Juve's return to dark ages deserves to fail

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The last decade was dominated by Calciopoli and as a new decade starts, a central figure of the match-fixing scandal is back in the game.

Along with “Lucky” Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo, Roberto Bettega was part of the all-powerful, all-scheming triad that held sway over Italian football for many years.

Bettega may have been cleared of being a naughty boy, but the old silver fox will forever be associated with the grubby side of the game.

Juve sneaked the slippery customer in through the back door when the whole of the country was still digesting Christmas lunch, and his irony-free statement that the “true” Juventus would soon return has sent a icy chill down the spines of all football followers.

The “true” Juventus? So much for turning over a new leaf by ushering in a new clean-cut organisation.

(L to R) Bettega, Moggi and Giraudo, cornered in a lift

There have been reports that Bettega has already apparently been on the phone to Uzbekistan to check on Luiz Felipe Scolari’s availability.

If that drew a blank then there is always that other rent-a-coach Guus Hiddink, who may even be holed up in Turin at this very moment – and deepening the intrigue is the case of reported transfer target Rafinha going AWOL from Schalke at the turn of the new year.

Poor old Ciro Ferrara has already had his confidence shot to pieces even before a dismal year ended with a home defeat to bottom side Catania.

The dreaded vote of confidence from the suave Jean-Claude Blanc, who has been paving the way for Bettega’s return since the start of the season, will have done little to calm Ciro, who looks like the proverbial 'dead man walking'.

It should be a short walk as well.

With defeat at Parma on Wednesday bringing the axe down on the loyal club servant’s time at the top table, word has it he will probably be offered a role back with the youth set-up.

However, it's thought that he will choose to leave the club altogether, instead returning to Marcello Lippi’s Italy set-up for the World Cup.

So not all bad then for Ciro, but even with Bettega back and apparently already attempting to pull the strings, the world has moved on and the Old Lady will not be receiving any favours in 2010.

Back in third place and now nine points off Inter, the Bianconeri may be less concerned with catching the champions than holding off the chasing pack; there are certainly enough sides beginning to run into form.

Heading the pursuers are AS Roma – who of course just happen to be under the tutelage of Claudio Ranieri, unceremoniously dumped last season by Blanc and his cohorts.

The likes of Napoli, Fiorentina, Palermo and even Genoa also now look well-equipped to mount a challenge – and here's hoping so, because Juve’s decision to delve into their murky past does not deserve to succeed.

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