The coach from Lecce was the protagonist of a sensational break with the Turin club in July 2014, when his retirement had already begun. Agnelli’s resignation from the presidency could reopen the doors to the hypothesis of a return, but…
Thirteen seasons as a player until he conquered the captain’s armband and the status of Juve’s symbol, three as a coach, a farewell with a strong polemical tone, skirmishes and then peace. This, in a nutshell, is the black and white process that belongs to Antonio Conte’s past, which began in 1991 and was interrupted until now in 2014. With a global palmares that any athlete would envy. But perhaps not enough for the reopening of a relationship that some feel in the air but which is anything but obvious. Because a rosy past doesn’t always guarantee a rosy future. Both Conte – who after his farewell to Tottenham could also opt to take a sabbatical year – and Juve, who have currently strengthened their relationship of trust with Allegri, not without evaluating a hypothetical impact of a change in technical guidance are well aware of this of abnormal scope as would be the one between Max and Conte, in the summer break.
The (glorious) past
Zooming into the three years as a coach, the most recent at Juve, Conte was called in the summer of 2011 by Andrea Agnelli, seven years after hanging up his boots and ending his competitive career in black and white. At the time Conte was a coach on the launch pad, who had already stood out with promotions to Serie A with Bari (2008-09) and Siena (2010-11). And the young, promising Conte had immediately scored his hat-trick, winning the Scudetto already in the year of his inauguration on the Juventus bench and thus bringing the club back to high levels for the first time after Calciopoli. In short, he was the coach of the turning point, as well as the engine of the nine consecutive black and white championships, of which the first three bear his signature.
The noisy farewell of 2014
But in the balance sheet of his last season on the Juventus bench there is not only the Scudetto-record of 102 points, but also the defeat in the semi-final of the Europa League with Benfica, topped off – for the first time since Conte’s arrival on the bench – by criticism on his work, by the fans and beyond. Some have seen in this situation a first rift between the coach and the environment, the fact is that relations with the club deteriorate until Conte’s noisy farewell after his training camp began on 15 July 2014: the Salento coach, who definitively entered broken with the management about the team’s future plans, he resigned by terminating his contract.
The present (to be written)
The rest is recent history, including the heated, public dispute between Conte and Agnelli in the stands during the second leg of the semi-final of the Italian Cup between Juventus and Inter on 9 February 2021. An episode that was later recomposed with diplomacy, but it is obvious that the resignation of Agnelli from the role of president of the company have made a possible return to the bench of the coach more likely. But there is still a great distance between suggestion and reality. Indeed, in addition to the powerful signing (of Conte) and a reconsolidation of Allegri’s position, there is the different profile assumed by Conte over time (and of successes) to consider: if twelve years ago the former Juventus captain was a young coach emerging called to revive a team after the dark years of Calciopoli, today he is one of the top coaches in Europe, used to having a heavy say in market choices and deciding which bench to sit on based on the level of approval of the strategies corporate. Juve, on the other hand, is experiencing the reality of a club that intends to start afresh from young players to regain positions and possibly trophies, and therefore may not see Conte as the most suitable coach for this historical phase. And vice versa, of course. Then, in a few years, who knows…
March 27, 2023 (change March 27, 2023 | 21:20)
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