Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri takes part in a training session on the eve of their Uefa Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid on May 4, 2015 near Turin. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri takes part in a training session on the eve of their Uefa Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid on May 4, 2015 near Turin. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO

Juventus are back on the radar for Emirati football fans with Champions League run

Welcome back Juventus, we have missed you.

For those of us of a certain age, the recent resurgence in the Uefa Champions League of a giant of European football has brought back happy memories.

Your football education in Abu Dhabi in the late 1970s and early ’80s meant supporting Liverpool, Manchester United and, for the brave few, Arsenal.

Then about 30 years ago, across the Middle East, Serie A became the first top European league to be broadcast live into our homes.

After Italy’s World Cup triumph in 1982, Juventus held the promise of something exotic, something different. They were the Harlem Globetrotters of European football, a team of Galacticos 20 years before the word was even invented.


Showstoppers: One last great clash for Gianluigi Buffon and Iker Casillas in Juventus v Real Madrid

Domestically, Juventus have been unstoppable for the past few years, securing their fourth consecutive Serie A title on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Sampdoria. Their record of 31 league titles is 13 more than that of their closest challengers AC Milan.

Yet since losing the 2003 Champions League final to Milan, they have all but disappeared as a European force.

Few would have predicted that 20 years ago, when Juventus reached three consecutive Champions League finals from 1996-98.

Dino Zoff, Claudio Gentile, Gaetano Scirea, Antonio Cabrini, Marco Tardelli and Paolo Rossi, all World Cup winners with Italy, as well as France’s Michel Platini and Poland’s Zbigniew Boniek, arguably their countries’ greatest players, became household names here. All started the 1982/83 European Cup final against Hamburg.

On May 25, 1983, we tuned in for a coronation but the European kings-elect did not show up, Hamburg winning 1-0.

Two years later, Juventus earned another chance to win Europe’s premier club competition for the first time.

The 1985 European Cup final should have been the greatest day in Juventus’s history, instead it turned into the worst, their 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels forever marked with the most tragic of asterisks.

In the years after that day when 39 fans perished and 600 were injured, the club drifted. By the time Juventus began to recover in the early ’90s, Italian football, and many fans here, had moved on.

But a saviour was soon to emerge in Roberto Baggio. For the first time since Platini, Juventus could claim to have the best player in the world.

Baggio was unstoppable in 1992/93, leading Juventus to a Uefa Cup triumph and claiming both the European and Fifa world-player-of-the-year awards.

Yet by the time the club was back, in the new Champions League format, in 1995/96, Marcelo Lippi had replaced Baggio with the brilliant Alessandro del Piero.

Vindication came in what the club’s fans see as their “first real” European Cup win in front of what amounted to a home crowd at Rome’s Stadio Olympico. There was hardly a dry eye as Juventus finally laid the ghost of Heysel to rest by beating Ajax on penalties in the 1996 final.

Once again the world looked theirs for the taking. Once again, Juventus dodged glory.

The club became the first to reach three finals in the Champions League era but a 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in Munich (1997) and a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid at Amsterdam (1998), means they remain the only club in the competition’s 59-year history to lose two consecutive finals.

The club’s capacity to self-destruct was evident again when a 3-2 loss to a Roy Keane-inspired Manchester United confirmed a 1999 Champions League semi-final exit when a fourth successive final looked in sight.

Since 2003, Juve have tried to re-establish their place in the Champions League, with little success.

There is hope again now and should Massimiliano Allegri’s team overcome the competition’s most successful club, Real Madrid, Juventus fans can, for the first time in a generation, dream again of ruling Europe.



The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 646hp
Torque: 830Nm
Transmission: Two-speed auto (rear axle); single-speed auto (front)
Price: From Dh552,311; Dh660,408 (as tested)
On sale: now


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

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Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The years Ramadan fell in May





Company Profile

Name: Raha
Started: 2022
Based: Kuwait/Saudi
Industry: Tech Logistics
Funding: $14 million
Investors: Soor Capital, eWTP Arabia Capital, Aujan Enterprises, Nox Management, Cedar Mundi Ventures
Number of employees: 166


Championship play-offs, second legs:

Aston Villa 0
Middlesbrough 0

(Aston Villa advance 1-0 on aggregate)

Fulham 2
Sessegnon (47'), Odoi (66')

Derby County 0

(Fulham advance 2-1 on aggregate)


Saturday, May 26, Wembley. Kick off 8pm (UAE) 


Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Abu Dhabi GP starting grid

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

3 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

4 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

5 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

6 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

7 Romain Grosjean (Haas)

8 Charles Leclerc (Sauber)

9 Esteban Ocon (Force India)

10 Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)

11 Carlos Sainz (Renault)

12 Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)

13 Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

14 Sergio Perez (Force India)

15 Fernando Alonso (McLaren)

16 Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso)

17 Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)

18 Stoffe Vandoorne (McLaren)

19 Sergey Sirotkin (Williams)

20 Lance Stroll (Williams)

Super Mario Bros Wonder

Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Switch
Rating: 4/5

Getting there

Etihad Airways flies daily to the Maldives from Abu Dhabi. The journey takes four hours and return fares start from Dh3,995. Opt for the 3am flight and you’ll land at 6am, giving you the entire day to adjust to island time.  

Round trip speedboat transfers to the resort are bookable via Anantara and cost $265 per person.  


Azerbaijan 0

Wales 2 (Moore 10', Wilson 34')

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

McIlroy's struggles in 2016/17

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PGA Tour: 8 events, 26 rounds, 6 cuts, 0 wins, 4 top-10s, 5 top-25s, 526 points, ranked 71st


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5


Barcelona 2
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Real Madrid 2
Ronaldo (14'), Bale (72')

The Way It Was: My Life with Frank Sinatra by Eliot Weisman and Jennifer Valoppi
Hachette Books


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8.55pm: Tiger Nation
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Keane on …

Liverpool’s Uefa Champions League bid: “They’re great. With the attacking force they have, for me, they’re certainly one of the favourites. You look at the teams left in it - they’re capable of scoring against anybody at any given time. Defensively they’ve been good, so I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t go on and win it.”

Mohamed Salah’s debut campaign at Anfield: “Unbelievable. He’s been phenomenal. You can name the front three, but for him on a personal level, he’s been unreal. He’s been great to watch and hopefully he can continue now until the end of the season - which I’m sure he will, because he’s been in fine form. He’s been incredible this season.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s instant impact at former club LA Galaxy: “Brilliant. It’s been a great start for him and for the club. They were crying out for another big name there. They were lacking that, for the prestige of LA Galaxy. And now they have one of the finest stars. I hope they can go win something this year.”


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