.

Both midfielders are on huge salaries until 2023 and have proven to be expensive mistakes. 

Rabiot, despite a week of rest, showed poor concentration levels and a real lack of hunger against Verona while Ramsey never provided any attacking threat. 

Adrien Rabiot has not performed well and was awful on the weekend as Juventus drew with Hellas Verona

Adrien Rabiot has not performed well and was awful on the weekend as Juventus drew with Hellas Verona

Aaron Ramsey provided no attacking threat and hasn't been up to the standard this season

Aaron Ramsey provided no attacking threat and hasn't been up to the standard this season

Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey have endured torrid seasons and been expensive mistakes

It is no surprise that Juventus have fallen behind Inter, whose midfield trio are far superior to their own at the moment.

There is no match between Nico Barella, Marcelo Brozovic and Christian Eriksen and Ramsey, Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur right now.

That is one of the reasons why it is impossible to envision Juventus catching up with Inter as things stand.

Injuries to key stars

Juventus have been left short of options with Morata out after being diagnosed with Covid-19, which came a few days after he had been feeling unwell.

The Spaniard has blown hot and cold this season but remains their best out-and-out forward and was a big miss at the weekend.

At the start of the campaign he was Juventus’ leader but has gone off the boil since the backend of last year.

The absence of his partner in attack, Paulo Dybala, has also been felt.  The Argentinian star has had an unfortunate season with injuries and has played just 11 times in Serie A and five in the Champions League this term.

Dybala, who currently has a problem with his knee, reportedly flew to Barcelona with a staff member for a consultation with renowned surgeon Ramon Cugat last week.

Alvaro Morata's illness has exposed just how short of options Juventus are right now in attack

Alvaro Morata's illness has exposed just how short of options Juventus are right now in attack

Alvaro Morata’s illness has exposed just how short of options Juventus are right now in attack

Cugat performed surgery on Wojciech Szczesny a few years ago and has been referred for Dyabla’s continuing knee pain.

Yet, Andrea Pirlo confirmed on the weekend that Dybala’s problem will unlikely require surgery despite his recovery taking longer than first expected.

Dybala has been given new innovative therapies to try and test out in a bid to rid the pain in his knee and Juventus will be praying it helps so they can have him back available as soon as possible.

It is no secret that Juventus are a stronger animal with Dybala and Morata in the team and Pirlo will look to those two to try and turn their season around when they eventually return in the coming weeks.  

Pirlo has had to contend with a number of injuries to key players this season and is also currently without Juan Cuadrado, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Arthur Melo.

Paulo Dybala is an influential player for Juve but has missed a lot of this season through injury

Paulo Dybala is an influential player for Juve but has missed a lot of this season through injury

Paulo Dybala is an influential player for Juve but has missed a lot of this season through injury

Ronaldo’s selfishness proving costly   

Ronaldo has been Juventus’ saviour this season. That there is no doubt. 

He has performed brilliantly, as always, and without his goals and assists the Old Lady would find themselves in a humiliating position.

But Ronaldo has, at times, been guilty of being too selfish, particularly from set-pieces.

Since his arrival in Turin, the Portuguese star has not shown the deadly accuracy of the free-kick master he was during his time at Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Yet, still he continues to take the majority of Juventus’ free-kicks. And they have lost numerous opportunities to score valuable goals because of Ronaldo’s desire to always shoot rather than deliver the ball into the box. 

Ronaldo has been Juventus' standout performer but has been overly selfish from set-pieces

Ronaldo has been Juventus' standout performer but has been overly selfish from set-pieces

Ronaldo has been Juventus’ standout performer but has been overly selfish from set-pieces

With a crucial match against Porto next week, Juventus will need to make the most of those situations as they trail the Portuguese side 2-1 from the first leg.

Ronaldo, who has scored some famous goals against next Tuesday’s opponents, is due a free-kick goal and if he can get one against Porto in their Champions League tie then all will be forgiven. 

Next week’s second leg match is pivotal to Juventus’ season while a lot of money can also be gained if they can qualify for the quarter-finals.

Ronaldo was brought in to deliver European glory but has failed to do so in his two previous attempts despite scoring a glut of goals in both campaigns for Juventus. 

It’s hard to imagine this one will turn out any differently, especially when Ronaldo is still being heavily leaned on.

No matter how great the 36-year-old is, he cannot shoulder the burden of goals on his own, and sooner or later Juventus will have to address that or face more years of hurt in the Champions League.

Juventus need the Portuguese star to help them overturn the 2-1 deficit in crucial Porto clash

Juventus need the Portuguese star to help them overturn the 2-1 deficit in crucial Porto clash

Juventus need the Portuguese star to help them overturn the 2-1 deficit in crucial Porto clash

Juventus need a summer revamp

Max Allegri did great work at Juventus and left them in a strong position – but all the foundations he laid have long been destroyed.

Juventus invested in Maurizio Sarri’s philosophy but then sacked him after a year and it has left a hole in the club’s identity as a football team.

Juventus, like most of the top European clubs, will no longer be able to splash out large sums of money on new signings and need to get some of their big earners off the books.

The club have imposed a £4.5million-a-year limit on players’ deal moving forward, but Ramsey (£6.5m), Rabiot (£6.5m), Dybala (£6.5m), De Ligt (£10.3m) and Ronaldo (£27m) are all earning significantly more than that.

Juventus will allow exceptions for special players but at least two of the five aforementioned stars are likely to be sold in the summer to make room for new signings.

And judging from this season, the Old Lady needs a new lease of life. 

Andrea Pirlo's had to deal with lots of injuries and his squad could be overhauled this summer

Andrea Pirlo's had to deal with lots of injuries and his squad could be overhauled this summer

Andrea Pirlo’s had to deal with lots of injuries and his squad could be overhauled this summer