Rahul Sharma (Editor)

2002–03 Juventus F.C. season

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President  Vittorio Chiusano
Stadium  Stadio delle Alpi
Supercoppa Italiana  Winners
Manager  Marcello Lippi
Serie A  1st
Coppa Italia  Quarter-finals

The 2002–03 season was Juventus Football Club's 105th in existence and 101st consecutive season in the top flight of Italian football.


Season review

On the field, the side coached by Marcello Lippi had a relatively slow start to the league season. They remained unbeaten in the first 12 games, but this included five draws. The club's form suffered a blip at the beginning of autumn with two draws and two consecutive defeats, to Brescia and Lazio, between 23 November and 15 December. At this point of the season, with 14 games played, Juventus were fourth in Serie A, trailing Inter, Lazio and AC Milan. On 22 December, a late Mauro Camoranesi goal at Perugia was needed to put an end to this winless streak.

From this moment on, the Bianconeri gained a momentum they sustained going into the new year, winning nine of their next ten games. Unfortunately, the only fixture they failed to win during this period, a 1–1 draw against Atalanta in early February, was marred by a serious injury to Alessandro Del Piero, at a time when he had rediscovered his goalscoring touch. Del Piero missed two months of football following that injury. Even in his absence, la Vecchia Signora continued to prevail, though in a less dominant fashion. On 2 March, Juventus thrashed Inter 3–0, a result that took the club to top spot in the league, a position it would never leave. After that game, the Bianconeri lost only two more of their remaining games and won most of the remainder, including an important success over Roma, who had been something of a bogey side for the Turin club in previous years.

The 27th league title of Juve's history was confirmed on 10 May, following a 2–2 draw with Perugia. With two games to go, second-placed Inter were no longer in a position to challenge for the scudetto, despite again spending big in the previous summer. When this title was secured, Luciano Moggi's reputation reached its peak and Juventus looked set to continue dominating Serie A in years to come.


For a change, all three North Italian clubs succeeded in Europe. Along with the two Milan clubs, Juventus were one of the three Italian sides who appeared in the semi-finals that season. Juventus knocked out the only remaining non-Italian team, Real Madrid, to set up an all-Italian final with Milan, who had beaten Inter in the other semi-final. The final, played at Old Trafford in Manchester, ended 0–0, with Milan winning on penalties. Normally reliable goalscorer David Trezeguet was among the players who fluffed their attempts.

It was Juventus's best run in the competition since the 1997–98 season, where they had also been beaten finalists. However, the Bianconeri's run to the final wasn't exactly a case of plain sailing, and actually involved a lot of tough moments. After impressing in the first group stage, topping their group and conceding just 3 goals in 6 games (the meanest defence of all 32 teams competing), Juventus suffered in the second group stage.

Drawn in Group D alongside FC Basel, Deportivo La Coruña, and Manchester United, Juventus began their campaign disastrously, conceding two early goals in La Coruña. The Italians managed to fight back with goals from Alessandro Birindelli and Pavel Nedvěd, but the problems encountered in this fixture would set the tone for the remainder of this group stage. Having beaten Swiss side Basel 4–0 in Turin in December, the Bianconeri were to face Manchester United in their next two games.

The first match, played in Old Trafford, saw Juventus send a depleted squad to England after many players caught flu. In spite of this, the Turin club put up a spirited display and only lost 2–1. They were widely expected to make amends in the return leg at the Stadio delle Alpi; but, in front of 59,000 spectactors, the home side collapsed to a 3–0 loss. It was the first time in six Champions League encounters that Juventus had failed to score against United.

In the meantime, both Basel and Deportivo had managed to win games, meaning the Italian champions faced an uphill struggle to reach the quarter-finals. In the following game, against Deportivo, Juve were facing the prospect of an early exit with both sides tied at 2–2 and mere minutes remaining. In injury time, Igor Tudor unleashed an unstoppable volley that beat Deportivo keeper José Molina. The victory meant Juventus had a superior head-to-head record against the Spaniards and could only eliminated if they lost their last game in Basel by more than 4 goals. The game was indeed lost, but only by 2–1, giving the Turin side its first quarter-final appearance in the Champions League since the 1998–99 season.

More epic games awaited them, with Barcelona next on their agenda. While struggling in their domestic league, Barcelona had impressed in both group stages, topping their group every time and establishing a new record of nine consecutive wins in the competition. The first leg of the quarter-final in Turin finished 1–1, Javier Saviola's 78th-minute goal equalising Paolo Montero's early goal. Barcelona appeared to be in a fine position heading into the second leg at the Camp Nou. There, Pavel Nedved scored first for Juventus, but the Catalans soon equalised through Xavi. When Edgar Davids was sent off for repeated fouling the Bianconeri were seemingly doomed, but they held on until extra time; with six minutes left on the clock, substitute Marcelo Zalayeta shocked the Camp Nou with a second goal. 10-man Juventus qualified for the semi-finals, following a game that ranks forever among the club's greatest European exploits.

Even tougher opposition was awaiting them in the following round. Real Madrid had won three of the previous five editions of the competition and presented a star-studded squad with players such as Iker Casillas, Roberto Carlos, Luís Figo, Raúl González, Ronaldo and former Juventus playmaker Zinedine Zidane. They had imperiously seen off the challenge of Manchester United in the quarter-final and were in search of their 10th Champions League title.

The first leg was played in Madrid on 6 May. Deploying their usual brand of quick attacking football, the Spaniards put their noses in front with a Ronaldo strike and continued to dominate proceedings, Gianluigi Buffon doing well to save a Zidane free-kick. However, on the stroke of half time, David Trezeguet silenced the Santiago Bernabéu with an equaliser. The second half saw Real continue to dominate, but with much less success than they had against Manchester United in the previous round. Roberto Carlos did grab a second goal for the home side, but the Juventus performance had sown the seeds of doubt in the previously confident Madridistas.

The return leg on 14 May turned out to be a completely different affair. Criticised for their defensive approach in Madrid, Juventus set out to attack on their home turf and were rewarded for their efforts with just 12 minutes gone. A fine collective move saw Gianluca Zambrotta cross from deep for Alessandro Del Piero, who headed back into the six-yard box for David Trezeguet to smash home. Madrid were all over the place and found no response to the Italians' unexpected all-out attack attitude. Just before half time, Alessandro Del Piero tormented the Real Madrid defence in their own penalty area with his twists and turns, and beat Iker Casillas at his near post with a well-placed shot. Del Piero thus maintained his tradition of scoring key goals against Real Madrid, having already done so as a 21-year-old in a 1996 quarter-final tie.

The Spaniards played better in the second half and earned a penalty after 65 minutes. Gianluigi Buffon delivered a rare penalty save to deny Luís Figo, thus keeping his side's two-goal advantage. On 73 minutes, Pavel Nedvěd delivered the final nail into Madrid's coffin with a thunderous volley that beat the hapless Casillas. Unfortunately, he was booked for a silly foul minutes later, meaning he would miss the final through suspension. On 89 minutes, Zidane, playing on the pitch which had been his home for five seasons, pulled one back for Real Madrid, but the Spaniards ultimately got what they deserved, having been comprehensively outplayed by their opponents.

Key players

For the league title, Nedvěd was considered the key player. Having not been so influential in his earlier two scudettos with Lazio and Juve, this title was credited to his work-ethic and creativity. He was also rewarded as the European Player of the Year, but lost out on the FIFA award for World Player to ex-Juventus player Zinedine Zidane. With 5 goals scored, he was, with Alessandro Del Piero, the club's joint top goalscorer in the Champions League.

Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram, Ciro Ferrara, Edgar Davids and Alessandro Del Piero all made key contributions to the squad, but the biggest surprise was Mauro Camoranesi. Signed from Hellas Verona in the summer of 2002, the Argentinian-born midfielder adapted with ease to his new surroundings, and was one of the club's best players for the first seven months of the season. In April and May 2003, he suffered from a slight loss of form, which didn't change the fact that he had hugely contributed to a positive season for the club.

2001–02 topscorer David Trezeguet suffered from a knee injury in pre-season practice. He recovered strongly from this setback. However, his replacement, Marco Di Vaio, did not live up to his reputation earned at his previous club Parma.

Squad information

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Left club during season

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Results summary

Last updated: 24 May 2003.
Source: Competitive matches

Results by round

Last updated: 24 May 2003.
Source: Competitive matches
Ground: A = Away; H = Home. Result: D = Draw; L = Loss; W = Win; P = Postponed.

Knockout stage



2002–03 Juventus F.C. season Wikipedia

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