Ahead of the eagerly-anticipated Group H encounter, Press Association Sport takes a look at the Italian giants.
The Bianconeri have lifted the European Cup on two occasions, but those triumphs in 1985 and 1996 have been followed by frustration. Juventus have lost a record seven finals in the competition, including their last five attempts at getting over the last hurdle. Massimiliano Allegri’s side were most recently frustrated in 2017 as Cardiff bore witness to a 4-1 loss to Real Madrid – the same side that knocked them out at the quarter-final stage last term. Barcelona were the scourge of Juve in 2015 as they failed to add to their continental crowns, which also include three UEFA Cups, the 1984 Cup Winners’ Cup and a pair of UEFA Super Cups.
Juventus are top of Group H and Serie A after a record-breaking start to the campaign. Allegri’s side won their first 10 matches in all competitions to beat the previous best of eight set in 1930, putting them in the box seat for an eighth successive league crown. While that run came to an end with Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Genoa, Juventus remain four points clear of their nearest rivals. Allegri’s side have yet to so much as concede in Group H, with the 2-0 triumph at Valencia followed by a 3-0 thrashing of Young Boys.
The appointment of Allegri was not universally popular, but the Italian has confounding the doubters and proved himself to be one of the finest managerial minds around. An inconspicuous playing career as an attacking midfielder with the likes of Livorno, Pescara and Napoli has been followed by an impressive time as a coach. Allegri’s first managerial role came at fourth-tier Aglianese, before spells at SPAL, Grosseto, Sassuolo and Cagliari. Despite getting the chop at the latter, Allegri did enough to be handed the reins at AC Milan and won Serie A in his first season, only to be fired in 2014 with the San Siro side in 11th spot. That same year he took over at Juventus, where he has won the league and cup double in each of his four seasons to date. Allegri also led Juventus to the Champions League finals in 2015 and 2017.
Ones to watch
There are plenty of players to choose from, but only one that will hog the limelight. Cristiano Ronaldo’s name is still revered by the Old Trafford faithful, such was his impact during his stint with Manchester United. The 33-year-old enjoyed a medal-laden stint at the club between 2003 and 2009, winning the Champions League and three Premier League titles among other trophies. Jose Mourinho, his former manager at Real Madrid, lauded the forward ahead of a match he approaches with five goals and four assists from his last six Serie A appearances. Ronaldo has off-field issues, though, and arrives at Old Trafford facing a rape allegation that he denies.