MILAN (AP) — Five things to know about Juventus, the defending Italian champion:
Few would bet against Juventus making it a hat trick of Serie A titles after dominating Italian football during the past two seasons. Juventus looks an even more exciting prospect this season following the signings of forwards Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, and the team's 4-0 crushing of Lazio to win the Italian Supercup was a devastating sign of intent. Juventus managed to deal well with the added exertions of the Champions League last season before it was eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual winner Bayern Munich, and it will need to do so again this year as its hunger to win Europe's most prestigious competition grows.
Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager at the time, was furious at Paul Pogba for leaving the club to join Juventus last year. The reasons for his anger became apparent during the season as Pogba emerged as one of the brightest prospects in world football. The young Frenchman followed up his impressive club campaign by captaining France to Under-20 World Cup victory during the offseason. Pogba shows no sign of letting up. He was brought on for the injured Claudio Marchisio during the Italian Supercup and took just 2 minutes, 35 seconds to break the deadlock.
Antonio Conte took over the reins at Juventus in 2011 and immediately steered it to two successive league titles. The 44-year-old coach is swiftly earning a reputation as one of Europe's top tacticians. Conte is known for his humility — he is always quick to give all of the credit to his players — and his intense hunger for victory has been transmitted to his players, along with a winning mentality. Carlos Tevez recently compared Conte to the great former Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson.