Rome - Club legends Alessandro Del Piero and Dino Zoff
hailed Juventus after the Turin giants' record-equalling fifth consecutive
Serie A title on Monday, although former Napoli legend Diego Maradona was not
Juventus, emulating their feat of 1935 when the Turin giants
won a fifth straight title for the first time, went 12 points clear of Napoli
with a 2-1 win at Fiorentina on Sunday.
Napoli had to beat Roma on Monday to maintain their slim
hopes of snatching a first scudetto since 1990 when Maradona was still in his
pomp at the San Paolo.
But Maurizio Sarri's men were stunned when Radja Nainggolan
hit an 89th-minute winner for Roma in the capital to hand the title to the Old
Lady of Turin.
Del Piero, who still holds records for the biggest number of
goals (290) and appearances (705) for the club, posted a message on Twitter
which read: "You are part of history. This is Juventus. Well done
The claim that Juventus benefit from favourable refereeing
decisions still exists in Italy, and their 2-1 win in Florence did little to
Referee Paolo Tagliavento ruled out a perfectly valid goal
from Fiorentina striker Federico Bernardeschi, prompting an outburst from
Maradona on Monday.
"Fiorentina's goal... was a scandal, a scandal,"
the Argentine told the In Casa Napoli programme.
"I was watching on television and the Fiorentina goal
was cancelled because they were playing against Juventus.
"Juventus have great players in the Italian (football)
federation and in the refereeing body, but this is nothing new."
Nevertheless, Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon required
no help when he made a last-gasp penalty save from Croatian Nikola Kalinic.
Also read: Allegri reaching for remote as Juve sight scudetto
It capped a sterling season for the 38-year-old
shot-stopper, who throughout an incredible career has experienced the lows of
relegation to Serie B due to Juve's role in a vast match-fixing affair as well
as the highs of being part of Italy's most successful club on the domestic
Last month Buffon set a new Serie A record for going
unbeaten 974 consecutive minutes, surpassing the previous record of 929 minutes
held by former AC Milan keeper Sebastiano Rossi.
- 'Even more proud' -
"He's had a great season," said former Italy and
Juventus legend Zoff.
"Even though we've come to expect that from him, he
(Buffon) had a crazy championship. Even yesterday he saved the team with a
great penalty save."
Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri, who was rumoured to be
close to the exit door last autumn following a disastrous start to their title
defence, underlined the champions' impressive comeback.
"I always say that you can only improve by enduring the
hard times. Looking at our season, it makes me even more proud," said
Allegri, who steered Juventus to their first league and Cup double in 20 years
in his first season in charge last year, as well as a first Champions League
final appearance in 12 years.
"Serie A isn't the final of the 100 metres, but a
marathon. You need patience to find the right rhythm."
Defender Leonardo Bonucci, who was seen soaking fans with
champagne as they waited at the gates of the club's Vinovo training ground,
told Sky Sport: "They had us dead and buried in October, but Juve never
Napoli travelled to Roma on Monday -- a national holiday in
Italy -- primarily looking for the win that would keep their third-placed hosts
But in spite of Gonzalo Higuain returning from a three-match
ban, the 30-goal Argentine striker was thwarted three times by Roma keeper
Wojciech Szczesny as the hosts snatched a precious win in the penultimate
minute of regulation time.
Despite his claims of bias, Maradona admitted Juve's quality
had made a significant difference.
"When Sarri looks at his substitutes' bench, he just
didn't have the same quality of players as Allegri. That made the difference.
"Even if Napoli played better football, you have to tip
your hat. Juve have a great coach, a great squad, and the club knows how to go
about their business."For
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