Bonucci plays down Juve treble talk

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci insists the champions' feet are firmly on the ground despite a growing belief among fans the Turin giants can realistically aim for a treble of trophies this season.

Bonucci plays down Juve treble talk
Leonardo Bonucci said players had to keep their feet on the ground. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Juventus travel to crisis-hit Parma on Saturday expected extend their 14-lead over one-time title challengers Roma, whose bid to increase their one-point cushion on Lazio will face the test of a determined Torino.

A fourth consecutive Serie A title is virtually in the bag for Massimiliano Allegri's men, but while Juve are also in contention for a first Italian Cup in 20 years as well as the Champions League, Bonucci said nothing is won yet.

"Dreaming doesn't cost a thing, but by the same token we have to keep our feet on the ground," Bonucci told Rai Sport.

"We're in a really positive period but we can't afford to think about what we've achieved or which position we're. We have to just keep on winning and building our morale."

While Allegri's men beat Fiorentina in midweek to book an Italian Cup final against Lazio and host Champions League quarter-final rivals Monaco in the first leg on Tuesday, the nightmare is far from over at the former two-time UEFA Cup champions.

Parma, rooted to the bottom of the table for most of this season, are lucky to even be playing having been declared bankrupt last month.

READ MORE: Parma football club declared bankrupt

Juve won't show any pity at the Enrico Tardini stadium on Saturday, added Bonucci: "Winning on Saturday is crucial for us so we don't give any hope to the teams behind us, as well us give us a boost for the Champions League."

But Parma's confidence is comparatively high after Roberto Donadoni's men beat Udinese 1-0 on Wednesday in a match initially postponed two months ago because they could not afford to turn on the electricity in the stadium.

Parma midfielder Francesco Lodi insisted: "Who comes to the Tardini (stadium) should know they're not just facing a team, they're facing a whole city.

"The Bianconeri will be up against a Parma side that will fight for every ball."

Roma are now looking behind them and with Lazio only a point adrift Rudi Garcia's men are under pressure ahead of tricky trip away to Torino.

Roma will be without influential midfielder Daniele De Rossi and possibly Ashley Cole as they bid for their third win on the trot.

De Rossi has been diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his back while defender Cole is available but will have to wear a brace for three to four weeks after suffering a fracture to the metacarpal bone in his right hand.

Attacking midfielder Leandro Paredes said he had no explanation to Roma's poor run of late, but told Radio Roma: "But now we know that we have to continue riding the wave of what we've done in the last few matches and carry on winning to hold onto second place in the league."

Anything less than a win at Torino's Olympic Stadium could see Lazio move up to second place if they account for Empoli in the capital on Sunday.

Only two points separate Fiorentina (49), Sampdoria (48) and Napoli (47) and all three teams have crucial fixtures this weekend as they continue their respective bids for a place in Europe.

Napoli notably host Fiorentina looking to make amends for their Cup exit in midweek, which brought an angry response from club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

"I've invested €386 million in the squad in recent years, I have a right to see some kind of return," De Laurentiis told Sportitalia.

Elsewhere, Milan host Sampdoria in Sunday's late game with embattled coach Filippo Inzaghi looking to make it three wins consecutively for the first time this season.

"I am happy with the past two wins, above all for the lads, but Sampdoria will be a very tough and important test this weekend," admitted Inzaghi.

City rivals Inter, three points further adrift in tenth place, are away to Verona on Saturday.

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Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players’ ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome

Italy’s national football team reportedly insisted on taking an open-top bus tour through Rome to show off their European Championship trophy to crowds of fans - despite city authorities forbidding it amid concern about the spread of coronavirus.

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players' ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The team’s bus parade through the city on Monday night following their Euro 2020 triumph “was not authorised”, according to Matteo Piantedosi the head of Rome’s prefettura (the public safety authority).

Thousands of fans packed the streets of central Rome to see the team celebrate their cup win after beating England on penalties in the final.

READ ALSO: ‘Football came home’: Italy celebrates Euro 2020 victory over England

Piantedosi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday: “We had denied permission to celebrate Italy’s victory in the European Championships on the open bus, but the pact was not respected.”

Piantedosi, who is Rome’s top public security official, said police had “no choice” but to let the parade go ahead after players Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci insisted on it.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

A meeting had been held on Friday with the Italian football federation (FIGC) to discuss plans for the celebrations if Italy won, said Piantedosi.

“I had agreed the line with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Chief of Police Lamberto Giannini,” he said.

“It was clearly explained that [the parade] was not possible. We said we could not authorize it.”

Piantedosi said the Italian football federation (FIGC) initially agreed to hold a “controlled” ceremony in Rome’s central Piazza del Popolo instead of the parade.

After players insisted on the bus tour on Monday however, Piantedosi said, authorities reluctantly let them go ahead due to fears of sparking public disorder.

“At that point we had no choice but to acknowledge the situation and handle it in the best way we could,” he said.

READ ALSO: Covid cases on the rise in Europe once again as WHO warns of Euro 2020 risk

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

In a statement on Wednesday, the FIGC said it had acted responsibly but decided not to disappoint fans who had come to celebrate with the team.

Footage of large crowds thronging the bus carrying the ‘Azzurri’ and the European Championship trophy through the capital however fuelled concerns about new outbreaks of coronavirus, after Italy’s infection rate began to rise again last week.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this month that crowds and gatherings connected to football matches will fuel a new rise in cases across Europe this summer.

READ ALSO: Delta variant in Italy will be ‘prevalent within 10 days’: health official

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza also voiced concerns on Monday about the consequences of people gathering to watch sporting events.

He said the European football championship win was “a great joy after terrible months,” but “even in these moments of national pride we can’t forget that our ‘game’ to defeat Covid is not yet won.”

There are currently minimal health restrictions in place across Italy, however masks are supposed to be worn in crowded public places, including outdoors.

“Footage shows that police were virtually the only ones [in the crowd] wearing masks,” said Piantedosi.