United v Juventus: A short history
In case you missed it, Manchester United can be selected with any of seven clubs from Pot One when the Champions League group-stage draw takes place in October.
On Monday, we profiled the first of those sides – reigning champions Bayern Munich.
Today, we’re on to the second of our seven-part series, looking at our history with 2019/20 Serie A winners Juventus…
OUR RECORD AGAINST JUVENTUS
The Old Lady, as they’re known back in Italy, are our most familiar European opponents, with 14 games between the clubs taking place since the first meeting back in 1976. United have won five of those, a number which includes arguably our greatest continental performance – the incredible 3-2 comeback victory at the Stadio Delle Alpi in April 1999, which secured a place in the Champions League final. The Reds have been drawn with Juve in the group stages on four separate occasions – in 1996/97, 1997/98, 2002/03 and 2018/19 – winning four and losing four of the eight matches.
PLAYED FOR BOTH
Six footballers have plied their trade for United and Juventus. Patrice Evra, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez all turned out at Old Trafford before featuring for the Turin club later in their careers, with Evra and Tevez both starting for Juve in the 2015 Champions League final. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edwin van der Sar played for the Bianconeri early in the careers and for the Reds in their thirties, while current midfielder Paul Pogba’s time in Italy was sandwiched between his two spells at United.
HOW JUVENTUS PERFORMED IN 2019/20
With a still-formidable Ronaldo spearheading their attack (the Portuguese struck 31 goals in 33 league games), Juve claimed a ninth successive Scudetto, extending their own record. The dominant force in Italian football finished a point clear of Inter in second but their triumph was much more comfortable than it looks on paper – a 2-0 win over Sampdoria got them over the line with two games still to play. However, four defeats after lockdown and an early Champions League exit at the hands of Lyon in the round-of-16 contributed to the dismissal of manager Maurizio Sarri after just a season at the helm.
WHO’S THE BOSS?
Club legend Andrea Pirlo will take over at the Allianz Arena for 2020/21. It’s the 2006 World Cup winner’s first job in senior management, but he’s no stranger to success as a player in this competition, having inspired AC Milan to two Champions League titles, before moving to Turin in 2011 and kickstarting a period of domestic dominance which led to a further appearance in the showpiece event in 2015. Pirlo left Juve after their 3-1 final defeat to Barcelona in Berlin but now he’s back and he’ll be aiming to join a stellar list of names, including the likes of Johan Cruyff, Frank Rijkaard and Zinedine Zidane, to lift the famous old trophy as player and manager.
THEIR STAR PLAYER
The teak-tough defence upon which much of Juve’s success in the 2010s was built is largely still in place, but there’s no doubt that Ronaldo has been the Old Lady’s key man since his transfer from Real Madrid in 2018. The personal records which the Portuguese has become so accustomed to setting continued to fall during the 2019/20 campaign, with the 35-year-old becoming the oldest player to net 30+ goals in one of Europe’s premier five leagues since 1948. He also set a landmark as the first man to score 50-plus goals in Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League and broke Felice Borel’s 86-year-old club record for the most goals scored in a single season for Juventus (37).
OUR LAST MEETING
United's first visit to the Allianz Stadium, in November 2018, was certainly a memorable one! With Juventus five points clear at the summit of Group H after just three games, and Valencia pressuring us from below, a result in Turin was required but Ronaldo’s sublime volley looked to have settled the game midway through the second half. Jose Mourinho called Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini from the bench and the former had an immediate impact, curling a sumptuous free-kick beyond Wojciech Szczesny to level the scores. Then, as the game looked set for a draw, another set-piece evaded Fellaini and a mass of blue-shirted United players in the Juve box, before being bundled into his own net by Leonardo Bonucci.
“What a nice last five minutes. It is a very good night for us to get three points against Juventus in Italy. It is amazing,” said Mata. Amazing, indeed – this is still the only time Juve have been beaten at the Allianz during the group stages.