'Lippi did not believe Juventus had won the title'

Former Juventus stars Alessio Tacchinardi and Gianluca Zambrotta reflect on the memorable Serie A success on May 5 2002, as Antonio Conte's current charges prepare for glory
Former Juventus midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi has described how Marcelo Lippi could scarcely believe it when they claimed the Serie A title in dramatic fashion on May 5 2002.

The Bianconeri went into the final game of the season away to Udinese two points behind Inter, but a shock 4-2 home defeat to Lazio for the Nerazzurri and a 2-0 win for the Old Lady meant the title found its way to Turin in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Eleven years to the day since their miraculous triumph, Antonio Conte's Juve host Palermo needing just a point to secure back-to-back Scudetto crowns and Tacchinardi took the opportunity to reflect on a memorable day in the calendar for Bianconeri faithful.

"Before entering the pitch at Udinese, none of us expected anything like that," he said in an interview with Tuttosport.

"To lose the championship that way to Lazio [on the final day in 2000] was a sporting tragedy. But on May 5 we were rewarded for that disappointment. I remember, in fact, a beautiful spontaneous hug between those who - like me - had lived the psychodrama of 2000.

"He [Lippi] turned to me because he felt reactions in the stands and, although he had banned radios on the bench, he asked me what was going on at Inter against Lazio. And when I told him the Nerazzurri were losing 4-2, three times he repeated: 'I don't believe you, I do not believe it, tell me the truth.' And then he started to encourage the team with an incredible charge."

Former Juve full-back Gianluca Zambrotta added that the nature of the triumph was almost comparable to winning the Champions League - a feat he was unable to achieve with the Turin club, AC Milan or Barcelona.

"May 5 was my first championship win," he added. "I won't say to win it that way is worth a Champions League, but almost... almost."