I just finished the serie and a few aspects of the production and season jumped out at me. I believe all supporters of Juventus should take the time to watch this series. We all know how the story ends but does that should that stop us from wanting to see the journey unfold? Many of us watch movies based on books we have already read, so I struggle with supporters who say why should I watch this. The biggest draw is the drama. We all love it, its human nature. The intrigue of a rookie manager in Pirlo, the club navigating the pandemic, Ronaldo, and the end of their title reign should be good enough to get any supporter to watch this series.
It is obvious from the onset the narrative was to focus highlight the senior players while welcoming in newer players. Chiesa, Kulusevski and McKennie were singled out along with Chiellini, Bonucci and Buffon. One player who is barely even mentioned, who would be vice-captain if not injured most of the season is Paulo Dybala. I do not recall one instance where an interview with him is shown. I find this odd and will highlight later in this review that this compounded with a variety of other reasons shows to me the club is best to move on from him.
The series focus on younger players makes sense. With the team in transition and the older players in the twilight of their careers, this was always the path. What escapes me is that players that have been there for 4 years or more were barely mentioned or their interviews even shown. Cuadrado, Sandro, Bentancur to name a few. I found these to be somewhat bizarre and a missed opportunity as I believe it would have added contrast to the newer players coming in, as they have now been part of the team for a few years. The narrative that I took was that the younger players needed to learn the ways of Juventus. That may be true with the three new players, all being under 23 when they joined the club, but should not they be given some responsibility? By not including the players, I mention above makes the narrative just a little more confusing in my opinion. They also do not really touch on this narrative in the later episodes, Chiesa is barely interviewed, McKennie for a moment in the last episode and Kulu has a small piece after the Coppa final. Another younger player, in his 2nd season, is DeLigt and he’s barely mentioned and again not interviewed. First time you hear his voice is in episode 8, again for me makes the whole narrative so strange.
Early on in the series, Fabio Paratici asked about having multiple plans for the team. He responded you need Plan A through H, but when the team needed a striker, was the only option in the world Alvaro Morata? The line of questioning made me laugh; as it is clear during his reign, team building was not his focus. We look at the struggles last year and especially this season and have to place a piece of the blame solely on him as he took a very different approach to shaping the roster than Beppe Maratta did. Although he is one of my favorite all-time players, Pavel Nedved also gets some of the blame. I found it refreshing that Nedved wanted to kick ass after a match, which shows why he continues to kick signs since they will not allow him to kick the players.
The Champion’s league defeat for me solidified Ronaldo’s departure. You could see the pain and agony on his face after the match. This is not a piece on the Ronaldo tenure but one thing is clear for me, he’s a winner and wants to win at all costs. Another important loss highlighted, was the one to Benevento, which highlighted Bonnuci’s screaming, Ronaldo agreeing with everything he was saying but where was Dybala? Rarely shown in the series, I know he was hurt but at a pivotal moment, he is not even in the locker room? For me this clearly shows he does not have the leadership qualities to lead this team moving forward. His absent from the room and zero coverage of the suspension of him, McKennie and Arthur. Do not get me wrong, Dybala has world-class quality but has been injured for the better part of 2 seasons. He’s MIA during key leadership moments and his style of play doesn’t fit the modern game as he cannot press and he’s limited tactically. This series made me ask again why his contract is being renewed for 8.5 million Euros a year? If he’s going to be the future wouldn’t you want part of this series to display that? His thoughts on the year, leadership style, and struggling with injuries. Instead, we had nothing.
The Pirlo-Buffon lunch was telling as well, highlighting the difference in their generation compared to the players today. They contended for them it was just training and playing but criticized younger players, obsessing about likes and followers on social media platforms. I am curious if that was a specific criticism of specific players like Kulu or even Dybala or more of a general observation?
I knew how the story ended but after watching All or Nothing it left me with nothing I didn’t already know. The production was very good, Pirlo was not quiet in the locker room like some may have thought, and his challenging Chiesa during halftime of the Coppa final is probably the biggest highlight for me. Buffon is the greatest keeper of all time and should have played more. We didn’t get him calling Mckennie Big Mac on camera, which I was looking forward to seeing. After seeing how half this season has already unfolded makes you wonder why Pirlo wasn’t given another year.
Regardless of its shortcomings, Juventini should take the time to watch this series, even if it leaves them with nothing more than mixed emotions.