It has been one of the best title races in recent seasons in Serie A but, once again, Juventus have proved a cut above the rest.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side claimed their seventh Scudetto in a row with Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Roma, a result that ensures Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli can finish no higher than second, despite a 2-0 win over Sampdoria.
It means Juve have matched Lyon for the longest title-winning streak in Europe’s top five leagues, a run that began under Antonio Conte at the new Allianz Stadium in 2011-12 and has now resulted in a fourth triumph in succession with Allegri in charge.
Untouchable domestically, we have a look at how the record run of this Juve generation compares to some of Europe’s most prolific champions.
7 – Lyon 2001-02 to 2007-08
Back when Paris Saint-Germain’s cash-fuelled dominance of Ligue 1 belonged in their supporters’ wildest dreams, Lyon represented the gold standard in French football at the start of this century. Transformed under the leadership of outspoken owner Jean-Michel Aulas, Lyon won their first top-flight title in 2001-02 and followed it with seven more – a run unmatched in Europe’s top five leagues. It was one they managed across the tenures of four head coaches – Jacques Santini, Paul Le Guen, Gerard Houllier and Alain Perrin – and featuring luminaries such as Michael Essien, Florent Malouda, Sidney Govou, Juninho, Eric Abidal and Karim Benzema on the field.
6 – Bayern Munich 2012-13 to 2017-18
Bayern Munich’s 4-1 win at Augsburg on April 7 rubber-stamped a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title. Popular veteran Jupp Heynckes – whose side showed their class in a 6-0 drubbing of Borussia Dortmund last weekend – steered the Bavarian giants to the latest success of their streak, having masterminded the 2012-13 title triumph as part of a historic treble. Pep Guardiola then oversaw three out of three, although he was unable to replicate Heynckes’ European success – making Bayern the first side to win the Bundesliga on four consecutive occasions. Carlo Ancelotti steered a smooth route through 2016-17 before being relieved of his duties following an unconvincing start this time around, but Heynckes wasted little time in getting the ship back on course.
5 – Real Madrid 1960-61 to 1964-65
Madrid’s first truly great side was that of Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Francisco Gento, Raymond Kopa and the rest – their victories in the first five European Cups from 1955-56 to 1959-60 paving the way for a modern super club. Los Blancos did not have things entirely their own way domestically during that period, but a stranglehold was established during the first half of the 1960s. The so -called “Ye-Ye” generation, taking their nickname from the chorus line of the Beatles’ hit ‘She Loves You’, were not such a celebrated side, with defeats in the 1962 and 1964 European Cup finals to Benfica and Inter respectively tarnishing them in the eyes of some fans. Gento remained and, although they let LaLiga slip to Atletico in 1966, the veteran left-winger lifted Madrid’s sixth European Cup after a 2-1 win over Partizan Belgrade in Brussels that year. The legacy of the “Ye-Ye” team was secure.
5 – Real Madrid 1985-86 to 1989-90
Two decades on, Madrid hit upon another golden era. Quite apart from the Galacticos era to come, this 1980s title run was one founded on homegrown talent. At the heart of the team were a group of Madrid academy graduates dubbed “La Quinta del Buitre”, a moniker derived from the nickname of star forward Emilio “El Buitre” Butragueno. Manuel Sanchis, Rafael Martin Vazquez, Michel and Miguel Pardeza were also products of Madrid’s Castilla team and, although Vazquez reduced the core number by moving on, Butragueno and his colleagues remained to enjoy sustained success under the guidance of head coaches Luis Molowny, Leo Beenhakker and John Toshack. Butragueno’s 171 goals for Madrid puts him 10th on the club’s all-time list, while Sanchis and Michel sit third and ninth respectively in terms of the most prolific appearance makers.
5 – Inter 2005-06 to 2009-10
An undeniable asterisk lies next to Inter’s Serie A run during the first decade of this century, with the first of five consecutive Scudetti being awarded in the aftermath of the Calciopoli scandal. Inter actually finished third in 2005-06 but Juventus’s enforced relegation and Milan’s retrospective points penalty handed them a first top-flight crown for 17 years. Roberto Mancini and his squad made the most of the favourable hand they were dealt, retaining the title for the next two seasons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who jumped ship from the deposed Juve – to the fore. Mancini’s botched resignation after a Champions League exit to Liverpool in 2008 paved the way for his departure at the end of the campaign, with Jose Mourinho taking the reins. The phenomenal 2009-10 treble season, which was accomplished despite Ibrahimovic moving on to Barcelona, remains arguably Mourinho and Inter’s crowning achievement.
4 – Barcelona 1990-91 to 1993-94
Barcelona needed something special to end Real Madrid’s “La Quinta del Buitre” stranglehold and, boy, did they find it with Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team”. The Dutch master, a celebrated playing hero at Camp Nou, returned as coach in 1988 and won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in his first season while laying the foundations for one of the most celebrated and enduringly influential sides of all-time. Homegrown favourites such as Guardiola and Jose Mari Bakero rubbed shoulders with global stars like Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov to thrilling effect. A maiden European Cup – very much the holy grail for Barca given Madrid’s proud history in the competition – arrived when a Koeman free-kick saw off Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992, while Romario’s arrival to play alongside the combustible but brilliant Stoichkov in attack raised their game to new heights.
It could have all been so different, however. Astonishingly, Barca snatched LaLiga on the final day of the season on three consecutive occasions. Real Madrid imploded to lose 3-2 at Tenerife in 1992 when a win would have seen them crowned champions at Barcelona’s expense. Somewhat implausibly, they stumbled to a 2-0 loss against the same opponents 12 months later to bring about the same outcome, while Deportivo La Coruna’s Miroslav Djukic missed an injury-time penalty against Valencia in 1994 to prolong a particularly charmed run for Cruyff’s men.