EXCLUSIVE: The former Juve player and coach insists that the Old Lady will be a worry for the top teams in Europe if they overcome Monaco on Tuesday
Juventus legend Dino Zoff has told Goal that the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich will all fear his old club as they prepare to face Monaco in the last eight of the Champions League.
The Old Lady go into Tuesday’s quarter-final first leg as favourites to progress, despite suffering a surprise defeat at Parma on Saturday with a weakened line-up.
And Zoff, who kept goal for the Bianconeri for 11 years before later returning as coach, believes they are not only “70 per cent” likely to go through against Leonardo Jardim’s side but they also carry a threat that will worry Europe’s big guns.
“Juventus are ruling in Italy and doing well in Europe, but Monaco will be tough opponents given how great they are in defence. They concede very few goals and know how to counter with speed and efficiency. Juventus will have to be careful,” Zoff explained.
“But Juve will be a tough opponent for anyone and I think top teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich will really fear Juventus.
“I think the lack of success over the years in the Champions League is just a matter of cycles, with things just not falling their way. This year, though, they have an excellent chance to go deep in Europe and dispel the myth.”
Zoff won the Uefa Cup with the club as both a player and a coach as well as lifting the World Cup as Italy captain in 1982, and he believes the Bianconeri’s come-from-behind Coppa Italia semi-final win over Fiorentina was proof of their quality this season.
“Juventus are going into the game against Monaco with the wind in their sails, with the win at Fiorentina last week being emblematic. This team play the same way even when their star players are missing, and that is the mark of a very good side,” he added.
“They have a 70 per cent chance of reaching the semi-finals, but the first game in Turin must be approached with humility as, if you take to the field thinking you have already won, that can be a big mistake.”
Unsurprisingly, the 73-year-old expects Carlos Tevez to have a big say in the clash with Monaco. The Argentine has netted 25 goals so far this season and will be fit to return to action after a thigh injury.
“I think Carlos Tevez is in exceptional form right now, and he can give this Juventus team a major boost just as he did against Dortmund. But Juve have so many prominent players despite the absences, and there’s also the positive of Andrea Pirlo returning.”
The first leg between the Bianconeri and Monaco at Juventus Stadium kicks off at 20:45 CET on Tuesday, with the return leg scheduled for April 21 at the Stade Louis II.