MILAN: After a tumultuous two months, Juventus is looking to get back to what it does best: winning trophies.
That can begin on Sunday by beating Lazio to collect the Italian Super Cup, a week before Massimiliano Allegri's side opens its Serie A title defense.
Since Juventus lost a second Champions League final in three seasons, a shadow has been cast over the Italian champions by reports of infighting and the departure of key defender Leonardo Bonucci.
Even Allegri thought about quitting after the 4-1 loss to Real Madrid in June.
"I had to ask myself a very hard question," Allegri wrote on the Players' Tribune website this week. "Is this the end of the road? Is this as far as I can take this team? I wondered if I should write the final chapter to my story at Juventus.
"Part of me was thinking about walking in on Monday and respectfully resigning ... When I got home after that defeat, I had to think hard about whether to continue."
But after many souls searching, the coach, who turned 50 on Friday, decided to remain with the club he has steered to three of its six successive Serie A titles.
"I thought about why I had become a manager in the first place," Allegri wrote. "I don't think of myself as a manager. I think of myself as a youth coach.
"I do this because I love teaching. It is truly the joy of my life. I like making players better and smarter. So when I thought about this Juventus squad, my decision became quite personal. I know I still have a lot to prove. And I know I still have a lot to teach."
Allegri singled out 23-year-old forward Paulo Dybala and veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to lead Juventus to another European final this season.
"One with his career ahead of him, and one near the end," Allegri said. "One who wants to show that he can be one of the greats in Europe. One who is already great, but wants to end his legacy on top."
A factor in Juve's second-half collapse in Cardiff could have been the reported dressing room argument, mainly between Dybala and Bonucci.
Bonucci was sold to AC Milan for around 40 million euro ($45 million) in one of the shock transfers of the offseason, while Dybala has been given the Bianconeri's famous number 10 shirt.
Previous wearers of that iconic number include Alessandro Del Piero, Michel Platini, and Roberto Baggio, while in more recent years it has been worn by Paul Pogba and Carlos Tevez.
"It's been a magical feeling from the moment the club asked me to take on this number," Dybala said. "We're talking about the number 10, a number that great champions have had, and it's really a joy and a pleasure to be able to have it.
"This shirt has been worn by some very important players: I certainly shouldn't see it as a burden, but rather a thing of beauty. It means so much to me, it's a fantastic challenge and I hope to be able to show the same quality on the pitch as all those who wore this shirt before me."
Juventus is facing a Lazio side it beat three times last season on the way to a third successive league and cup double. Lazio was defeated 2-0 in the Italian Cup final in May after two Serie A losses when it failed to score against Juventus.
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