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Where are they now? The Juventus team that somehow lost the 1997 Champions League final

The then-Serie A champions were surely one of the best teams to ever finish runners-up in Europe’s premier competition.

The Juventus team pose for a photo prior to the 1997 Champions League final.
The Juventus team pose for a photo prior to the 1997 Champions League final.

JUVENTUS’ CHAMPIONS LEAGUE clash with Dortmund tomorrow has inevitably invoked memories of the 1997 final of the competition in which the two sides met previously.

The Italian team were most people’s favourites going into the game, and when you look at the two teams’ lineups, it’s easy to see why.

Dortmund possessed a number of good but hardly great players such as Paul Lambert, Paolo Sousa (who had been discarded by Juve the previous season) and striker Karl-Heinz Riedle, who would go on to have a disappointing spell at Liverpool, scoring just 11 goals in 60 appearances.

By contrast, Juventus boasted a number of world-class stars who are still remembered fondly today. Their starting XI featured 40% of the five-man midfield that would help inspire France to World Cup glory just a year later (Zinedine Zidane and Didier Deschamps), Ciro Ferrara — considered one of the best Italian centre-backs of his generation — and Christian Vieri, who would go on to become the world’s most expensive player. Alessandro Del Piero, who would subsequently establish himself as a club legend, was only deemed worthy of a place on the bench.

So how did the underdogs, Dortmund, prevail? There was undoubtedly an element of luck — the Italians were denied two clear penalties and seemingly had a perfectly good goal disallowed, while their defence committed a number of sloppy, uncharacteristic errors.

Other than that, it appears to be the case of Dortmund rising to the occasion and beating the conceivably better team (on paper, at least). In a manner akin to Liverpool in 2005 and Chelsea in 2012, their lack of domestic success (they finished well behind Bayern Munich in third that year) may have allowed them to concentrate more intensively on Europe, whereas Juve ended up winning Serie A by a marginal two points.

Anyway, with a re-match in the same competition coming up this week, we decided to look back at that great Juventus side that somehow managed to lose and see where their players are now…

Source: Футбол и Gol/YouTube

Goalkeeper: Angelo Peruzzi – After over 200 appearances for Juve, Peruzzi would go on to enjoy stints at Inter and Lazio. He earned 31 caps for Italy and would surely have had far more were it not for the emergence of the now-legendary Gianluigi Buffon. He retired in 2007 and subsequently went on to work as an assistant coach for both Italy and Sampdoria.

Right-back: Sergio Porrini – One of the less high-profile members of the Italian side, Porrini would join Rangers the following season, making over 100 appearances for the Scottish club, before finishing his career with a number of lower-level Italian teams. He is now the manager of Serie D side Pontisola.

Centre-back: Ciro Ferrara – A club legend, Ferrara made over 250 appearances for Juve before retiring in 2005. He has since gone on to manage the Turin-based club, in addition to stints in charge of Sampdoria and Italy U21s.

Centre-back: Paolo Montero – Another highly-rated centre-back, Montero finally left Juve after a successful period with the club in 2005, playing for first San Lorenzo and then Peñarol, who he subsequently went on to manage.

Left-back: Mark Iuliano – Equally comfortable at both centre-half and full-back, Iuliano was another Juve stalwart who eventually left the club in 2004, with short stints at Real Mallorca, Sampdoria, Messina and Ravenna following. He now manages Serie B side Latina.

Holding midfielder: Didier Deschamps – In addition to winning the World Cup as captain of France, Deschamps left Juve in 1999 and had brief spells at Chelsea and Valencia before retiring. He has since gone on to have a relatively successful career in management, and currently coaches France.

Right Central midfielder: Angelo Di Livio - One of the more underrated players in the side, Di Livio was far from the most talented footballer at Juve, but he could match anyone in terms of work-rate. He left the club in 1999 and then enjoyed a successful stint at Fiorentina, remaining loyal to the club, even after their relegation to Serie C2 when they went bankrupt. He is currently a youth coach at Roma.

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Source: Футбол и Gol/YouTube

Left central midfielder: Vladimir Jugovic – Joined Lazio following the Champions League failure, and subsequently played for a number of other clubs, including Inter, Atletico Madrid and Monaco. Regarded as one of the best Serbian players ever, having won the European Cup twice with both Juve and Red Star Belgrade, he is also one of the few players from the 97 finalists’ squad who no longer works in football.

Attacking midfielder: Zinedine Zidane – Zidane would join Real Madrid in 2001 and go on to become widely regarded as one of the best footballers of all time. He is now a coach at Madrid.

Striker: Alen Boksic – The least celebrated of Juve’s three main strikers that season, Boksic is nonetheless thought of as one of the best Croatian players ever. He later became a cult favourite at Middlesbrough, before injury problems prompted his retirement. He recently had a spell as Croatia assistant boss. He was so influential and highly thought of that legendary Croatia coach Miroslav Blazevic reckons only his injury prevented the national side from winning the 1998 World Cup.

Striker: Christian Vieri – Joined Atletico Madrid the following season, and also played for Lazio, before having arguably the best spell of his career at Inter, scoring 103 goals in 143 appearances. Injury problems and loss of form meant he was never the same player thereafter. He currently runs a fashion label with the help of ex-teammate Paolo Maldini.

Sub: Alessio Tacchinardi – Another player that would enjoy a prolonged spell with Juve, eventually leaving in 2007 to join Brescia, before retiring the following season. He is now a coach and frequent pundit on all matters Juve-related.

Sub: Alessandro Del Piero - A youngster in 1997, Del Piero would ultimately consolidate his status as a Juventus legend with over 200 goals. He is the only member of the 97 side who still plays — with Delhi Dynamos in India.

Sub: Nicola Amoruso – Never quite good enough to reach the heights of other players in this team, Amoruso ultimately became a bit of a journeyman striker, playing for countless clubs. He enjoyed undoubtedly the best spell of his career during a three-year stint at Reggiana and only retired in 2011. He is currently a sporting director at Palermo.

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Paul Fennessy

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