Juventus thumped Cagliari 3-0 on Sunday to put the disappointment of their Champions League elimination behind them. A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick was the difference on the night keeping Juventus latched on to AC Milan, who themselves fell to a defeat at home to Napoli later that same evening.
A lot has been said and written about the Old Lady over the last week, and questions still hang over their immediate and long-term future.
Is Andrea Pirlo the right man for the Job?
Pirlo was an unexpected but brave appointment at the beginning of the season. The fact Juventus gave the job to the inexperienced ex-midfielder suggested they were looking for a long-term solution, allowing someone to develop and instill their own style and philosophy on the team.
The real question now is will they stick with the plan and allow Pirlo to have more time to implement his ideas next year or will the pressure of again failing in the Champions League and the real possibility of not retaining the title for the first time in nine seasons.
The positives to build on
In a season where it looks like Juventus will not achieve any of their objectives, some players have still managed to shine and give hope for the future.
Federico Chiesa who took some time to settle into his new surroundings has now really cemented his place in the team proving to be a key player for Pirlo. The young American Weston McKennie has been the surprise signing since his arrival. Contributing with four goals and two assists in his first season in Italy was enough for the Juventus hierarchy to trigger his purchase clause in his loan agreement and make him a permanent signing.
Another player who has been in great form this season is Danilo. The Brazilian defender struggled to make an impact in his first season in Italy but Pirlo has brought the best out of him using him in a variety of positions across the backline and the defender consistently repays his coach with good performances.
The Portuguese superstar received heavy criticism after the Champions league exit with Porto. He responded like only real champions do, with a hat-trick in the next game he played.
There is a lot of discussion around his future mainly due to his enormous salary and whether Juventus can continue to afford to keep him at the club for another season.
On the pitch, there is no room for discussion as the numbers speak for themselves. He is currently the club and Serie A’s top goalscorer with 23 goals.
As much as the talk is about whether he will continue with the Bianconeri or not, you have to wonder where they’d be without him.