Juventus and Celtic are both going for ten league titles in a row this season. The pair have dominated their domestic leagues over the last decade, often winning the championship by a country mile. However, there are a number of parallels between them at present and both clubs are toiling.
Firstly, both clubs are managed by former fan favourite players. Andrea Pirlo won four of the Turin club’s nine in a row as a midfielder, whilst he also lifted the double as a player in 2015. At Celtic, Neil Lennon captained the Hoops to a number of honours and was also an ever-present feature of the team that reached the UEFA Cup final in 2003.
Results have dictated that many fans of both clubs are now unhappy with the position of players they once loved, being their team’s manager.
Both Pirlo and Lennon have endured some poor results, against unfancied opposition. Pirlo’s Juventus have drawn against the likes of Verona, Benevento and Crotone, whilst they have lost 3-0 against Fiorentina. Although, in terms of their European results, they did defeat Barcelona 3-0 and beat the likes of Lyon. That said, the expectations are quite different for the Italian giants, considering that they have one of the best players in the world at their disposal in Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neil Lennon’s Celtic have suffered far worse results in Europe, losing 4-1 against Sparta Prague twice, and failing to qualify at the hands of Ferencvaros. However, in domestic terms, Celtic have endured a similar run. The Bhoys have lost against Rangers twice, drawn against opponent’s such as St Johnstone, Hibs, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock; not forgetting the abysmal League Cup exit thanks to a 2-0 home loss against Ross County.
Juve sat 10 points behind league leaders AC Milan, with Serie A almost at the half way stage. Celtic are 19 points behind, but if the Hoops win their games in hand then the deficit will be cut to 10 points too. The situation has slightly changed, however, as Juve’s 3-1 victory over the Milanese last night has reduced that gap to seven. It’s something that could give the Scottish champions hope.
The comparisons between both clubs, from the nature of their manager to the level that they have toiled in a historic season, is bizarre and entirely unexpected. Perhaps both should have looked to a manager with proven credentials, rather than opting to employ someone with a connection to the club.