The big calls that shaped Europe’s elite: How Juventus made it to the top


Juventus are the most successful club in Italian football history and have an appeal that stretches across the world.

The Turin giants have picked up 36 official league titles and have won the Coppa Italia 14 times, setting the record for crowns in both these competitions.

Furthermore, they have become a global brand in recent years, with the club considered to be emblematic among the Italian diaspora throughout the world.

How did Juve manage to attain such a lofty status? Here are five key decisions that have played a role in getting the club to its current position.

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Below, we look back on the five major decisions Milan made that helped transform them into the superpower they are today.

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    Turning to England for kit help

    Initially formed as an athletics club in the late 19th century, Juventus became a football club in 1899 and joined the Italian Football Championship the following year. At this point, they played in a pink and black strip.

    A change began in 1903 when the continual washing of the pink shirts, which were made by the family of one of the players, meant that they were fading and needed to be replaced.

    Juventus found inspiration from an unlikely source. Englishman John Savage, one of the players of the day, was asked at the time if he had anyone who could supply a new kit. Savage had a contact in Nottingham who, being a Notts County fan, shipped out the now famous black and white stripes.

    Juve soon changed their colours to the black and white stripes by which they are known by today. Indeed, they were playing in this kit when they lifted their first Scudetto in 1905, setting in stone a tradition for the club to turn out in the ‘Bianconero’.

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    Creating the Angelli dynasty

    The 1920s were a pivotal period for Juventus, with Fiat’s Edoardo Agnelli appointed to the role as club president in 1923. He would not know it at the time, but it was a decision that would put the Agnelli family at the head of the club in an almost unbroken spell that has spanned the best part of a century.

    Indeed, it was under Edoardo Agnelli that the club won its second league title in 1925-26, although perhaps the most pivotal period arrived in the 1930s, when Juve won five successive championships, became the first professional football club, and spread their appeal beyond their immediate locality.

    The Agnelli family have gone on to experience all the highs and lows of the club for the best part of 100 years, with Andrea Agnelli having been the latest member of the family to take over as president. Indeed, he has overseen Juve’s exceptional run of since the early part of the 2010s that includes nine Serie A titles.

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    Appointing the legendary Trapattoni

    Juventus’ Golden Era came about in the latter part of the 1970s and 1980s and was largely overseen by legendary head coach Giovanni Trapattoni, who led the club for a decade from 1976.

    It proved to be an incredible era for Juve. Trapattoni was renowned for his man management and excellent tactical awareness, helping the club to six Serie A titles, two Coppas Italia and every UEFA competition, including the 1984 European Cup, during his first tenure.

    During this period, Juventus were not just dominant on the domestic scene, they were also the foremost side in world football. This is highlighted by the fact they won four Ballon d’Or titles in succession from 1982 onwards, with the brilliant Michel Platini, Trapattoni’s on-field magician, gaining a hat-trick of those.

    Incidentally, Roberto Baggio also picked up the coveted individual award in 1993, during Trapattoni’s second spell at the club, again highlighting his ability to get the absolute best from players.

    Known as the ‘King of Catenaccio’, Trapattoni’s tactical schemes that inspired Juventus to remarkable heights will be forever remembered in footballing history.

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    Moving into a new era with Juventus Stadium

    Juventus have been relatively nomadic over the duration of their history, calling five different grounds their home over the course of around 120 years.

    In 2008, however, they took a major decision to build themselves a state-of-the-art ground of their own.

    Previously, Juve had shared the Stadio delle Alpi and the Stadio Olimpico with neighbours Torino, but neither of these grounds had generated an atmosphere befitting of their stature due to the running track that kept fans well away from the action.

    Juventus’ new home, which has been built on the site of the Delle Alpi, has brought fans closer to the pitch and offers impeccable facilities that have been granted UEFA Category 4 status – one of only four grounds in the country to attain such a level.

    Crucially, it has also provided Juve with an additional source of income, as it was the first club-owned modern venue in the country.

    It is far more than just a football stadium with a shopping centre, bars and restaurants attached.

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    The stunning €100m arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo

    Cristiano Ronaldo’s move from Real Madrid to Juventus in 2018 caused shockwaves around the footballing world, with his €100 million arrival firmly establishing the Italian side as a major force in the transfer market.

    Ronaldo had just fired Los Blancos to three successive Champions League titles and departed the Bernabeu having eclipsed all of the club’s previous legends to become their top scorer of all time.

    Not only did the Portuguese bring with him the guarantee of goals, he also helped to lift Juve into a different stratosphere in terms of their global appeal. Few players, after all, inspire the type of fandom of Ronaldo.

    The icon proved to be a hit on the field, too, as he became the quickest in Juventus history to score 100 goals for the club. Unfortunately, his arrival coincided with a general downturn in fortunes of Juve, who saw their domestic dominance slip and their European aspirations diminish.

    There is no doubt, however, that Ronaldo helped to lift Juventus into a different commercial dimension.

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