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Allegri warns of Champions League ‘obsession’ before Atletico showdown


Milan (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has warned against the Champions League becoming an obsession as his team desperately look to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 second leg in Turin on Tuesday.

Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo last summer for 100 million euros ($112 million) from Real Madrid in a bid to lift the trophy for the first time since 1996.

But the 34-year-old Portuguese superstar has scored just one goal in this year’s competition.

“I think expectations have been raised far too much and it has become an obsession,” Allegri said of the elite European tournament.

“Playing in a game like the one on Tuesday should be a pleasure and a joy. If Juventus go out, it won’t be a failure.

“Since I arrived, the Champions League has always been an objective, but if people say that it’s a failure if Juventus go out, that is not right.”

“I find that laughable. If we go through, fine, but if not then it’s just a football match and we’ll try again. We’ve in theory already won two trophies this season. That is not a failure.

“We’re heading for an eighth consecutive Scudetto and won the Italian Super Cup.”

Allegri’s side have lost two European finals in the past four seasons against Barcelona (3-1) in 2015 and Real Madrid (4-1) in 2017.

“Bayern Munich took 10 years to win the Champions League, while Chelsea only won it when they didn’t deserve to (in 2012), as they were pinned back for most of that final,” continued the Juventus coach.

“In my time, we always at least reached the last 16, got to the final twice and were eliminated only by the eventual winners.

“It’s a different tournament to the others, as if a ball bounces badly, you don’t have time to recover, you’re already out.”

“The overall level in the Champions League has increased and on Tuesday we’ll do our best. If we go through, then that’s great, if not then we’ll try again next year.

“I am very confident for Tuesday.”

Allegri, 51, said he would like to continue with the Turin club beyond the summer.

“I left after four years at AC Milan, this is my fifth year at Juventus and I hope to continue. We’ll see. The important thing is the work we did.”

Moise Kean scored a brace as Juventus warmed up for next week’s game against Atletico by easing past lowly Udinese 4-1 to up open a 19-point lead at the top of Serie A on Friday.

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