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Tuesday 26 September 2017

Allegri: Juventus must earn title

Juve’s Massimiliano Allegri
Juve’s Massimiliano Allegri

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri dismissed any ideas the club should expect to win the Champions League.

The Bianconeri start their Group D campaign at Barcelona's Nou Camp tonight having lost last season's final in Wales.

Real Madrid won 4-1 in Cardiff to condemn Juve to their second showpiece defeat in three seasons, as the Italians also went down to Barca in 2015.

It is Juve's 18th appearance in the Champions League, a new record for an Italian side ahead of AC Milan with 17, but they have not won the competition since 1996.

Yet, having come so close in recent years, Allegri believes they cannot just expect to end their drought. "The last three years have been fantastic, we reached two Champions League finals," he said.

"The first was rather unexpected, while for the second, we had greater hopes of really winning it.

"We didn't succeed but we still consider it a success because not everyone can play in a Champions League final.

"Winning the Champions League can't be an objective, it's a dream. And to accomplish that dream, you have to work hard for so many years and, above all, develop a certain kind of mental approach."

Juventus are without the injured Giorgio Chiellini, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio, Benedikt Howedes, Mario Mandzukic and the banned Juan Cuadrado.

Barca were beaten by Juve in last season's quarter-finals and Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde anticipates an "intense" encounter. "I'm expecting an intense and important game between two top sides and with a precious result at stake."

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