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Juve set to make stadium history

Stadio Delle Alpi in 2002
The club's former home at the Stadio Delle Alpi, above, was unpopular with fans

Italian giants Juventus have unveiled plans for a new 40,000-seat stadium on the site of their former ground.

When complete, Juventus will become the first team in Italy's Serie A to own their own stadium, as most Italian grounds are owned by local councils.

Juve, who currently share the Stadio Olimpico with local rivals Torino, will pay an estimated 90m for the new stadium, which will open in May 2011.

Juventus left the unpopular Stadio Delle Alpi in 2006.

The Juventus president hailed the plans as "a source of great pride".

Giovanni Cobolli Gigli said: "Juventus is the first club in Italy to have a stadium all its own."

He added that fans at the new stadium will sit so close to the action and will be able "to hear players' voices".

[The move] gives the club a chance to diversify its revenue and find new sources for future investments

Giovanni Cobolli Gigli
President, Juventus

The plans will see the restructure of the site of former home ground the Stadio Delle Alpi, which still stands on the outskirts of Turin.

The Stadio Delle Alpi was opened as recently as 1990 - where it hosted England's penalty shoot-out defeat to West Germany in that year's World Cup - but is now almost disused save for major European matches, having proved immensely unpopular with supporters.

Despite Juventus winning Italy's Serie A title in both 2005 and 2006, attendances often failed to reach the 30,000 mark in a stadium built to hold more than twice that number.

Fans labelled the ground "soulless", blaming its location, on the outskirts of the city, and poor visibility of the pitch from some parts of the ground.

Juventus left the Stadio Delle Alpi in 2006, three years after buying the stadium from Turin council, and now ground-share with Torino in the 25,500-capacity Stadio Olimpico, which opened this year.

In Italy most stadia, like the Stadio Olimpico and (until 2003) the Stadio Delle Alpi, are operated by local councils, and many are shared between rival teams.

But the Stadio Olimpico is also considered a disappointment, sporting a scaled-back capacity with which both squatters Juve and permanent residents Torino are said to be unhappy.

The new plans will do away with a running track at the Stadio Delle Alpi site, a feature often insisted upon by Italian councils but rarely popular with supporters, as it increases the distance from the stands to the pitch.

Claudio Ranieri
I don't like it how he creates controversies

Juventus' Claudio Ranieri on Inter's Jose Mourinho

The club also intend to add a new commercial centre as they restructure the site.

The move "gives the club a chance to diversify its revenue and find new sources for future investments," said Cobolli Gigli.

Building work on a new stadium had been expected to commence in 2006 but, following a match-fixing scandal which saw the club relegated to Serie B for the first time in their history, the entire Juventus board resigned, delaying the project.

Meanwhile, former Chelsea managers Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho will be reunited on Saturday as Juventus face Inter Milan at the San Siro.

Inter coach Mourinho and Juventus counterpart Ranieri have indulged in a war of words in the run-up to the game.

Mourinho has criticised Ranieri's knowledge of English and accused the 57-year-old of being too old, among other jibes.

"I don't like it how he [Mourinho] creates controversies," Ranieri told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

The two clubs have a fierce rivalry, not helped by the 2006 match-fixing scandal, in which Inter were awarded the Serie A title in a courtroom following Juventus' demotion to Serie B.

Third-placed Juve, on the back of seven straight wins in all competitions, can move level with leaders Inter if they win.

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see also
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Demotion threat hits Juve shares
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