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Juve won't go crazy against Udinese, says Allegri

Juventus boss Massimo Allegri is one of the names linked with the manager's job at Real Madrid.
Juventus boss Massimo Allegri is one of the names linked with the manager's job at Real Madrid. Reuters/Dylan Martinez

Juventus boss Massimo Allegri on Friday refused to minimise the importance of Serie A ahead of his side's second leg clash in the last 16 of the Uefa Champions League on Tuesday.

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The temptation to discount their 27th top flight fixture of the season against Udinese rose after Allegri's men effectively wrapped up their eighth consecutive title last Sunday when they won 2-1 at second placed Napoli.

The triumph put them 16 points ahead of Carlo Ancelotti's side with 12 games remaining.

Only the mamma mia of all meltdowns would prevent Juventus from lifting their 35th top flight crown.

"We have to win against Udinese to prepare for the match on Tuesday, regardless of the advantage that we have in the league," Allegri said. "We still need six victories to win the title."

While they are the undisputed maestros in Serie A, Juventus have been unable to impose that ascendance onto the European stage.

Lack

The Turin outfit has not won continental club football's most prestigious club trophy since 1996.

Twice runners-up in the past five years, Juventus are in danger of elimination well before the final after Atletico Madrid beat them 2-0 in the last 16 first leg on 20 February.

Tuesday night in Turin will be a watershed moment for Allegri and his star forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Allegri's allure has risen with the domestic triumphs and the runs to the Champions League finals in 2015 and 2017.

With last summer's 100 million euro acquisition of Ronaldo from Real Madrid, Juventus were promoted as one of the contenders for the 2019 crown. The investment appears to have only assured them of the domestic title.

"The defeat in Madrid has left us with motivation that has helped us over the past two weeks," Allegri added. "We will be ready on Tuesday and we will have a great game."

Redemption

The second leg will also be a chance for Ronaldo to vindicate the massive transfer fee.

The Portuguese was the top scorer in the Champions League for the last six seasons but the 34-year-old has scored only once in this year's competition - way behind the likes of Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

Ronaldo hasn't been exactly prolific in Serie A either. He has failed to hit the taget in his last two league games since the Madrid defeat.

And Allegri's side won't have the joy of easy pickings. Though they are 47 points behind the pacesetters, Udinese arrive at the Allianz Stadium keen to maintain their surge away from the drop zone.

Following victories over Chievo and Bologna, they have moved up to 15th with seven points separating them from the first of the three relegation places.

"Noone has managed to beat Juventus in the League this season," said Udinese coach Davide Nicola. "Winning there would be a dream."
 

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