Is it the Old Lady’s Turn? Juventus to finally win the Champions League?

The record runners-up of the competition and five consecutive final defeats since last winning in 1996 – can Juventus lift the Champions League trophy in 2019?

Serie A’s most successful club haven’t been able to replicate their form in Europe’s most prestigious tournament and splashed out £99.2 million to bring superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to Turin this summer.

Juventus have made a flying start to their domestic campaign by taking a maximum 24 points after eight games, already building up a six-point lead over second place Napoli.

The Italian giants have won seven consecutive Scudetto’s and look on course to make it eight in a row with betting exchange Betfair offering as little as 1.2 for Juventus to win the title again this season.

But can the Italian side carry their form over into Europe and go further than they have over the past two decades? Juventus have been runners-up in two of the past four finals alone.

They can be called the nearly men if you like, having won only two of the nine Champions League finals they have reached.

Their first appearance in a final came in 1973, losing 1-0 to Ajax after beating Derby County in the semi-finals. 10 years later they were beaten by the same scoreline, this time against German Bundesliga outfit Hamburg.

Juventus finally got their hands on the prize for the first time, in 1985, as a Michel Platini penalty saw off Liverpool in the final at the Stade du Heysel in Brussels that was marred by tragedy off the field.

The Old Lady would not appear in another final for 11 years, this time beating Ajax on penalties in Rome, after Fabrizio Ravanelli had opened the scoring in a 1-1 draw against the Dutch giants. This 1996 final would mark the first of three consecutive for Marcello Lippi’s side.

1997 saw them beaten 3-1 by underdogs Borussia Dortmund, which included Lars Ricken’s famous chip from 30 yards with his first touch to seal the deal for the German side.

In 2003 Juventus were beaten on penalties by AC Milan at Old Trafford – only the second occasion in which two nations from the same league faced off in the final of the competition, and the only time it has happened between two Italian teams.

Juventus have dominated Italy in recent years and that has started to reflect in Europe as they reached the final in 2015, only to lose to Barcelona. Ivan Rakiti?, Luis Suárez and Neymar on the scoresheet for the winning side.

Two years later it was Spanish opposition again, this time Real Madrid, thrashing Juventus 4-1 in the final. Cristiano scoring twice for the Spanish giants. Will the acquisition of the Portuguese forward make the difference for Massimiliano Allegri’s side this season?

Betting exchange Betfair have Juventus as third favourites to go all the way this season, currently at 7.2, with Manchester City 6.0 favourites and 6.2 the price on Barcelona’s odds to win Champions League.

Juventus have won Serie A on 13 occasions since they were last holders of the Champions League (though two of these titles were later stripped). Perhaps that’s why they went all out this summer with the signing of a certain superstar.

Ronaldo has won the trophy four times over the past five seasons, but hasn’t had the best of starts to his career in Italy. The 33-year-old was sent off early in his new side’s 2-0 win at Valencia in their opening group game and subsequently missed the 3-0 thrashing of Young Boys earlier this month.

Juventus have back-to-back matches against Ronaldo’s former club Manchester United on the cards next in the Champions League, in which they could book their passage into the second round with two games to spare.

There’s a good chance that Allegri’s side are going to run away with the Serie A crown, meaning he’ll be able to rest players ahead of key Champions League ties in the latter rounds of the tournament. A luxury that other favourites, such as Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid may not have.

However, should Juventus draw the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona in the knockout stages you would certainly expect the Italian side to be the underdogs over two legs.

Injuries and the draw will play a huge part in how the tournament turns out, but with a bit of luck and a drop in form for some of their competitors, perhaps Juventus may well indeed lift the Champions League for a third time in their history come May…