Juventus still have bright future: Alvaro Morata

Reuters , Sunday 7 Jun 2015

Alvaro Morata
Juventus' Alvaro Morata reacts after losing the Champions League final soccer match between Juventus Turin and FC Barcelona at the Olympic stadium in Berlin Saturday, June 6, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Juventus's disappointment after losing 3-1 to Barcelona in the Champions League final was plain to see but once the dust settles on one of the great European showpiece matches there will be lots of positives to reflect on.

The scorer of their only goal, Alvaro Morata, believes the Italian club can build on their double domestic success of this season and challenge for the Champions League title again soon.

"This is a great squad, a great family and we must continue working hard. This team has no limits, it can win the Champions League, and the directors are working to build an even stronger side," said former Real Madrid striker Morata.

"I want to thank the fans who came out here, as we are honoured to wear the jersey for them," he added.

Although veterans like goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and playmaker Andrea Pirlo may not get too many more chances to win the greatest club prize in European soccer, this has still been a remarkably successful season for Juve.

Winners of a fourth successive Serie A title and the Coppa Italia and victors over outgoing Champions League holders Real Madrid in the semifinals last month, Juve are again reaching, or at least coming close, to their former heights.

"The spirit is back after everything that happened to Juve in the past. The club can hold its head high again and this defeat will not stop us moving forward," defender Andrea Barzagli told reporters.

"Yes it is a bitter pill to swallow, but we played very well against probably the best team in the world. This was no disgrace."

CALCIOPOLI SCANDAL

Almost a decade ago, the grand "Old Lady" of Italian football was demoted to Serie B in the wake of the Calciopoli betting scandal but they have rejuvenated themselves since.

Players like Carlos Tevez, Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra and Morata, who played a bit-part in Real Madrid's Champions League success last season, have restored the club's sense of pride.

Buffon is the last playing link with the past before the nightmare of the Calciopoli affair struck in 2006 and he in a way symbolised their battling spirit on Saturday.

The 37-year-old, back in the Olympic Stadium where Italy won the World Cup in 2006, made two important saves in the first 15 minutes and pulled off two blinding stops in the second half.

Buffon is one of the great keepers of this or any other era and was the first to console a tearful Pirlo at the end.

Although he was beaten by Ivan Rakitic's early opener, Buffon was the foundation for an excellent performance.

He wanted nothing more than to eradicate the memory of his previous Champions League final experience – a loss to AC Milan in 2003 – with a victory but he was philosophical afterwards.

Buffon has six Serie A titles in his locker and told Sky Italia: "This is one of the disappointments sport gives you, but before that we shared many great moments of joy with our fans.

"It was a shame not to have the final to really finish off this journey, but at one point I really did believe."

Although this was their fourth straight Champions League final defeat since the second of their two titles in 1996, the fact they got there speaks volumes for their durability.

Barcelona were the deserved winners but beaten Juve's immediate prospects look far from being down and out.

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