It is a bitter sweet day for Juventus fans. As soon as news broke out from the peninsula officially confirming Andrea Agnelli as Juventus’ next President this summer, media outlets also reported that Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo have been banned from football for life. Cue rage and conspiracy theories from the fans who cannot help but question the timing of Moggi’s ban. Despite the shame the disgraced sporting manager heaped on to the Bianconeri, many fans still refer to him as a legendary figure and a man who helped their team grow from strength to strength. His stubborn refusal to accept blame and his determination to prove that he did nothing wrong has not only helped reaffirm his ‘innocence’ or rather calcio’s ‘collective guilt’ but has also exposed the truth behind the Calciopoli scandal – forcing the FIGC to re-open the case. In defending himself, he has defended the Old Lady, pleading her innocence whilst her current Management and ownership sat idly by watching her demise.
“I would return quickly if Andrea Agnelli were at the helm.” exclaimed Moggi when asked if he would ever return to Juventus and just when the ‘impossible’ has happened – John Elkann finally relinquishing power of Juve to focus on Exor – Moggi has been banned for good, dashing any hope of a reunion. Despite the heartache many fans are suffering on hearing the news, it should be made clear that Moggi does not equal success at Turin. Juventus existed before him and it will long live after him.
The penny seemed to have finally dropped for Elkann who realised that he alone cannot guide this team to success and that the close ties between the Agnelli family and the Bianconeri make Andrea Agnelli the logical successor. For Elkann, it is alleged that control of Juve meant power and nothing more, so many are pleased to see the return of a devoted Juve fan, especially one that carries with him the name of an Italian dynasty. For the first time in 48 years, an Agnelli will preside over Juventus next season and Andrea hopes to have the impact his grandfather, Edoardo II had on the team in 1930. An Oxford graduate and a hard working son, Andrea gained his experience abroad after taking his father’s advice to stay away from Turin due to his status as a shareholder of the family company. He spent time learning and working for various prestigious companies such as Piaggio, Ferrari and Philip Morris as well – of course – as Juventus. However when his father passed away, he returned to his home city to carry out his familiar responsibilities.
It seems that the collapse Juve suffered this season has finally brought around important changes and we will at last witness the start of a much needed and much talked about project that will hopefully guide the Bianconeri back to the top of Serie A. With Andrea at the helm, we are likely to see the return of Pavel Nedved who is a friend and neighbour of Andrea as Coach of the youth team. Alessio Secco will surely be replaced by Beppe Marotta with Jean-Claude Blanc continuing to carry out the day to day running of the club.
Despite the good news surrounding Juve’s Presidency, Andrea’s name alone cannot revive the fortunes of this once imperious club. The news surrounding the probable departure of both Gigi Buffon and Mauro Camoranesi suggests that the change of management may not have immediate effects upon on-field performances. According to widespread rumours, Buffon may well be sold this summer to help finance the side’s ambitious project as he is deemed to be the Bianconeri’s grandest asset. As for Camo, his age means he is now deemed surplus to requirements and his agent had been advised to look for a new club for his client. If there is any truth behind these rumours then Juve may be making a grave mistake by letting go of their two most powerful and loyal servants. Buffon is the next Captain of the Bianconeri, a man who lives and breathes for the club and arguably the world’s number one goalkeeper. As for Camo, he is too old to fetch an attractive offer and his experience and technique are vital for a squad that is bound for a new facelift. With Del Piero’s career also coming to an end, the new owners would certainly be taking a huge risk in sanctioning such high-profile sales? However, as one banner in the Olimpico read: “In Andrea we trust.”