A boldly-worded message by Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has revealed the worst kept secret in Turin: the Serie A giants’ confidence of a first Champions League title in 19 years is growing.
“We’ve won our 10th (trophy) under the stars of Rome,” Allegri wrote on Twitter following Juventus’s Italian Cup triumph over Lazio on Wednesday.
“On our jerseys we’ll soon have another (star) that no one else has. This Juventus team has some character !”
The question now is whether Juve can outrun, outmuscle and outwit an impressive Barcelona side inspired by the creative nous and goalscoring skills of the world’s best player in Argentinian Lionel Messi.
“There is not a system or coach to stop talent of his magnitude,” Bayern Munich coach and former Barca handler Pep Guardiola said after Messi struck twice and set up Neymar in the final 13 minutes for a 3-0 first-leg semi-final win over the Germans earlier this month.
Barcelona appear to have upped the stakes in the pre-final mind games.
“We’ll see you in Berlin. Well done Juve, we’re waiting for you,” said a message posted on the Spanish giants’ website following Wednesday’s Cup win.
Allegri believes Juve have what it takes collectively to topple Barcelona in one, intense encounter in Berlin that could end the Old Lady’s 19-year wait to triumph in Europe.
“This squad is extraordinary, and let’s not forget that for eight months we’ve been missing (Andrea) Barzagli and (Kwadwo) Asamaoh, and we were also without (Martin) Caceres and (Andrea) Pirlo for several months,” added Allegri.
“In key games we also had players who had played less and this underlines everyone’s desire to win and their commitment to the squad.”
He added: “When you come up against great teams you always have a chance when it’s just one game.
“We’ll go to Berlin to fight for the Champions League after winning the league title and the Cup, but Barcelona are in top form — as are we. Our treble dream continues, it won’t be easy but it’s a dream that can become reality.”