Juventus season review: Allegri returns but Ronaldo exits as trophy-less campaign ends in tears

Massimiliano Allegri Paulo Dybala Juventus 2021-22 GFX
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For the first time since 2010-11, the Bianconeri failed to pick up any silverware and the coach's comeback has provoked more questions than answers

The return of Massimiliano Allegri as coach was meant to restore stability at Juventus. In reality, though, it only created further uncertainty. 

After Juve's first trophy-less campaign since 2010-11, the question was understandably being asked: is the club really moving in the right direction under the increasingly cantankerous Tuscan?

It very much depends upon who you ask. 

Patrice Evra, for example, argued that Allegri deserves more time, that he is "working miracles" given there is "no quality, especially in midfield".

However, many other pundits, such as Christian Vieri and Daniele Adani, believe that the coach failed to make the most of the talent at his disposal. 

The bare minimum was, of course, achieved, with Juve qualifying for the Champions League via a fourth-placed finish. 

But the Bianconeri were beaten by Inter in both the Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia final.

Worse still, they suffered yet another humiliating last-16 elimination in the Champions League, this time against Villarreal. 

Juve's season, then, is a complex campaign to define but GOAL breaks it all down below...

Player of the Season:

There is no more damning indictment of Juve's underwhelming campaign than the lack of legitimate contenders for this particular accolade. 

Paulo Dybala finished as the club's top scorer but still only managed 10 goals in Serie A, and 15 overall.

The mere fact that Juve decided against renewing the Argentine's contract tells you everything you need to know about his importance to Allegri's line-up.

Giorgio Chiellini is also leaving this summer and, like Dybala, he bid an emotional farewell to the club.

As always, the captain performed admirably when selected but missed too many games through injury. 

Giorgio Chiellini Juventus Serie A 2021-22 GFX

It was a similar story for Manuel Locatelli, who showed plenty of signs of promise but was plagued by fitness issues. 

So, while Wojciech Szczesny started to rediscover his best form, Danilo proved a decent utility man and Juan Cuadrado continued to step up at big moments, there really is only one possible winner: Matthijs de Ligt.

The Netherlands international had some dodgy moments at the start of the season but he was Juve's most reliable performer by some distance and it's not in the least bit surprising that he is once again being linked with a transfer.

His loss really would come as a hammer blow to the Bianconeri at the end of what's been a trying campaign.

Goal of the Season:

Paulo Dybala produced some characteristically fine left-footed finishes, while Federico Chiesa scored some stunning solo strikes before his season was cruelly cut short by injury.

However, Juve's undoubted goal of the season came courtesy of Alvaro Morata, in a 2-2 draw with Lazio on May 16.

It was a move that started deep in Juve territory, with Dybala driving forward down the right wing, before back-heeling the ball into the path of the supporting Juan Cuadrado.

The Colombian carried the ball forward before finding Morata wide on the left-hand side of the box.

The Spaniard cut inside, stopped, stood on the ball, then rolled it forward, before curling it majestically into the top corner of the Lazio net.

It was a terrific goal but also tinged with frustration as it showed what both Morata and Juve are capable of when they are playing with real confidence.

Performance of the Season:

Given their domestic struggles during the first half of the season, it remains remarkable to think that Juve topped their Champions League group.

A 1-0 victory over Chelsea in Turin proved key in that regard, with Allegri's side producing a performance full of determination and discipline. 

However, they didn't just show impressive resilience in their epic 4-3 win at Roma in January, they also played the final 20 minutes with no end of skill.

Manuel Locatelli Juventus Roma Serie A 2021-22 GFX

Juve looked dead and buried at 3-1 down at the Stadio Olimpico, but some smart substitutions sparked a sensational comeback, with Locatelli and Dejan Kulusevski levelling matters with two goals in three minutes. 

Mattia De Sciglio then put Juve ahead but the drama wasn't over yet, with Szczesny saving a Lorenzo Pellegrini penalty after De Ligt had picked up a second yellow card.

It was by no means a complete performance but it played a crucial role in Juve's season, giving them the belief they required on a 16-game undefeated run which ultimately saw them claim a top-four finish with surprising ease.

Disappointment of the Season:

Where to begin? 

Cristiano Ronaldo's decision to depart just before the close of the transfer window hit the club hard, giving them insufficient time to obtain anything like a worthy replacement.

Meanwhile, Chiesa's season-ending injury was a bitter setback, robbing Juve of their most dynamic and effective attacker – even if the winger was, like many of his team-mates, bizarrely employed by his coach.

Indeed, it was difficult watching Dusan Vlahovic, a €75 million (£63m/$85m) January signing, getting frustrated up front all on his own, with the Serbian's struggles sparking a debate over Allegri's pragmatic approach to the game. 

However, the undoubted low point of the season was the 3-0 second-leg loss to Villarreal that spelt the end of Juve's Champions League campaign. 

Juventus Villarreal Champions League 2021-22 GFX

Allegri went on the offensive afterwards, accusing those of trying to portray their last-16 exit as "failure" of "intellectual dishonesty".

In truth, though, it felt like his Jose Mourinho "football heritage" moment at Manchester United, and he was lucky to survive it.

Indeed, had Juve been in a financial position to part company with the coach, they almost certainly would have done so.

The Verdict:

Allegri and his apologists can dress it up whatever way they like but this has been a desperately disappointing return to date. 

There was almost-universal agreement before his second spell in charge began that Juve might initially struggle, given their ongoing issues in midfield and the loss of Ronaldo's guarantee of goals. 

However, even accounting for injuries to a couple of key players, there is simply no excuse for Juve playing such a painfully defensive and outdated brand of football.

On numerous occasions, they adopted a small-club approach against provincial opposition, and many of their fans ended up either embarrassed by a narrow win, or outraged by another shameful defeat.

Of course, Allegri will now get to oversee the long overdue overhaul and it seems quality reinforcements are on the way.

But that just means that a massive improvement is required in 2022-23. A repeat of 2021-22 will not be tolerated.

Indeed, the best thing one can say about last season from Juve's perspective is that at least it's finally over, because there were no trophies – just a lot of tears.

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