Conte says lessons must be learned
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Juventus coach Antonio Conte has called on Italian football to get its house in order or risk becoming a lost giant of European football, following their quarter-final exit from the UEFA Champions League to Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Juve were outclassed during a 2-0 first leg defeat to the newly-crowned German champions last week in Munich and despite a far better performance in Turin on Wednesday the hosts fell to another 2-0 reverse.

Conte, a former midfielder with the two-time European champions before leading the club to their 28th Scudetto in his first season in charge last year, said on Tuesday there was a huge gap between his side and big-spending Bayern.

After second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro sealed the Bundesliga side's place in the semis for the third time in four years, the 43-year-old Conte took aim at Italian football in general.

He said it is time for Italy's clubs to start generating the finance needed to compete on a level playing field with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern and Manchester United.

If not, Juve could go the way of one of European football's strongest sides in the 1970s, Dutch giants Ajax, who have struggled to get back to Europe's top table in the past two decades.

"Given that two years ago we weren't even in the Europa League I have to congratulate my players for getting this far," said Conte.

"They've worked really hard to make a mark in this competition over the past two years.

"They (Bayern) were simply stronger than us and we can only congratulate them. When you're playing against one of the strongest teams in Europe it becomes difficult for everyone.

Playing Bayern was a good opportunity to see where exactly we are compared to the big boys in Europe.
Juventus coach Antonio Conte

"But playing Bayern was a good opportunity to see where exactly we are compared to the big boys in Europe. Where are we, what's missing and how do we remedy it?

"We have to look elsewhere, to Spain, to England and to Germany to see what lessons we can learn.

"But if you have the money, you can buy (players) and win. Otherwise, it takes a lot of patience.

"The way things are right now, I don't see any Italian teams winning the Champions League for the next several years."

Inter Milan in 2010 were the last Italian team to win the Champions League but since then no Serie A side has made the final four of Europe's premier club competition.

Although Juventus are considered one of the continent's bigger clubs, their comparative lack of spending power does little to draw the world's top players.

Juve have repeatedly declared they cannot splash out €30 million on one player, but for the club's director general Beppe Marotta, Bayern's massive spending power has proved key.

"We were dominated last week at Bayern and this week we lost again, but not just on the pitch - in terms of finance as well," said Marotta, underlining the fact Bayern, champions four times, were beaten finalists in 2010 and 2012.

"They have played two finals in the space of three years. Don't forget that Bayern have a turnover that is not only twice that of Juve, but also Milan and Inter Milan."