The reaction to Juventus’ 4-0 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in its UEFA Champions League quarterfinal series was almost unanimous: Juve was beaten by a better team that is probably the strongest in Europe at the moment. Both head coach Antonio Conte and captain Gianluigi Buffon were frank in their assessment of Juve’s shortcomings when compared to the German champion.
“I think that the best team went through, which they proved in both legs,” Conte said after Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at the Juventus Stadium in Turin. “They are all very physical, work very hard and do so with quality. It is inevitable when facing a side with the quality of[Arjen] Robben, [Franck] Ribery, [Mario] Mandzukic or [Thomas] Muller, they do not feel panicked under pressing and do not give the ball away. They welcome double-marking, as they can go past two in one go.” He added: “In soccer you have to be honest and tip your hat when you find stronger teams. They were created to win, so I don’t think it’s absurd to say this is the best Bayern team of all time.”
Goalkeeper Buffon admitted that Juve is not ready to be part of Europe’s soccer elite. “If we had regrets after the first leg [which Bayern also won 2-0] at not playing our best game, me especially, we were curious to see what the real difference was between us and the elite of European soccer. In all honesty, they have something more,” the 35-year-old said.
“If the target is Bayern Munich, then I don’t know what we need to reach them, as they have everything it takes to win this tournament, he added. “They have great technique, physicality, quick thinking, experience and have been together for a long time. All these qualities mean they deserved to win, but I will candidly admit I didn’t expect them to be this good. We were concerned, but I was convinced we could play on a par with anyone in the quarterfinal draw. Unfortunately, that was not the case, as they showed they were superior.”