With Serie A on its traditional winter break, the players are taking some much-needed time off. There are no matches scheduled until January 7, meaning the Juventus squad have all headed home, enjoying the chance to visit families before returning to action in the new year.
Before that they were in Qatar on Friday, losing to AC Milan on penalties in the Supercoppa Italiana. As that game approached, Massimiliano Allegri was clearly aware of the difficulty in retaining focus over this period, as the Juve boss explained to reporters at his pre-match press conference:
Our preparations are going well, even if it should be noted that it’s never easy going into the final match before the Christmas break.
That’s also the case for the first game back after the festive period, which this time around is against Bologna on 8 January. Along with the first match of the season, these three fixtures are the hardest and we’ll need to work that bit more to make sure we’re in the right state of mind for tomorrow night.
With that in mind, what follows is a look at four things Allegri and Juventus supporters will hope to see in 2017, breaking down four Christmas wishes for the grand Old Lady of Italian football.
Gigi Buffon’s Continued Good Health
The Supercoppa Italiana marked Gigi Buffon’s 600th Juventus appearance, an achievement which stands as testimony to the longevity and durability of the Bianconeri skipper.
Indeed, since making his debut for Parma back in 1995, the 38-year-old has made at least 25 appearances every year except one.
That came in the 2010/11 campaign when he was blighted by back problems, but he has since been in great physical and mental shape, as he explained to the media in Doha last week.
Buffon has played 599 competitive games for #Juve since moving from Parma and will reach the 600 milestone in the Supercoppa Italiana. pic.twitter.com/U9TCaW6pJX
— Zul’Qarnain. (@ZulQarnain__) December 22, 2016
“I’m glad someone is counting for me,” Buffon said when asked about his latest impressive milestone at a press conference. “I’m definitely happy, I don’t think it’ll be my last and it won’t be my last.”
It is with that in mind that the first hope for Juventus is the continued good health of their captain, with Buffon’s presence in goal continuing to be hugely important to the club’s hopes of success.
He has conceded 13 goals in 15 Serie A outings, adding four clean sheets to the three he collected in Europe. He was beaten just twice in five Champions League appearances as both Sevilla and Olympique Lyonnais scored past the Italy captain.
An Argentinian Tango
So far this season, both Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala …