Serie A (Italian top-flight football league) club Juventus suffered a setback with their Champions League aspirations after losing against Ajax in the quarterfinals of the competition. However, it is not all gloom for the Massimiliano Allegri-led side as they are just one victory away from winning the league title and they can attain that on Saturday when they host Fiorentina at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.
All eyes will be on the five-time Ballon dÓr winner Cristiano Ronaldo who will be winning his third major league title in a different country. He has already won the Premier League with Manchester United and La Liga with Real Madrid.
The 34-year-old’s aspirations of winning the Champions League for the third time in a row came crumbling down after a defeat against Ajax and like all his teammates, he was in an emotional state.
“He told me he doesn’t perform miracles,” his mother Dolores Aveiro told the Portuguese press.
“He was sad. He would have liked to get to the final but it will be for the next time.”
Juventus can equal the record for the earliest the title has been won with five games to spare achieved by Torino in 1948, Fiorentina in 1956 and Inter Milan in 2007. Juventus have won their last seven home Serie A matches against Fiorentina, but coach Vincenzo Montella will be looking for a surprise on his return to the Tuscany hotseat.
Fiorentina have gone eight games without a win and have slipped to tenth, 13 points off the Europa League places.
“I expect a fierce Juve after their elimination from the Champions League, like all the great teams they are used to turning the page and starting again quickly,” said Montella.
“We will, however, go without fear, also taking into account that next Thursday we will have another important match with the Coppa Italia semi-final against Atalanta.”
Second-placed Napoli host Champions League hopefuls Atalanta on Monday after crashing out of the Europa League 3-0 on aggregate to Arsenal, with no Italian team now left in European football this season.
“We suffered a bit in the second half of the season but we want to finish the season well,” said Ancelotti, as Napoli are seven points ahead of third-placed Inter Milan.
“We want to secure the second spot as soon as possible.”
Atalanta are just two points adrift of the elite European places.
Inter Milan and Roma go head to head in a clash which could have an impact on Claudio Ranieri’s side’s Champions League ambitions.
“Playing Inter, who are fighting for a Champions League place but aren’t too far ahead of us, is a nice challenge,” said former Inter coach Ranieri.
Juventus are certainties for a Champions League return with second-placed Napoli well-placed seven ahead of Inter who are in turn five ahead of their city rivals.
But behind the top three the battle is tight with Roma a point behind AC Milan in fifth followed by Atalanta, Lazio and even Torino — who are five points adrift — still in the running with six games to play.
Ranieni — who coached Inter Milan for six months in the 2011-2012 season — believes a win would give his side “real impetus”.
“Getting a win at the San Siro would be huge,” said the former Leicester boss.
AC Milan travel to 14th-placed Parma while Lazio, in seventh, look for consecutive wins against relegated Chievo in Rome.
(Quotes credits – AFP/PTI)