Saturday, May 27, 2017

When Calcio Ruled the Football World-A Personal Journey-Part 13 (1994/95)

The Summer of 1994 in Italy was set in the aftermath of the World Cup Final lost (on a penalty kick shoot-out) by the Azzurri in USA.
As far as club Football was concerned, the Mercato was as low-key as the previous summer. Everything seemed to be business as usual, (Prime Minister) Silvio Berlusoni’s AC Milan still appeared as strong as ever, and there was little to indicate if their continuous reign would be over.
Not only that, they had re-signed Ruud Gullit after his one season excellent stint at Sampdoria. He had returned as he put it to get ‘Milan out of his system.’
It was a triumphant return of sorts and even Berlusconi had to admit that selling Gullit had been a mistake.
AC Milan Manager Fabio Capello had after many months settled on a foreign trio of Zvonimir Boban, Marcel Desailly and Dejan Savicevic. Initially, the arrival of Gullit would have disrupted this balance. As a result it would appear that his return had been Berlusconi’s decision and not particularly Capello’s.
Milan offloaded foreign players on its books that were unable to adapt to Capello’s tactics: Frenchman Jean-Pierre Papin (Bayern Munich), Danish midfielder Brian Laudrup and Romanian striker Florin Raducioui (RCD Espanol).
The Rossoneri still had Gullit’s compatriot Marco van Basten on their squad. He was out indefinitely (just like the previous season) recovering from injury (more on that later….).
The core Italian bloc of Italian players led by skipper Franco Baresi and veterans such as Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta Roberto Donadoni, Mauro Tassoti and Daniele Massaro still remained in place.

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2554, March 21, 1995
(AC Milan’s Paolo Maldini)

Other newcomers for Milan included former midfielder Giovanni Stroppa, back from a successful season at Foggia, as well as Massimo Orlando (from Fiorentina) and Gianluca Sordo (from Torino).
Early in the season Milan swapped Alessandro Orlando with Juventus to get Paolo Di Canio.
Neighbors Internazionale Milano decided to persevere with the disappointing Dutch duo of Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk. Perhaps hoping the former Ajax standouts had acclimatized to the rigors of the Serie A. The impressive Uruguayan forward Ruben Sosa still remained, as did veterans such as Captain Giuseppe Bergomi and Nicola Berti.

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1995
(Internazionale Milano’s Dennis Bergkamp)

The disappointing Macedonian striker Darko Pancev was still on board as Inter were unable to offload him along with Russian midfielder Igor Shalimov who had regressed after a positive first season (1992/93).
Veteran Manager Ottavio Bianchi was appointed to lead Inter.
The major change for Inter was between the sticks. Italy goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca arrived from Sampdoria with Long-time veteran goalkeeper Walter Zenga along with defensive partner Riccardo Ferri going in the opposite direction.
Other arrivals included little known Italian players such as Gianluca Festa (from AS Roma), Giovanni Bia (from Napoli), Pierluigi Orlandini (from Atalanta) and Andrea Seno (from Foggia).
The main change at Lazio was on the bench as the Zdenek Zeman, the apostle of Zonal Tactics and 4-3-3 was appointed by Club President Sergio Cragnotti.
Zeman would be reunited with his former Foggia charge Giuseppe Signori, who had developed into one of Serie A’s best strikers in the two seasons since leaving Foggia.

Photo From: The Game, Issue 5, August 1995
(Lazio’s Giuseppe Signori)

Fireworks were promised in a side that not only included Signori upfront but also the likes of Dutchman Aron Winter, Pierluigi Casiraghi and Croatian striker Alen Boksic.
English star Paul Gascoigne was still on board but he would miss most of the season recovering from an injury suffered at the tail end of the previous season.
Zeman signed Roberto Rambaudi from Atalanta to team up as well with his former Foggia partner Signori.  The pair had been under Zeman’s management when Foggia was promoted to the Serie A in 1991.
The Laziali included a new arrical at the back. Lazio opted for Argentinean defender Jose Antonio Chamot (from Foggia) after it had appeared for some time that Frenchman Basile Boli from Olympique Marseille would be recruited.
Nevio Scala’s Parma had been one of the top outfits for a couple of seasons now and were viewed as one of the serious contenders for the Scudetto.
The team included many Italian players that had participated in the recent World Cup, such as Antonio Bennarivo, Luigi Apolloni, Lorenzo Minotti and Gianfranco Zola. Not to mention successful foreign contingent of Colombia’s Faustino Asprilla, Sweden’s Tomas Brolin and Argentina’s Roberto Sensini.

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1995
(Parma’s Gianfranco Zola)

Belgian defender Georges Grun had returned to Anderlecht. As an extra defensive cover Parma recruited Portugal’s Fernando Couto from Porto.
He was one of the rising talents of a new generation of Portuguese Footballers that were to grace European and World Football into the next decade.
Italian International defender Roberto Mussi arrived from Torino, as did striker Marco Branca from Udinese.
Parma strengthened its midfield by registering Dino Baggio from Juventus. He had been initially reluctant to leave but decided after realizing the Juventus hierarchy had no faith in him.

Photo From: World Soccer, April 1995
(Dino Baggio at Parma)

His transfer cancelled the proposed transfer of Alessandro Del Piero from Juventus to Parma. This would have significant consequence in the season (more on that later…)(
Parma also offloaded Alessandro Melli, whom many had predicted a bright future just seasons before, but who now had been unable to progress and had been sidelines by the additions of Zola, Brolin, Asprilla, etc.
Melli went to Sampdoria hoping to get more playing time and resurrect his career.
He was joined there by Yugoslavian midfielder Sinisa Mihajlovic, who left AS Roma to join Sampdoria.
A Gullit-less Sampdoria (still managed by the Swedish Sven-Goran Eriksson) still had retained Englishman David Platt and Yugoslavian midfielder Vladimir Jugovic. They had lost Srecko Katanec (former Yugoslavia and now Slovenia star) to retirement.

Photo From: The Game, Issue 3, June 1995
(Sampdoria and England’s David Platt)

AS Roma (managed by Carlo Mazzone) recruited the much coveted Uruguayan striker Daniel Fonseca and Swedish Captain Jonas Thern (both from Napoli). Other arrivals included Francesco Morieri (from Cagliari), Enrico Annoni (from Torino) and Francesco Statuto (from Udinese).

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1995
(Daniel Fonseca at AS Roma)

Due to financial difficulties Napoli had lost many key players (Fonseca, Thern, Ferrara) but did manage to acquire foreigners such as Colombia’s Freddy Rincon, Olympique Marseille’s French player Alain Boghosian and Brazil defender Andre Cruz (from Standard Liege).
Fiorentina were back in the Serie A after a single season in the Serie B. Argentinean goleador Gabriel Batistuta was ever present, though Germany’s Stefan Effenberg had been loaned to Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The side managed by Claudio Ranieri, enticed Brazil’s World Cup winning defender Marcio Santos (from Bordeaux) along with Rui Costa, yet another one of Portugal’s brilliant new Generation (from Benfica).

Photo From: World Soccer, August 1995
(Marcio Santos at Fiorentina)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 71, December 1994
(Fiorentina’s new Portuguese star, Rui Costa, November 20, 1994, Napoli 2-Fiorentina 5)

Torino beset by financial problems had to offload many players such as Giovanni Galli (to Parma as back-up goalkeeper), Uruguay’s Enzo Francescolli (back to River Plate), Giorgio Venturin (Lazio), as well as Fusi, Sordo and Robert Jarni.
In their place arrived from Olympique Marseille, the duo of French defender Jocelyn Angloma and Ghana star Abedi Pele, as well as France’s Jean-Pierre Cyprien (from Saint Etienne).
There were some transfer novelties that season. Genoa acquired the Japanese star Kazu Miura. He was a trendsetter, however, many critics dismissed his signing as a business venture. It turned out many Japanese firms had raised the money to send Miura to Italy and would pay his salary. These included Genoa’s new shirt sponsors, the Japanese electronics firm ‘Kenwood’.

Photo From: World Soccer, November 1994
(Genoa’s Kazu Miura)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 74, March 1995
(Genoa’s Kazu Miura with Monaco’s Prince Albert)

USA’s colorful star Alexi Lalas also found his way to Italy by signing with newly promoted Padova. Much like the Miura signing with Genoa, his signing was also dismissed as a novelty signing in many circles.
Lalas was joined at Padova with Croatian striker Goran Vlaovic from Dinamo Zagreb.
Underneath all these activities a revolution was brewing at Juventus that went somewhat under the radar. In the middle of the previous season the Juventus hierarchy had decided on a change of course to improve the Team’s fortunes on the field as well as its finances off the field.
The Agnelli clan had decided to lead the Management of the Team’s affairs to a triumvirate consisting of former star Roberto Bettega, Antonio Giraudo and Luciano Moggi.
The trio would replace the departing long-term President Giampero Boniperti.
The priority of the Agnellis as well as the new Directors was to limit the costs while remaining competitive.
Brazilian defender Julio Cesar and German midfielder Andreas Moeller were jointly transferred to Borussia Dortmund.
Veteran Roberto Galia was offloaded to Ascoli, while promising young defender Andrea Fortunato’s career was over as he was diagnosed with Leukemia.
On the bench as well, the club decided on a change of course. Long-term Manager (two spells) Giovanni Trapattoni departed to Bayern Munich.
The man who was handed the reins was a then somewhat unknown Manager named Marcello Lippi. In the previous two seasons he had overachieved with limited resources at Atalanta (1992/93) and Napoli (1993/94).
Despite some solid work, no one could have foreseen the impact he would make.
Lippi brought with him his Captain from Napoli Ciro Ferrara, a veteran of the Maradona years and two Scudetti under his belt.

Photo From: Panini, Calcio 1994/95
(Juventus’ Ciro Ferrara)

The other new arrivals at Juventus included Olympique Marseille’s French midfielder Didier Deschamps, Croatia’s Robert Jarni (from Torino), Sporting Lisbon’s talented Portuguese midfielder Paulo Sousa, Atalanta’s Alessio Tacchinardi and former Italian International Luca Fusi (from Torino).

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2546, January 24, 1995
(New Juventus Manager Marcelo Lippi with his two new foreign recruits: Didier Deschamps and Paulo Sousa)

In some ways a finally fit Gianluca Vialli was almost like a new recruit.
Fabrizio Ravanelli who had earned precious playing time the previous season in Vialli’s absence was now ready to partner him upfront in his own right.

Photo From: France Football, April 11, 1995
(Juventus’ Fabrizio Ravanelli)

However, Juventus would be hampered with the absence for much of the season of their then jewel in the crown Roberto Baggio.
Similar to Vialli, in the previous season, ‘Il Divin Codino’s season would be of highs and lows.
His absence would pave the way for the emergence of the young hero in waiting Alessandro Del Piero. In the previous season, he had shown in glimpses much promise. So much so that Nevio Scala tried to acquire him for Parma but luckily for Juventus this scenario did not take place.

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1995
(Juventus’ captain Roberto Baggio)

This season was also the first to award three points for a win. This aspect would go a long way to explain the more attacking desire shown by some teams most notably Juventus.
The new season got underway on September 4th and was fairly uneventful for the first few rounds.
Torino Manager Rosario Rampanti was the first coaching casualty and lost his post after only three matches on September 22nd. He was replaced by Nedo Sonetti.
On Matchday 5 (October 2nd), the first big match of the season took place at Turin between Juventus and Inter. The scoreless result hardly gave an indication on either team’s fortunes so early in the season.
On Matchday 6 (October 16th) Roma took the lead with 13 points as the Fonseca/Balbo partnership upfront appeared to be dividends.
On the same day, Parma, Inter, AC Milan and Juventus all lost their respective matches to allow the brief Roma lead.
Parma lost at Sampdoria (1-3), while an already vulnerable Inter lost at home (1-2) to Bari.
Juventus lost at Foggia (0-2) and at this point, it appeared unlikely that Juventus would make much on an impression. The absences of Baggio and Deschamps (would be out for 5 months) did not help matters.
But there was a glimmer of hope as Fabrzio Ravanelli was performing well upfront along with the young Alessandro Del Piero, who was featuring more and more due to Baggio’s absence.

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1995
(Juventus’ Fabrizio Ravanelli and Alessandro Del Piero)

AC Milan had appeared to be a shadow of their previous (impressive) selves from the previous season. They lost at Padova (0-2), with Lalas scoring the first goal.
This had been already Milan’s second League defeat of the season and trouble was brewing as Ajax had also defeated them in Europe.
Many blamed Milan’s difficulties to the after effects of fatigue due to a stressful World Cup that included a bulk of Milan’s squad on duty.
On the same day Napoli were defeated by Lazio (1-5). This prompted Napoli to sack Vincenzo Guerini, days later, on October 19th. Yugoslav Manager Vujadin Boskov was appointed as his replacement.
On the following week (Matchday 7, October 23rd), Juventus started their recovery with a victory at Cremonese (2-1) with goals by Baggio and Vialli. This win was significant as it highlighted Gianluca Vialli’s return to form as a he scored with a spectacular overhead kick.

Photo From: World Soccer, April 1995
(Juventus’ Gianluca Vialli)

Milan continued to struggle and was held scoreless at home by Sampdoria.
Parma took the League leadership by defeating Reggiana (2-1). The inclusions of Dino Baggio and Fernando Couto had been a success and Parma looked very much likely like a title contender.
Two days later on October 25th, Portuguese striker Jorge Cadete joined Brescia on loan from Sporting Lisbon.
On Matchday 8 (October 30th), Juventus took another step in laying a claim for the title by defeating defending Champions AC Milan (1-0) with a Baggio header. They kept in contact with Parma who defeated Roma (1-0). Lazio was also even on points with Juventus in the second place after defeating Cremonsese (1-0).

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1995
(Juventus’ captain Roberto Baggio)

Struggling Reggiana made a number of changes at this point. On October 31st, Reggiana Manager Giuseppe Marchioro was sacked and replaced by Enzo Ferrari.
On November 9th, Portuguese striker Rui Aguas joined Reggiana from Estrela Amadora in the midseason transfer window.
Reggiana also enrolled Russian striker Igor Simutenkov from Spartak Moscow and offloaded the Romanian Dorin Mateut to Dinamo Bucharest.
Struggling newly promoted side Padova acquired Dutch midfielder Michel Kreek (from Ajax Amsterdam) on November 2nd.
On Matchday 9 (November 6th), in Fiorentina’s match vs. Bari (2-0), Viola defender Stefano Pioli suffered a suspended heart attack after a collision with Bari’s Igor Protti. Fiorentina Team Doctor Marcello Manzuoli saved his life by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. After regaining consciousness in the Hospital, Pioli apparently could not remember if Fiorentina were still in Serie B or A.
On Matchday 10 (November 20th), Parma retained its sole leadership with a win over Foggia (2-0).  Parma were to be without its Swedish star Tomas Brolin for much of the season as he was seriously injured while on International duty with Sweden on November 16th in a UEFA European Championship qualifier vs. Hungary (2-0) (In fact this terrible injury effectively ended his career. (
The biggest news of the day was at Naples, where Fiorentina defeated Napoli (5-2). By scoring in this match, Fiorentina’s Gabriel Batistuta tied the record held by Bologna’s Ezio Pascutti (since 1962/63) by scoring in his tenth consecutive League match.
Genoa’s loss at Cagliari (0-1) led to the sacking of Francesco Scoglio at Genoa. In his place Giuseppe Marchioro was appointed (who had just been sacked by Reggiana three weeks earlier).
On the following week (Matchday 11, November 27th), Juventus narrowed the gap on Parma to just one point after defeating Padova (2-1, away) (They also held a game in hand).
Ravanelli continued to show his new importance to Lippi’s Juventus by netting the winner.  On the same day Parma had been held (1-1) at San Siro by Inter.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 75, April 1995
(Alessandro Del Piero, November 27, 1994, Padova 1-Juventus 2)

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2554, March 21, 1995
(Typical Fabrizio Ravanelli goal celebration with his shirt over his head)

The Roma derby took place on this Matchday as well and Roma defeated Lazio (3-0) to earn bragging rights at the Eternal City.
Batistuta continued his scoring spree and broke Ezio Pascutti’s record by scoring in his 11th straight match via a penalty kick vs. Sampdoria (2-2).

Photo From: The Game, Issue 5, August 1995
(Fiorentina’s Gabriel Batistuta)

On the following week (Matchday 12, December 4th), Juventus would play THE match that would come to define the new-look Lippi side and become its reference match.
Juventus were hosting Fiorentina and had fallen behind (0-2) by halftime and all appeared lost at this stage.
However, Juventus staged a remarkable comeback led by the resurgent Gianluca Vialli (and stand-in skipper) who chipped in with two goals.
Juventus capped off its memorable comeback with Del Piero scoring a spectacular goal near the end of the match. The Italian Sports World took note and delight of Del Piero who was now a star on the rise. This was the strike that established Del Piero and the win established Juventus as potential title winner after nine years of long wait.
On the same day, Parma clobbered Brescia (4-0) to retain its slim lead, but at the end of that day it was clear that this Juventus was the real deal.
Juventus took sole leadership of the League in the following week (Matchday 13, December 11th), by defeating Lazio at Rome (4-3). It was clear that this Juventus could score goals freely, though some critics also observed that it also gave away many goals as well.
Juventus’ lead (29 points) was significant since it still held a game in hand over Parma.
Milan showed some form of recovery by defeating Foggia (1-3, away). Capello had adjusted his tactics by now.  A disappointed Gullit had once again left Milan in the midseason Mercato (on November 9th) and rejoined Sampdoria (Alessandro Melli going in the opposite direction). Gullit had lasted only nine matches in his return.
Capello could now re-establish his preferred foreign trio of Boban-Desailly-Savicevic without any headache.
The ageing Mauro Tassoti and Daniel Massaro were no longer established starters and their places were now occupied by Christian Panucci and Marco Simone.
For the first time in his Milan career (started in 1989), Simone was s first choice and he would repay Capello’s faith that season.

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1995
(AC Milan’s Marco Simone)

Photo From: The Game, Issue 3, June 1995
(AC Milan defender Christian Panucci)

While Milan seemed to be on the way back, the same could not be said of its Milanese neighbors Inter. A loss at home to Napoli (0-2) increased the pressure on Club President Ernesto Pellegrini as Inter had not improved from the previous season’s free fall and were now in the bottom half of the table.
Dennis Bergkamp was still a disappointment and Inter nearly sold him to Bayern Munich in late October.
On December 11th, Genoa goalkeeper Stefano Tacconi’s career ended. His club released him after a dispute with club President Aldo Spinelli.
Spinelli had criticized his performance in the previous week’s Genova derby (December 4th, Sampdoria 3-Genoa 2).
The following week (Matchday 14, December 18th), Juventus suffered a minor hiccup as they were held at home by Genoa (1-1).
Parma took advantage to get one point ahead by defeating Bari (2-1, away).
Inter suffered yet another loss at home (Lazio, 0-2) that more or less signaled the end of the Ernesto Pellegrini era as President as fan discontent was growing.
The League took a two weeks break for Christmas/New Year . The League resumed for Matchday 15 (January 8th, 1995) with the biggest matchup of the season as then leaders Parma hosted Juventus.
Juventus confirmed their title winning credentials by deservedly defeating their rivals (3-1 away). Former Juventus player Dino Baggio had given Parma the lead against the run of play.
Juventus bounced back with a strike by Sousa and two goals by Ravanelli (one on a penalty kick) to reclaim the lead leadership.

Photo From: World Soccer, April 1995
(Alessandro Del Piero and Gianfranco Zola, January 8, 1995, Parma 1-Juventus 3)

They would not give it up for the rest of the season. This win similar to the win over Fiorentina was another reference match for Juventus on their way to the Scudetto.
One of the most important decisions of Lippi had been to take along with him from Napoli, the physical Giampiero Ventrone.
Ventrone would be credited for Juventus’ improvement in physical fitness and strengthening. The players were fresher and seemed unbeatable in matches.
Ravanelli once stated that he felt so fresh he could play one match right after finishing another.
According to most observers Parma had shown its limitations that day. Nevio Scala admitted that he had made errors in his team selection.
He stated that Parma were not yet ready for the title, perhaps in a year or two they could rival the big teams.
Juventus stretched its lead to four points (36 points) on the following week (Matchday 16, January 15th) with another key win over a rival (AS Roma (3-0)).

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 79, August 1995
(Juventus goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi)

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2554, March 21, 1995
(Antonio Conte, January 15, 1995, Juventus 3-AS Roma 0)

However, they suffered a double loss in the following ten days and allowed Parma to get within one point.
They lost to Cagliari (0-3) on Matchday 17 (January 22nd) and three days later lost at city rivals’ Torino (2-3) (the match had been postponed since November).
It was the midway point of the season and Juventus knew there was a still a long road ahead.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 75, April 1995
(Antonio Conte, Alessandro Del Piero and Jocelyn Angloma, January 25, 1995, Torino 3-Juventus 2)

The second half of the season got underway on January 29th (Matchday 18). Juventus extended its lead over Parma to three points (39 vs. 36) after a win over Brescia (2-1), as Parma were held at Cremonese (1-1). However, the action on the field was overshadowed by the events at Genoa.
Vincenzo Spagnolo, a 24-year-old Genoa fan, had been stabbed and killed by a Milan fan. By halftime the news had spread around the stadium. Massive protests by Genoa fans ensued and objects were thrown onto the field. The respective team Captains Franco Baresi and Vincenzo Torrente appealed for calm to no avail. Match Referee Gianni Beschin was forced to call off the Genoa and AC Milan matchup.

Photo From: World Soccer, March 1995
(Trouble ahead of Genoa-AC Milan match, January 29, 1995)

There was a one-week break in the League as a result of the tragic event.
The League resumed once more for Matchday 19 (February 12th). To mark the sad occasion and encourage fan unity, the teams walked onto the pitch wearing the opponents’ jerseys and speeches were made by team captains denouncing fan violence.
Juventus and Parma continued their surge with Juventus winning at Bari (2-0) and Parma winning vs. Padova (1-0).
In the meantime the Juventus and Parma rivalry was not only on the field but also on the transfer market. On February 1st, Parma announced they had signed Luis Figo from Sporting Lisbon for next season (the star of Portugal’s new Generation). However, Juventus disclosed that they had first option on him. In essence he had signed for both clubs. A compromise would be reached between the clubs whereby they asked the Italian Federation to ban Figo from Italy for two years.(
On the following week (Matchday 20, February 19th), Juventus stretched its lead over Parma to six points following their win over Napoli (1-0), coupled with Parma’s loss at Cagliari (0-2).
Lazio inflicted a heavy loss on Milan (4-0) and inched closer to the top duo.
This was Milan’s heaviest defeat in 12 years.
A day prior, the sale of Inter from Pellegrini to Massimo Moratti had been confirmed. Inter celebrated by defeating Brescia (1-0).
The arrival Massimo Moratti, son of Angelo Moratti (Inter President in the glorious 60s) brought renewed enthusiasm and hope for the Club’s future.

Photo From: World Soccer, April 1995
(New Internazionale Milano President Massimo Moratti)

From then on, big names were linked to the Nerazzuri through the end of the season. These included Manchester United’s Frenchman Eric Cantona, as well as his club teammates Ryan Giggs and Paul Ince, not to mention Sevilla’s Croatian striker Davor Suker.
Brescia’s loss led to the sacking of their Romanian Manager Mircea Lucescu. He was replaced by Gigi Maifredi.
On Matchday 22 (March 5th), Parma cut Juventus’ lead to four points (49 vs. 45) as Juventus were held scoreless at Inter, while Parma defeated Torino (2-0).
On the same day, Lazio inflicted a heavy defeat on Fiorentina (8-2). Afterwards, the Fiorentina fans took their wrath on Viola defender Gianluca Luppi by burning his car outside his home on March 9th.
The following week (Matchday 23, March 12th) marked the return of Roberto Baggio for Juventus. He had been out of action since November 27th.
He was instrumental in Juventus’ win over Foggia (2-0) by assisting on Ravanelli’s first goal and scoring the second from a free kick.

Photo From: France Football, April 11, 1995
(Juventus’ Roberto Baggio putting on the Captain’s Armband on Gianluca Vialli upon his substitution, March 12, 1995, Juventus 2-Foggia 0)

Soon Juventus would also welcome back Didier Deschamps who effortlessly slotted into the Juventus set up despite having been out for so long.

Photo From: World Soccer, July 1995
(Juventus’ Didier Deschamps)

On Matchday 24 (March 19th), Lazio’s win over Genoa (4-0) led to the sacking of Giuseppe Marchioro as Genoa’s coach on the following day. Marchioro had now been sacked by two different clubs in the same season. He was replaced by Claudio Maselli.
On Matchday 25 (April 2nd), Juventus took a step closer to the title by defeating Milan (2-0) at San Siro. They stretched their lead to nine points (58 vs. 49) as Parma were defeated at AS Roma (0-1).

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2554, March 21, 1995
(AC Milan’s Zvonimir Boban, April 1, 1995, AC Milan 0-Juventus 2)

On Matchday 26 (April 9th), Lazio's Englishman made his comeback from injury in Lazio's win (2-0) over Reggiana.

Photo From: World Soccer, June 1995
(Lazio’s Englishman Paul Gascoigne upon his return from injury, April 9, 1995, Lazio 2-Reggiana 0)

On April 13th, Brescia Manager Gigi Maifredi was sacked after losing all of his six matches in charge.
On Matchday 27 (April 15th), Juventus’ lead was extended to eleven points after a win at Reggiana (2-1) with Baggio scoring twice, as Parma were held scoreless at Foggia.
Juventus suffered an unexpected home loss to Padova (0-1) on then following week (Matchday 28, April 23rd). Parma cut Juventus’ lead to eight points (61 vs. 53) after defeating Internazionale Milano (3-0).
Juventus received far tragic news after its defender Andrea Fortunato died due to Leukemia on April 25th. He was only 23 and in the previous season had seemed a bright hope for the future.

Photo From: World Soccer, June 1995
(Andrea Fortunato)

At this point the Juventus-Parma mano-a-mano was not only restricted to the Scudetto. The two teams had also been paired in the Final of the UEFA Cup as well as the Final of Coppa Italia.
Juventus suffered another home loss on Matchday 30 (May 7th) vs. Lazio (0-3) but their lead was so significant that it was minor setback on their way to glory.
They moved closer to within a win of the title after defeating Genoa (4-0, away) on May 13th. Parma’s win over Bari (1-0) only delayed the inevitable.
In the meantime Parma were able to defeat Juventus (1-0, 1-1 away) to win the UEFA Cup, but clearly the main objective of the Juventus was always the Scudetto.
As chance would have it, their title decider was against Parma (Matchday 32, May 21st).
Juventus went all out and defeated Parma (4-0) to claim its first Scudetto since 1986 and its 23rd overall.

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2554, March 21, 1995
(Sergio Porrini, Faustino Asprilla and Angelo Peruzzi, May 21, 1995, Juventus 4-Parma 0)

The final two league rounds were immaterial as far as the League title. Parma’s loss on the last day at Napoli (0-1) allowed Lazio to finish level on points with them and get ahead of them due to better goal difference.

Photo From: The Game, Issue 6, September 1995
(Massimo Carrera and Alessandro del Piero celebrating Juventus’ title, May 21, 1995, Juventus 4-Parma 0)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 79, August 1995
(Didier Deschamps celebrating Juventus’ title, May 21, 1995, Juventus 4-Parma 0)

AC Milan, Roma and Inter finished behind them and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
Despite recovering its form in the second half of the season, it had been a disappointing season for Milan, who just a year earlier were the best in Europe. They also lost their Champions League crown by losing to Ajax Amsterdam in the Final. It was clear that a rebuilding needed to be made at Milan.
For Inter, things could only get better with Massimo Moratti at the helm, and a major rebuilding was also promised there.
Fiorentina’s Gabriel Batistuta was Capocannoniere with 26 goals with his compatriot Abel Balbo of AS Roma not far behind with 22 goals.
Juventus followed up its Scudetto win by defeating Parma in the Coppa Italia and win the Double.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 78, July 1995
(Alessandro Del Piero, June 7, 1995, Coppa Italia, Juventus 1-Parma 0)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 78, July 1995
(Sergio Porrini, June 7, 1995, Coppa Italia, Juventus 1-Parma 0)

Foggia, Reggiana and Brecia were demoted and were later joined by Genoa who were defeated by Padova in a relegation play-off.
The three points a win system had been a success and Juventus had been its main beneficiary.
They had gone out to earn wins and in the end managed to win 23 of their 34 matches. They finished full 10 points ahead of nearest rivals (Lazio/Parma, 73 vs. 63).

Photo From: World Soccer, September 1995
(Marcello Lippi being lifted by his players, June 11, 1995, Coppa Italia, Parma 0-Juventus 2)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 78, July 1995
(Michelangelo Rampulla and Massimo Carrera, June 11, 1995, Coppa Italia, Parma 0-Juventus 2)

Many observers credited the three points system as the impetus for teams adopting 4-3-3 formations. In addition to Zeman’s Zonal system at Lazio, other teams such as Cagliari (under Uruguayan Manager Oscar Washington Tabarez), Juventus, Foggia and Torino played in a 4-3-3 formation in one manner or another.
As the season was drawing near to an end, Roberto Baggio’s future at Juventus was in doubt. The new Juventus Management eager to cut expenditures could not offer Baggio the same salary. In addition, the explosion of Del Piero had weakened Baggio’s hand in contract negotiations as the Juve hierarchy saw Del Piero as the future of this new Juventus. In the end Baggio left Juventus after five seasons to join AC Milan.
Juventus’ German stopper Jurgen Kohler also left ‘La Vecchia Signora’ after four seasons of solid service to join Borussia Dortmund (soon to be joined by Inter’s Ruben Sosa).
Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk left their Italian nightmare at Inter by joining Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven respectively.
David Platt left Sampdoria to rejoin the English League after four years by joining Bergkamp at Arsenal.
His compatriot Paul Gascoigne, deemed a surplus by Zdenek Zeman, left Lazio and signed for Rangers Glasgow.
AC Milan veteran Daniele Massaro left the Serie A to join the J-League (Shimizu S-Pulse).

Photo From: World Soccer, June 1995
(AC Milan’s Daniele Massaro)

Darko Pancev ended his three season long Inter nightmare by joining Fortuna Dusseldorf. He had joined Inter as one of Europe’s most sought after strikers but left in decline and anonymity and went down as one of the greatest foreign player flops in the history of the Serie A.
Ruud Gullit left Italy after eight years to join Chelsea in the new burgeoning English Premier League.
His compatriot Marco van Basten had to face the inevitable and would announce his retirement in the summer. He had spent the previous two seasons inactive recovering from various injuries. AC Milan had anticipated this and had started negotiations with Paris St. Germain’s Liberian striker George Weah during the season, to have him on board for the following season.
This season promised to be the beginning of a new era of glory for Juventus. However, the rumors of AC Milan’s demise were perhaps somewhat premature and a Legal Case midway through the season would impact the game on the continent (1995/96 season, to be continued…..)

For more detail, see:

Photo From: World Soccer, August 1995
(Juventus squad, 1994/95)


  1. Yes, "Juventus" in that season ruled.

  2. Thank you for this great article, I have been anticipating this article, and I also reread all your calcio articles from the past. How many seasons will you cover? I remember playing Championship Manager in the latter part of the 90`s and the 00/01 and 01/02. I hope you will cover all up until the change of the millennia and more if you can. It was a magic time growing up and following the league those days, even though I would have wished to have been growing up a little earlier as I then could have followed the latter part of the 80`s and early 90`s. But its beautiful all along and I cant wait for the 95/96 seasons, this was one of the first seasons I really started to follow, albeit I was just 8 years old. Such great work you!! Thank you

  3. In the image referred to Juventus 4-Parma 0, with Porrini and Asprilla there isn't Peruzzi but Michelangelo Rampulla, an historic Juventus reserve keeper. A "reserve" keeper only in appearance, because of Peruzzi's frequent physical illnesses, Rampulla during his years in Turin played over 100 matches with the Bianconeri ;-)