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From final defeats to group stage eliminations: The Champions League curse haunting Juventus

5:10 AM EDT 9/15/22
Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus
It has been a quarter of a century years since Gianluca Vialli hoisted the iconic trophy to the sky in Rome as Juventus last won the Champions League.

Since then, Juve have been cursed when it comes to Europe's premier club competition, and have started this season's competition with back to back 2-1 losses to PSG and Benfica. There has been near misses and group stage disasters, wonderful teams, brilliant players, but ultimately endless heartache.

Here is a rundown of the curse of the Old Lady on her travels.

  • Juventus Champions League 1995-96

    1995-96: THE LAST TRIUMPH

    On May 22, 1996, Gianluca Vialli raised the Champions League trophy high above his head. 

    The second "Champions Cup" for Juventus, the first triumph since the trophy took on its current name and changed its formula. A triumph that Juventus has not been able to repeat.

    From the following year onwards, they experienced many disappointments, making it to the final five times and losing each time, unable to break what seems more and more like a curse.

    Rome, May 22, 1996

    AJAX 1-1 JUVENTUS (2-4 pens)

    SCORERS: 13' Ravanelli (J), 41' Litmanen (A)

    PENALTY KICK SEQUENCE: Davids (saved), Ferrara (goal), Litmanen (goal), Pessotto (goal), Scholten (goal), Padovano (goal), Silooy (saved), Jugovic (goal)

    JUVENTUS XI: Peruzzi, Torricelli, Ferrara, Vierchowod, Pessotto; Paulo Sousa (57' Di Livio), Deschamps, Conte (44' Jugovic), Del Piero, Vialli, Ravanelli (77' Padovano). 

    Bench: Rampulla, Porrini. 

    Coach: Marcello Lippi

  • Borussia Dortmund-Juventus 1996-97

    1996-97: DEFEAT IN THE FINAL

    One year after that triumph, Juve had the chance to make it two Champions League successes in a row. 

    With the departure of Vialli, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Pietro Vierchowod and Paulo Sousa, Juve fielded a young team, dragged to the final by the talent of Zinedine Zidane, Nicola Amoruso and Christian Vieri.

    After overpowering Ajax in the semi-finals, the Bianconeri faced Borussia Dortmund as huge favourites. 

    In the final, however, something went wrong: former Lazio player Karl-Heinz Riedle scores a brace.

    Lippi, perhaps too late, sent Alessandro Del Piero on and the Italian star halved the deficit with a nice heel. It was all in vain though, because Lars Ricken stunned Angelo Peruzzi and all of Juventus with a lovely lob to finish the match

    Munich, 28 May 1997

    Scorers: 29' Riedle (B), 34' Riedle (B), 65 'Del Piero (J), 71' Ricken (B)

    JUVENTUS: Peruzzi; Porrini (46 'Del Piero), Ferrara, Montero, Iuliano; Di Livio, Deschamps, Jugovic; Zidane; Vieri (71' Amoruso), Boksic (87' Tacchinardi). 

    Bench: Rampulla, Pessotto. 

    Coach: Lippi

  • Juventus-Real Madrid 1997-98


    A year after the disappointment of Monaco, Juve get to a third final in a row. 

    The Bianconeri win the Scudetto, dragged by an amazing Del Piero and a Zidane chasing the Ballon d'Or.

    The European campaign is also convincing: five goals against Dynamo Kiev in the quarter-finals, and six past Monaco in the next round. The conditions for the triumph are all there.

    This time, in Amsterdam, they take on Real Madrid: Predrag Mijatovic will prove to be the executioner of Lippi's team with a goal still never digested by the Juventus fans as they claim he was in an offside position.

    Amsterdam, 20 May 1998
    SCORER: 67' Mijatovic (R)
    JUVENTUS (4-3-1-2): Peruzzi; Torricelli, Iuliano, Montero, Pessotto (70' Fonseca); Di Livio (46' Tacchinardi), Deschamps (77' Conte), Davids; Zidane; Del Piero, Inzaghi. 

    Bench: Rampulla, Birindelli, Dimas, Amoruso. 

    Coach: Lippi

  • Juventus-Manchester United - 1998-99


    With Zidane fresh from his Ballon d'Or victory, the Bianconeri pass the group stage and the quarter-finals, where they get the better of Olympiakos. 

    It is the year of Del Piero's bad injury, but despite that upset, the Turin side secure a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the first leg semi-final.

    The return match immediately goes well thanks to a brace from Pippo Inzaghi, but then the imponderable happens and the team led by Carlo Ancelotti suffers the return of the Red Devils, who find two goals in the first half and definitively seal the deal with seven minutes left. 

    The star attackers Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole deprive Juve of a place in the final this time.

    Turin, 21 April 1999
    SCORES: 6 'Inzaghi (I), 11' Inzaghi (I), 24 'Keane (M), 34'
    JUVENTUS (4-4-1-1): Peruzzi; Birindelli (46 'Amoruso), Ferrara, Iuliano (46' Montero), Pessotto; Conte, Deschamps, Davids, Di Livio (80' Fonseca); Zidane; Inzaghi. 

    Bench: Rampulla, Tudor, Tacchinardi, Esnaider. 

    Coach: Ancelotti

  • Giraudo Ancelotti Moggi Juventus


    The 1998-99 European campaign was not the only disappointment for Juventus that year.

    They also endured a subdued Serie A campaign, finishing in seventh place to deprive them of a spot in the 1999-00 Champions League. 

    The Bianconeri win the Intertoto Cup, but then go out in the second round of the UEFA Cup, eliminated by Celta Vigo with an aggregate score of 4-0.

    In Serie A, however, it is particularly humiliating as Lazio overtake them on the very last day to win the Scudetto.

  • Paulo Sousa Panathinaikos


    The runner-up finish in Serie A the previous season allows Juventus to return to the Champions League.

    However, the European mission begins in a daring way as they draw 4-4 with Hamburg, and ends worse, with a 3-1 loss to Panathinaikos which results in their elimination from a group that is anything but prohibitive. Deportivo La Coruna and Panathinaikos were the teams to progress to the next round.

    Athens, 8 November 2000

    Scorers: 7' Sousa (P), 24' Inzaghi (J), 58' Basinas (pen) (P), 65' Warzycha (P)
    JUVENTUS (4-3-1- 2): Van Der Sar; Ferrara, Iuliano, Zanchi (57' Rampulla), Pessotto; O'Neill (60' Birindelli), Conte, Tacchinardi; Del Piero; Kovacevic, Inzaghi (63' Trezeguet).

  • Bayer Leverkusen - Juventus 2001-2002


    For the Bianconeri it is the year of the revolution: goodbye Zidane and Ancelotti, hello Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram, Pavel Nedved and Fabio Cannavaro, while Lippi returns to the bench. 

    The goal is to go back to winning the Scudetto and aim for the Champions League. But, although they get back the Scudetto, they also face another disappointment in the Champions League.

    They pass the first group stage, but the new formula includes a second group stage and Juventus are drawn in a group with Arsenal, Deportivo La Coruna and Bayer Leverkusen.

    Yet again, they do not make it to the knockout rounds as they end up being eliminated by the Germans.

    Leverkusen, 12 March 2002

    Scorers: 24' Butt (pen) (B), 61' Tudor (J), 71' Brdaric (B), 90' Babic (B)
    JUVENTUS (4-4-2 ): Buffon; Zenoni, Birindelli, Ferrara, Pessotto (46' Tudor); Conte (46' Maresca), Tacchinardi, Zambrotta; Nedved; Trezeguet, Amoruso (61' Zalayeta). 

    Bench: Carini, Paramatti, Frara, Maietta. 

    Coach: Lippi

  • Shevchenko Milan Juventus 2002-2003


    It's the historic all-Italian final between Juve, again led by Marcello Lippi, and AC Milan.

    The Bianconeri are unable to get the better of the side now coached by former boss Carlo Ancelotti. 

    Juventus, on the pitch without the suspended Nedved, surrendered on penalties.
    Manchester, 28 May 2003
    JUVENTUS 0-0 MILAN (2-3 pens)
    PENALTY TAKERS: Trezeguet (J) (saved), Serginho (M) (goal), Birindelli (J) (goal), Seedorf (M) (saved), Zalayeta (J) (missed) , Kaladze (M) (saved), Montero (J) (saved), Nesta (M) (goal), Del Piero (J) (goal), Shevchenko (M) (goal).
    JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon; Thuram, Ferrara, Tudor (42' Birindelli), Montero; Camoranesi (46' Conte), Tacchinardi, Davids (65' Zalayeta), Zambrotta; Trezeguet, Del Piero. 

    Bench: Chimenti, Iuliano, Pessotto, Di Vaio. 

    Coach: Lippi

  • Juventus Deportivo 2003 2004

    2003-04: LAST-16 ELIMINATION

    Having easily passed the group stage, Juventus unexpectedly fell in the round of 16 to Deportivo La Coruna. 

    They went down 1-0 tin Spain and were unable to overturn even within friendly walls, losing 1-0 again.
    Turin, 9 March 2004
    SCORES: 12' Pandiani (D)
    JUVENTUS:  Buffon; Thuram, Ferrara, Legrottaglie (46' Pessotto) Montero; Camoranesi (80' Chiumiento), Tacchinardi, Appiah; Nedved; Del Piero (5' Miccoli), Di Vaio. 

    Bench: Chimenti, Maresca, Boudianski, Palladino. 

    Coach: Lippi.

  • Juventus-Liverpool 2004-2005


    Lippi's time ends, the Fabio Capello era begins. The Bianconeri turn to the former coach of AC Milan and Roma to guide them to success in the Champions League. 

    Things, however, do not go as hoped: Juve knocked out Real Madrid in the second round thanks to a goal by Zalayeta in extra time, but they did not manage to get the better of Liverpool. 

    The Turin side go down 2-1 at Anfield in the first leg match and can only muster a goalless draw in the return leg.
    Turin, 13 April 2005

    JUVENTUS (3-4-1-2):  Buffon; Thuram, Montero (82' Pessotto), Cannavaro; Camoranesi (83' Appiah), Emerson, Olivera (46' Zalayeta), Zambrotta; Nedved; Ibrahimovic, Del Piero. 

    Bench: Chimenti, Birindelli, Masiello, Blasi. 

    Coach: Capello 

  • Juventus-Arsenal 2005-2006


    Another quarter-final defeat by English opponents.

    This time, Fabio Capello's team, after eliminating Werder Bremen in a daring way in the round of 16 thanks to a goal from Emerson at the very end, fall in the presence of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal. 

    After a 2-0 defeat in London, they draw 0-0 in the return match and Nedved is sent off. 

    Another disappointment, which precedes the most difficult summer in the history of the Juventus club.
    Turin, 5 April 2006

    JUVENTUS (4-4-2):  Buffon, Zambrotta, Kovac, Cannavaro, Chiellini (66' Balzaretti), Mutu (61' Zalayeta), Emerson, Giannichedda, Nedved, Ibrahimovic, Trezeguet. 

    Bench: Abbiati, Pessotto, Blasi, Thuram, Olivera. 

    Coach: Capello.  

  • Juve Serie B 2006-2007

    2006-07 & 2007-08: NO PARTICIPATION

    The 2006-2007 season is the one that sees Juventus cast out of Serie A. After the 'Calciopoli' trial, they end up in Serie B and win the title. Obviously, that year, the team coached by Deschamps does not take part in any European competition.

    They return to Serie A the following year and finish in third place but of course Claudio Ranieri's team are not able to compete in Europe again.

  • Juventus-Chelsea 2008-2009

    2008-09: ELIMINATED IN LAST-16

    Juventus' adventure begins in the qualifying rounds, where Del Piero and his team-mates easily get rid of Artmedia. 

    The group stage goes well with two wins against Real Madrid, with Del Piero the undisputed protagonist both in Turin and at the Santiago Bernabeu and the feeling that, with Ranieri on the bench, the Bianconeri can have their say in Europe.

    The race, however, stops again in the presence of an English team. This time it is Chelsea who eliminate Juve.

    The Blues win 1-0 in the first leg and Juve fight back in the second, but in the end Chelsea manages to progress with a 2-2 draw, going through with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

    Turin, 10 March 2009
    SCORES: 19' Iaquinta (J), 46' Essien (C), 74' (pen) Del Piero (J), 82' Drogba (C)
    JUVENTUS (4-3-3): Buffon; Grygera, Mellberg, Chiellini, Molinaro; Marchisio, Tiago, Nedved (13' Salihamidzic); Iaquinta (60' Giovinco), Del Piero, Trezeguet (79' Amauri). 

    Bench: Manninger, Zebina, Ariaudo, Poulsen. 

    Coach: Ranieri

  • Fabio Cannavaro Danijel Pranjic Juventus Bayern Munich 2009


    Juve try again, this time with Ciro Ferrara on the bench.

    Drawn in a group with Bayern Munich, Bordeaux and Maccabi Haifa, Juve complicate their lives by losing 2-0 to the French side, only to go out in the worst way by falling 4-1 at home after taking the lead against Bayern.
    Turin, 8 December 2009
    SCORES: 18' Trezeguet (J), 30' Butt (B), 52' Olic (B), 83' Gomez (B), 92' Tymoschuk
    JUVENTUS (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Caceres, Legrottaglie, Cannavaro, Grosso; Camoranesi, Felipe Melo (81' Giovinco) Marchisio; Diego (65' Amauri); Trezeguet, Del Piero (46' Poulsen). 

    Bench: Manninger, Grygera, Ariaudo, Tiago. 

    Coach: Ferrara

  • Andrea Pirlo Juventus 2012

    2010-11 & 2011-12: NO PARTICIPATION

    Juventus end up in seventh place in Serie A and the Bianconeri, after the bad elimination in the group stage, do not have the opportunity to redeem themselves. 

    They play in the Europa League, from which they are surprisingly ousted during the group stage by Manchester City and Lech Poznan.

    In 2011-12, they also miss out on a place in Europe with another seventh-place finish, but luckily in comes Antonio Conte to bring the Scudetto back to Turin.

  • Juventus Bayern 2012-2013


    Juventus returns to the Champions League after two years and find Bayern Munich in their way again.

    The Bianconeri, coached by Antonio Conte, lose 2-0 in Germany and fail to overturn the score even at home, where they are defeated 2-0 again. Mario Mandzukic was also among the scorers.


    SCORERS64' Mandzukic, 91' Pizarro 

    JUVENTUS (3-5-2): Buffon; Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini; Padoin (68' Isla), Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio (79' Giaccherini), Asamoah; Vucinic, Quagliarella (65' Matri). 

    Bench: Storari, Caceres, De Ceglie, Peluso. 

    Coach: Conte

  • Galatasaray Juventus 2013-2014


    December 2013 is perhaps one of the most absurd eliminations in Juventus history in Europe.

    The Bianconeri only needed a point from their visit to a Galatasaray team led by Roberto Mancini, but the weather conditions did not help Conte's boys. 

    The match initially lasted only half an hour, but resumed the next day and a goal by former Inter player Wesley Sneijder, under the snow, condemned the Italians to elimination.


    SCORERS: 85' Sneijder

    JUVENTUS (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci (90' Giovinco), Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pogba, Marchisio (87' Quagliarella), Asamoah; Llorente, Tevez.  

    Bench: Storari, Caceres, Ogbonna, Isla, Padoin. 


  • Barcelona Juventus 2014-2015

    2014-15: DEFEAT IN THE FINAL

    Twelve years after they last made it, Juventus returns to the final.

    This time standing in the way of Massimiliano Allegri's team are a Barcelona side boasting the deadly Suarez-Neymar-Messi trio.

    The game immediately starts badly for Juventus as Ivan Rakitic scores, but Alvaro Morata brings the Turin giants back into it.

    In the end, though, Juve collapse under the blows of Suarez and Neymar.

    Another lost final, another disappointment, even if it came after an excellent ride.


    SCORERS: 4' Rakitic (B), 55' Morata (J), 68' Suarez (B), 90+7' Neymar (B)

    JUVENTUS (4-3-1-2): Buffon, Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra (89' Coman); Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal (79' Pereyra); Tevez, Morata (80' Llorente). 

    Bench: Storari, Ogbonna, Padoin, Sturaro. 

    Coach: Allegri

  • David Alaba Sami Khedira Bayern Munchen Juventus Turin Champions League 03162016

    2015-16: OUT IN LAST-16

    Another near miss, another bitter disappointment at the hands of Bayern Munich.

    Juventus drew 2-2 at home in the last-16 tie, but pulled off a sumptuous performance in the return: Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado give them a 2-0 lead, but then Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, right in the 90th minute, drag the match into extra time where Thiago Alcantara first and ex-Juve man Kingsley Coman secure the win for Bavarians.

    BAYERN-MONACO JUVENTUS 4-2 dts (2-2 dtr)

    SCORERS: 6 'Pogba (J), 28' Cuadrado (J), 73 'Lewandowski (B), 91' Mueller (B), 108 'Thiago Alcantara (B), 110' Coman (B)

    JUVENTUS (5-4-1): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Barzagli, Evra, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado (89 'Pereyra), Khedira (68' Sturaro), Hernanes, Pogba; Morata (71 'Mandzukic). On the bench: Neto, Rugani, Asamoah, Zaza. Coach: Allegri.

  • Real Madrid Juve 2016-2017

    2016-17: DEFEAT IN THE FINAL

    By eliminating Barcelona and Monaco in a spectacular way, Juventus reach the final again.

    This time, in Cardiff, challenging the Italian giants of Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain is Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid. 

    The Portuguese immediately opens the scoring but a supergoal from Mario Mandzukic levels the score before the break. 

    In the second half, however, Juve fall apart and suffer a 4-1 loss: Casemiro, Ronaldo and Marco Asensio are among the goals.
    Cardiff, 3 June 2017
    SCORERS: 20' Ronaldo (R), 27' Mandzukic (J), 61' Casemiro (R), 64' Ronaldo (R), 90' Asensio (R)
    JUVENTUS (4-2-3-1): Buffon; Barzagli (67' Cuadrado), Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic (71' Marchisio); Dani Alves, Dybala (78' Lemina), Mandzukic; Higuain. 

    Bench: Neto, Benatia, Lichtsteiner, Asamoah. 

    Coach: Allegri

  • Juve Real Madrid 2017-2018


    After beating Tottenham in the round of 16, Juventus find Real Madrid again in their way. 

    Ronaldo scores a spectacular double and Marcelo closes the score in the first leg, making the return fixture seemingly a mere formality. 

    At the Bernabeu, however, Juve unleashed a historic performance: Mandzukic and Blaise Matuidi equalised the aggregate score, but a foul on Lucas Vazquez cost the Bianconeri the penalty that Ronaldo converted, beating Wojciech Szczesny.


    SCORERS: 2', 37' Mandzukic (J), 61' Matuidi (J), 90+6' (pens) Cristiano Ronaldo (R)

    JUVENTUS (4-3-3): Buffon; De Sciglio (17' Lichtsteiner), Benatia, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Higuain (90+5' Szczesny), Mandzukic. 

    Bench: Rugani, Marchisio, Asamoah, Cuadrado, Sturaro. 

    Coach: Allegri.

  • Bernardeschi Juve Ajax


    Even Cristiano Ronaldo is not enough to bring the Champions League back to Turin: after the amazing comeback against Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid, the Bianconeri's campaign stops because of Ajax.

    They drew 1 -1 in Amsterdam followed by home defeat against the Dutch side in Turin despite taking the advantage through Ronaldo.

    Turin, April 16, 2019

    GOALS: 28' Ronaldo, 34' Van de Beek, 67' De Ligt

    JUVENTUS (4-3-3) Szczesny; De Sciglio (64' Cancelo), Bonucci, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Emre Can, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi (80' Bentancur), Dybala (46' Kean), Cristiano Ronaldo. 

    Coach: Allegri

  • Memphis Depay Juventus Lione UEFA Champions League

    2019-20: KNOCKED OUT IN LAST-16

    One of the most difficult upsets for Juventus to forget, not so much for what happened on the pitch but for what happened on the entire planet.

    The Covid-19 emergency resulted in 163 days passing between the two legs in the round of 16.

    The first leg, played at the end of February in Lyon, was won 1-0 by the French team, thanks to a goal from Lucas Tousart.

    To summarize the absurdity of the season, Tousart does not take the field on the return because he was already sold to Hertha Berlin.

    Lyon also took the lead in Turin thanks to Depay's penalty, then Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and scored a brace, but it was not enough.

    Turin, 7 August 2020

    SCORERS: 12' Depay (L) (pen), 43' Ronaldo (J) (pen), 60 'Ronaldo (J)

    JUVENTUS (4-3-3) Szczesny; Cuadrado (69' Danilo), De Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic (60' Ramsey), Rabiot; Bernardeschi (69' Dybala, 84' Olivieri), Higuain, Ronaldo. 

    Bench: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Chiellini, Demiral, Rugani, Matuidi, Muratore. 

    Coach: Sarri

  • Juventus Porto Cristiano Ronaldo Champions League

    2020-21: SAME AGAIN

    The music does not change, despite the change in coach from Sarri to Andrea Pirlo. Juventus, with a 3-0 win obtained at Camp Nou, snatches first place in the group from Barcelona and gives themselves a soft draw against Porto.

    Soft, however, is also the way to describe Juve's approach to the first leg. They are bested 2-1 in Portugal, going behind just two minutes into the clash.

    The return leg does not get off to a good start, either, as they find themselves 1-0 down within 20 minutes.

    Two goals from Federico Chiesa pull them back into the tie and take it into extra-time, where Oliveira scores the decisive goal to send his side through despite Adrien Rabiot adding another later on for his team. The tie ends 4-4 on aggregate, with Porto through on away goals.
    Turin, 9 March 2021 

    JUVENTUS 3-2 (aet) PORTO

    SCORERS: 18' Sergio Oliveira (P), 49' Chiesa (J), 63' Chiesa (J), 115' Sergio Oliveira (P), 117' Rabiot (J)

    JUVENTUS: Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci (75' De Ligt), Demiral, Alex Sandro; Ramsey (75' McKennie), Arthur (102' Kulusevski), Rabiot, Chiesa (102' Bernardeschi); Morata, Ronaldo. 

    Bench: Pinsoglio, Buffon, Chiellini, Di Pardo, Dragusin, Frabotta, Fagioli. 

    Coach: Pirlo

  • VLahovic Juventus Villarreal 2022

    2021-22: AND AGAIN

    This time it is Villarreal that makes the big shot, once again starting as the underdogs. 

    Juve drew 1-1 in the first leg in Spain with Dusan Vlahovic's goals after a few seconds and Dani Parejo's equaliser.

    In the return leg in Turin, everything is decided towrads the end of the second half. First, Gerard Moreno scores a penalty in 78 minutes and then Pau Torres doubles the lead with five minutes left before Arnaut Danjuma converts a penalty in stoppage time.

    Turin, March 16, 2022


    SCORERS: 77' Moreno, 85' Pau Torres, 92' Danjuma

    JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Rugani, (79' Dybala), De Sciglio; Cuadrado, Locatelli (83' Bernardeschi), Arthur, Rabiot; Vlahovic, Morata (86' Kean).