CARDIFF Juventus’s 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final was dubbed a “galactic disappointment” by Italian media but should prove to be more of a reality check than the end of an era for the Turin club.
A seventh loss in nine finals in Europe’s leading club tournament leaves the Turin side, who recently claimed their sixth straight Serie A title, looking for ways to turn their domestic dominance into glory on the continent.
Saturday's 4-1 scoreline was somewhat harsh on Max Allegri’s team who had put on an excellent first-half display, going in 1-1 after a wonderful equaliser from Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic.
“It seemed the start of a fairytale night but instead, after the break, Juventus disappeared from the scene and the domination of Real was total,” wrote the daily Corriere dello Sport.
“The nightmare of Juventus took over another haunted night,” wrote La Repubblica, referring to the club’s run of losing five finals since they last lifted the crown in 1996.
Not surprisingly, the focus has turned to how Juventus might be able to strengthen their squad in order to offer a stronger challenge against Europe’s best next season.
The tone taken by Allegri suggests a big overhaul is unlikely, however.
"No I don't think Juve have reached the end of a cycle at all," the coach said after the game.
"(Gianluigi) Buffon will still be goalie next season and (Andrea) Barzagli with be with us for another year. They still have lots to give this club but we can improve the team.
"We all need to rest now but after the holidays we will return with new drive and stimulus."
Still, it would be no surprise to see Juventus set out to strengthen their midfield, where Sami Khedira looks to have fallen below the standards he showed in his time at Real, and in attack where Gonzalo Higuain, despite his consistency at domestic level, was once again largely ineffective on a big occasion.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)