Juventus

Ciro Ferrara Pays the Price for Juventus' Growing Pains

TURIN, ITALY - JANUARY 23:  Juventus FC head coach Ciro Ferrara looks on before the Serie A match between Juventus FC and AS Roma at Olimpico Stadium on January 23, 2010 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
Giancarlo RinaldiCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2010

Supporters of successful teams are different from the rest of us.

While we hope and dream about winning trophies, they have grown to expect some silverware at the end of every season.

That is why Juventus fans are hurting right now.

Domestically, they are Italy's most successful team. Up until a few years ago, they were guaranteed to compete for the Serie A title and, pretty often, the Champions League.

Not any more.

The Calciopoli scandal struck at the very heart of the club, and, whether you accept its sentences or not, has knocked the team back by several seasons, maybe more.

Juventus came back to Serie A in super-quick time, but they found the world had changed in their absence.

No longer are they regarded as the team to beat in Italy. That place has gone to Inter.

All the superstar players who took the Bianconeri to the top a few seasons ago now have much, much older legs.

The Turin giants have not looked comfortable in their new role as underdogs.

Last season, most people accepted a more humble approach, but, even then, manager Claudio Ranieri was sacrificed at the first sign of adversity.

This time around, the expectation levels were taken up a notch as young coach Ciro Ferrara pledged to fight for the title.

Now, he too has been shown the door as that dream lies in tatters.

The experienced Alberto Zaccheroni has been hired in a role most people see as a stopgap appointment until a bigger name can be found.

But the central problem remains the same for Juve.

How do they return to the position of preeminence they once enjoyed?

Fans want it to happen overnight, but that was never likely to happen.

Instead, they might have to get accustomed to accepting that it could take some time to get back to being the heavyweight contender they once were.

Although that is a message few associated with the club seem happy to accept.

First, Ranieri was sacrificed for a short-term crisis of results. Now, Ferrara has followed.

Juventus desperately need a steadying hand that can navigate them through their growing pains until they return to the top of the game, as they undoubtedly will.

In the old days, they would have gone out and got the best manager available.

Maybe they would have sneaked Laurent Blanc from under Inter's nose.

But those times are in the past, and all Juventini have got to get used to a new footballing world.

The Bianconeri will get back to its winning ways, no doubt, but it might not be as soon as some people would like.

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