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Nedved: Juventus still the team to beat after strong transfer window

Parma face a tough opening match having only just survived last season.

Adrien Rabiot could make his debut for Juventus as they face Parma (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Adrien Rabiot could make his debut for Juventus as they face Parma (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

Juventus vice-chairman Pavel Nedved is confident the Bianconeri will remain the dominant force in Serie A despite strong summer squad-building from their rivals.

The new campaign gets under way this weekend as Parma host eight-in-a-row Italian champions Juve at the Ennio Tardini on Saturday.

The Old Lady could hand debuts to new defensive signings Matthijs De Ligt and Danilo, acquired from Ajax and Manchester City respectively, as well as midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who joined from Paris St Germain. Aaron Ramsey, acquired on a free transfer from Arsenal, is another high-profile recruit.

Juve will, however, be without newly-appointed manager Maurizio Sarri, who will miss both this and the upcoming Napoli clash as he recovers from pneumonia.

Assistant Giovanni Martusciello will deputise in Sarri’s absence, and Nedved handled the pre-match press conference on his behalf.

“Our confidence is formed because of our players. I believe that we have created one of the best teams in Europe, and with a coach that will have the necessary time to develop his game,” said Nedved.

“(Sporting director) Fabio Paratici has had a great transfer window and if other opportunities arise we will seize them.”

The Bianconeri might face stiffer opposition this term given the arrival of the likes of Romelu Lukaku at Inter Milan and Hirving Lozano at Napoli.

Nedved added: “Juventus are historically built to win and we will try again this year. The team are responding well, we have two key players for each role and we feel strong.”

On the head coach who was attracted to Allianz Stadium from Chelsea earlier in the summer, Nedved added: “I bring you greetings from Maurizio Sarri, who will return after the international break.

“Important changes have been made but it’s not a moment of transition. Juve are made up of professionalism, work, and sacrifices and we want to win again this year.”

Parma, meanwhile, returned to Serie A last term after bankruptcy in 2015 forced them to climb from Serie D back to the top flight.

The first encounter between the two teams for four years ended in a predictable Juve victory, but the second clash produced a thrilling 3-3 February draw in Turin – a highlight from a season that saw Parma finish just three points above the relegation zone.

Parma boss Roberto D’Aversa is prepared for a tough start to the season, saying at a Friday press conference: “We’ll have to play the perfect game tomorrow against a really strong team that will come here to get points.

“We must be the first to believe we can get a result. We’re up against a strong team and 100 per cent might not be enough.”

D’Aversa has since named a 24-man squad that includes the newly-acquired midfielders Gaston Brugman and Hernani alongside an established cast of Bruno Alves, Simone Iacoponi and Antonino Barilla.

PA

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