Juventus have made a nightmarish start to the 2021/22 season in Serie A.
Having limped and laboured their way into the Champions League places last time out, the Old Lady have experienced a tumultuous return to Italy’s top-flight under Massimiliano Allegri’s stewardship.
Juve looked to have snatched a dramatic winner in their opening-weekend clash with Udinese, but VAR had different ideas and ensured that the Turin-based club had to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Juventus move into post-Ronaldo era
However, the disappointment of missing out on victory at Stadio Friuli was made to look trivial by Juventus’ desperate defeat to newly-promoted Empoli when they returned to the Allianz Stadium.
And while many would argue that Ronaldo’s departure won’t have impacted Juventus’ performance at all, there’s no denying that losing one of the greatest players of all time changes their tact.
Bissouma to Liverpool OFF (Football Terrace)
Juventus struggle in Serie A
Either way, though, there was no escaping the fact that Juventus looked leggy and bereft of ideas in front of their own supporters with Leonardo Mancuso eventually scored an 21st-minute winner.
It really was the worst possible way to move into the post-Ronaldo era and one that poses serious questions about Juve’s title credentials compared to Atalanta, Lazio and the Milan-based clubs.
And before anyone suggests that level of pessimism to be hasty just two games into the season, bear in mind that a similar level of doubt seems to be simmering away in the squad itself.
Chiellini: “It’s not a team”
That’s because a revealing clip of Giorgio Chiellini started to do the rounds on social media after the Empoli result, apparently showing him criticising the team to Allegri during the 1-0 loss.
And alas, those suspicions have been confirmed by Football Italia who report that Chiellini told his manager: “It’s not a team,” while watching his Juventus teammates slump to the shock defeat.
It really is a classic example of why footballers so often speak with their hand over their mouth, so be sure to check out the footage in question down below:
You know that something isn’t right when one of your most senior players is saying that to the head coach.
Worrying times for Juventus
It seems clear that Chiellini is of the opinion that the current Juventus squad isn’t behaving like a team unit, which is perhaps understandable when the club is going through a transitionary phase.
However, when you consider that Chiellini has more than 500 appearances and 15 years worth of experience at the club, it’s fair to say that he knows one or two things about Juventus team spirit.
Chiellini has helped to guide the Old Lady through struggles in the past and perhaps he’ll need to dig deeper than ever to get them out of a mess that Ronaldo can no longer save them from.