The end of a long, dark road: A timeline of Juventus' recovery from Calciopoli relegation to Serie A champions

The Bianconeri have been through the ringer over the past six years, but they have finally clawed their way back to where they were pre-Calciopoli
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Editor

Few clubs have ever been hit quite as hard as Juventus were in July 2006, when the reigning Italian champions were consigned to Serie B and stripped of their last two titles as a result of the initial trial into Calciopoli. The six years that have passed since then have offered little to ease the pain, at least not until the win over Cagliari on Sunday which confirmed the club as champions of Italy once more.

Since those hellish days, the club has not only experienced the ignominy of second tier football, but has also struggled to leave a real imprint both in Serie A and abroad. Coaches came and went, while players and board members were also brought in and swiftly replaced, as the Bianconeri searched for the right balance, the right mix, to take them back to the peak from where they were so memorably chopped down.

The rights and wrongs of the sentences will be argued for time ad infinitum, but the character with which the club has fought - particularly over the past 12 months - must be applauded. After successive seventh place finishes, few paid Juve any kind of regard when discussing potential members of the title race this term, yet they have run it as long and as hard as anyone could hope.

But as the suffering is brought to an end, it shouldn't ever be forgotten. This period, after all, has helped to define the spirit in which the Old Lady have approached these last 37 games, and will continue to shape them in the coming years. The lows should be remembered just as much as the highs, for they have been just as important in getting Juve to where they are now.

It has been a long and rocky road, and below we take a look at some of the peaks and troughs since the nightmare first began.

May 2 Italian and world football is rocked by the news that investigations by Naples prosecutors into the GEA World agency have uncovered conversations suggesting the attempted influence of referees and referee designators during the 2004-05 season, principally involving Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi.
May 14 A 2-0 win against Reggina in Bari confirms Juve's 29th Scudetto, but by now there is increasing evidence suggesting the club will be among those liable to huge punishments.
July 4 In the original Calciopoli trial, Federal Prosecutor Stefano Palazzi asks that Juventus be hit hardest of all, requesting that they be demoted "lower than Serie B" with a six-point penalty and the loss of their 2004-05 and 2005-06 titles.
July 9 Amidst the mayhem comes the magnificence of Italy's World Cup win in Berlin, with five Juventus men playing a key part in the Azzurri's fourth title despite the uncertainty surrounding their club in the trial back home.
July 14 There are dramatic scenes outside Juventus HQ as news comes through of the Calciopoli trial verdicts, with the Bianconeri stripped of two Scudetti, relegated to Serie B, and forced to start the new season on with a 30-point deduction.
July 25 In the first appeal, the club fails to win back its titles and has to face up to life in Serie B, though their points penalty is reduced to 17.
August 31 Transfer deadline day. After a firesale of some of the club's top talent, Ibrahimovic, Vieira, Cannavaro, Thuram, Zambrotta and Emerson are among the big names to have moved on, while coach Fabio Capello makes way. Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero, Pavel Nedved and Mauro Camoranesi stay put, with Didier Deschamps the new man at the helm.
September 9 Juve's season begins in ignominious fashion with a 1-1 draw away to Rimini in front of less than 10,500 people. Buffon and Del Piero are among the starting XI, exactly two months after their last competitive fixture - the World Cup final.  
December 12 With the club making great progress on the field, thanks in part to the form of Del Piero and Trezeguet, there is some some relief off it. A final appeal against the Calciopoli sentences sees a further eight points reduced from the original deduction. Now flying high, the Bianconeri are massive favourites for promotion.  
December 15 Tragedy strikes at Vinovo, as youth team players Alessio Ferramosca and Riccardo Neri drown while attempting to retrieve a football from a frozen lake. The club's fixture with Cesena the following day is postponed as a mark of respect.

May 19
The Bianconeri are promoted back to Serie A in some style. A 5-1 win at Arezzo, featuring doubles for Del Piero and Giorgio Chiellini, ensures they return to the top flight with three games to spare, despite the nine-point disadvantage they'd had to negotiate. They lose their final two games, but go up as champions.
August 25
Juve return to the top flight with a bang, hammering Livorno 5-1 in their opening fixture. New signing Vincenzo Iaquinta scores twice, while Trezeguet goes one better, giving new coach Claudio Ranieri the perfect start to life in Turin.
November 4 The Bianconeri face champions Inter, the main beneficiaries of the Calciopoli verdicts, for the first time since returning to Serie A. Camoranesi's second-half equaliser is a fair reward for a Juve side who by the halfway point in the season can boast 10 wins to only two losses. They would later add a victory against Inter in the San Siro return.

May 17
The Old Lady finish third in their first season back in Serie A, earning a return to the Champions League after a two-year absence. Del Piero adds the achievement of collecting the Capocannoniere title just 12 months on from receiving the Serie B version of the same award.
August 13
A place in the Champions League group stage is all-but secured immediately thanks to a 4-0 home win over Artmedia Petrzalka in the first leg of their third qualifying round fixture. Camoranesi, Del Piero and Chiellini give them a huge half-time lead, with Nicola Legrottaglie sealing the victory. A 1-1 result in the return ensures their spot in the group draw.
August 31 The summer transfer market ends with Amauri as the Bianconeri's big-name addition. The Brazilian arrives from Palermo for a fee of €22.8 million after two goal-laden seasons in Sicily. Christian Poulsen also arrives from Sevilla, while local products Sebastian Giovinco and Claudio Marchisio return from season-long loan spells with Empoli.
November 5 After an excellent 2-1 win at the Stadio Olimpico on matchday three, the Bianconeri complete a famous double over Real Madrid with victory in the Spanish capital. Del Piero strikes a legendary brace, provoking a memorable standing ovation from the Bernabeu when substituted in injury time. Juve qualify for the knockouts as group winners.

March 10 The return to the Champions League comes to an abrupt end as Chelsea earn a 2-2 draw at the Olimpico to complete a 3-2 aggregate win. Didier Drogba's 83rd minute goal sends the Blues to the quarter-finals just when it had appeared Juve could launch a late rally.
May 18 Following a seven-game run without a win, climaxing with a draw behind closed doors against Atalanta, Ranieri is sacked and replaced by Ciro Ferrara for the final two games of the season. Victories against Siena and Lazio earn Juve second place and lead to the former Bianconeri centre-half being given the full-time coaching post.
August 23 Juventus begin the new season with a host of new names, leaving many to tip them as potential champions. Felipe Melo and Diego are signed for big money, while Cannavaro returns and Fabio Grosso is brought in from Lyon. A stylish demolition of Roma in week two promises big things for the months ahead.
December 5 Chiellini and Marchisio are on the mark as the Bianconeri beat Inter 2-1 to move within four points of Jose Mourinho's eventual treble-winners. The Special One is sent off after sarcastically applauding the referee following the free kick award from which Juve took the lead, while Felipe Melo is later dismissed for his part in a player brawl.
 December 8 The Old Lady fall to an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich to crash out of the Champions League at the group stage. Juve never manage to build on Trezeguet's opener, and are left counting the cost of beating only Maccabi Haifa over their six games. This was the club's last match in the competition to date.

January 24 Following their exit from Europe, Juve rack up a further six defeats in their next seven fixtures, resulting in the sacking of Ferrara. The club makes a shock move to appoint Alberto Zaccheroni in his place. A league winner with Milan, the new assignment comes three years on from his last job - an underwhelming stint at Torino.
March 18 Defending a 3-1 lead from the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie, Juve grab the first goal at Fulham but somehow capitulate to a 4-1 defeat. Cannavaro is sent off as the Bianconeri turn in another poor European showing, and with their league campaign going rapidly off track, they are scrambling for continental qualification.
May 15 After back-to-back defeats to end the season, the Zaccheroni experiment is over. A seventh place finish means that the Old Lady must start their 2010-11 season in July with an early Europa League qualifier, and Luigi Del Neri is chosen as the man to lead them forward following his achievement of taking Sampdoria to the Champions League.
July 29
The new campaign begins with a 2-0 Europa League win away to Shamrock Rovers. After collecting victories in all four qualifying fixtures, the Bianconeri would incredibly go on to draw all six group stage games, meaning an exit by Christmas. Their three home matches drew a combined attendance of just 29,991.
 December 12
A Fernando Muslera own goal from Milos Krasic's cross-shot in injury time sees Juve gain a dramatic 2-1 win over Lazio and sets them up as Champions League hopefuls. With only two defeats to their name in 16 league games, there is new hope in Turin that the Bianconeri can hold onto a top-four position over the second half of the season.

January 6
The new year begins disastrously. Fabio Quagliarella goes down with a season-ending knee injury and Felipe Melo is sent off as Juve slump 4-1 at home to Parma. To rub salt into the wounds, it is on-loan Bianconero Sebastian Giovinco who scores two of the goals for the Gialloblu. Three days later Edinson Cavani's hat-trick for Napoli deepens the woes and triggers a huge drop in performances and results.
May 15
Giovinco does the damage again, scoring the winner in the return game at the Ennio Tardini to all but ensure Juventus will miss out on European football in their first season at Juventus Stadium. The draw with Napoli confirmed seventh place, but it would also start a 38-match unbeaten run in the league which is still to be broken.
May 31
Antonio Conte is appointed as Juventus coach following the sacking of Del Neri. The news of the capture of the former Bianconeri midfielder comes six days after the club lure Andrea Pirlo to Turin. The Italy international had been told his contract at Milan would not be renewed for 2011-12.
September 8
A new era begins at the club, with the inauguration of Juventus Stadium. A packed house sees the Bianconeri take on Notts County after a spectacular official opening ceremony at the new arena, which has been built on the site of the club's old Stadio Delle Alpi. Luca Toni scores the first goal at the new venue after 53 minutes.
October 2 A late, late show against Milan supplies their greatest statement of intent yet. Two goals at the death by Marchisio see off the champions after a dominant performance for the entire 90 minutes. Their new high pressing style of play is winning over many new fans.

January 21
Victory at Atalanta completes an unbeaten opening half to the season, and crowns them winter champions by one point ahead of Milan. In the January market, Martin Caceres, Simone Padoin and Marco Borriello are brought in to add depth to the first team squad.
February 25
The unbeaten season is maintained after an explosive fixture against Milan at San Siro. Sulley Muntari's goal is missed by a linesman with the Rossoneri already leading, and Alessandro Matri's late equaliser saves Juve. Arturo Vidal is sent off, while Philippe Mexes' punch later earns him a suspension too.
March 20 Despite finally suffering defeat over 90 minutes, Juve go on to grab an extra-time equaliser against Milan to send them to the Coppa Italia final by virtue of a 4-3 aggregate victory. Mirko Vucinic's clincher comes after Del Piero's early effort had added to Caceres' first-leg double.
March 25
Juventus complete a league double over Inter and stake a real claim for the title. Del Piero's introduction helps to change the game, and he grabs his first league goal at the new ground to complete a 2-0 win. A week on from the 5-0 victory at Fiorentina, Juve are finally beginning to really fly.
May 6
A 2-0 victory over Cagliari, combined with Milan's 4-2 defeat to Inter, crowns Juventus as official champions for a 28th time. Mirko Vucinic grabs the opener before Michele Canini scores an own goal. News then filters through of Diego Milito's hat-trick to lift the roof off the Stadio Nereo Rocco. Just as in 2006, they clinch it at a neutral venue.  

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