In the latest Q&A, Giuseppe Bognanni- a massive Juventus fan- shares many of the highlights as a supporter of the Bianconeri but also brings up one of the lowest points summed up by the serious injury to club legend Alessandro Del Piero against Udinese.
Giuseppe provides some expected answers but he also raises some intriguing points. Without any further delay, let us get to the main topics discussed in the Q&A.
1) Name your 3 all-time favorite Juve players. Why did you choose them?
Alessandro Del Piero – Much of this has to do with this unique connection I’ve built with Del Piero. Now looking back, I can confidently say it is because we both entered the serious phase of our football at the same time. Del Piero as a professional Juventus player, and myself as a true and committed supporter.
I grew up with his skills, “alla Del Piero” free-kicks and goals. I remember wearing laces around my football socks as he did. As strange as this may sound, I felt pain when he was injured against Udinese. Seeing him fighting to come back was an example for me during my youth. I cried tears of joy when he scored against Germany in World Cup 2006. A few weeks later he proved himself again as a man of values, leading by example and staying at Juventus despite not knowing if we would be relegated into the third or second division.
David Trezeguet - “Quando gioca segna sempre Trezeguet” which translates to “When he plays, Trezeguet always scores”… David is the foreign player with most goals for Juventus. I loved seeing him paired with Alex. When both were starting, I always felt reassured and I was confident goals would arrive. He could disappear from the game but as soon as the ball was in the area or let me just say “his” area, it was a moment of panic for the defenders. He was elegant and humble but also a real killer in front of goal.
Edgar Davids – If it hasn’t become clear by now, let me just say Alex and David are above all the rest in my opinion. A third pick is always tough- Juve featured the likes of Zidane, Pavel Nedved, Marchisio and Paolo Montero… but if I am forced to choose then Edgar Davids makes it to the podium. He was an absolute beast. He had the Grinta of someone like Gennaro Gattuso but was way more technical. Remember the Nike promotions? Davids with his glasses on, his swagger… How could any young Calcio fan resist?
2) From the current team name your favorite Juve player by position (One each from DEF, MID and ATT).
First, let me just say that my chosen players are linked to each other despite not being from the same country and despite playing in different positions. All three arrived young at the club yet came with great potential- particularly the Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt and of course La Joya Paulo Dybala. Don’t forget Rodrigo Bentancur who represented Uruguay during World Cup 2018 and then in Copa America 2019 when he was entrusted with and duly converted his penalty-kick in the shootout (Peru would eliminate Uruguay on penalties).
DEF: Matthijs de Ligt. I am going to start off by saying Matthijs is my boy! He is the young and talented defender several of the big clubs wanted to sign. Without hesitation he preferred Juve over those elite teams. He’s already learning Italian which is also a sign he’s a smart young man who does everything possible to adapt to his new reality. Being so young and receiving so much criticism after his debut for Juve were hard enough to knock down many others but not him
MID: Rodrigo Bentancur. The young Uruguay midfielder was called the new Zinedine Zidane by my father. That should be enough, onto the next pick Dybala! He’s probably exaggerating a bit but the idea is there. I was at the stadium against Udinese and I noticed Rodrigo was impressive. Against Udinese (something about that team and Juve) he played his first game as a Regista instead of Miralem Pjanic. What a game. What a player. Bentancur showed the vision, defensive skills, forward thinking and fast thinking too. Overall, he rarely ever complains and he has accepted the fact he arrived young and needed to learn and work hard to be in the Starting XI yet he has not given up. He is taking his chances and impressing!
ATT: Paulo Dybala. Paulo has been at Juve for five seasons now and while he has had his ups and downs, no one can deny his immense talent. A times, he was not placed in the ideal position to shine. He may not have a great right foot, but La Joya more than makes up for it with an incredible left-foot. Most importantly, he showed many times how much love he has for Juve.
3) Most important Juve victory in your lifetime? Why?
Being a Juventus fan is great because you have a lot of victories to choose from. To my great misfortune I’m a Libra and when the choices are too many I start doubting. So as a Libra I get extra allowance and therefore I am picking two victories not one!
Udinese – Juventus 0-2 on May 5th, 2002- It is so important because it represents our famous motto “Fino alla Fine” and more. Can you imagine Lazio beating Inter 4-2 but Juve not believing in a comeback and failing to beat Udinese? That would have been tragic! Luckily, we not only have famous catch phrases but we believe in them too- as a club, a squad and as fans!
Juventus – Parma 4-1 on September 11th, 2011- The wind was changing. A game plan executed so well that as a Juventino- and after two consecutive 7th places- you truly felt the club was entering a new era.
4) Name your all-time favorite Juve match, and why?
I am definitely going with Juventus-Milan on October 2nd, 2011. The final result was a memorable 2-0 win.
It was my first time at the Juventus Stadium with my father, brothers and other family members. We played incredibly well against the title holders. Everything was perfect. The late Claudio Marchisio brace was crazy. What a remarkable game on all levels. Simply put, Juve’s back!
And seeing my father jumping from his seat and finding him 5 rows below, celebrating with Juve fans we never met before was crazy but unforgettable.
5) Pick two from Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, and Arturo Vidal for your midfield, and why?
People who follow me on twitter or YouTube know how much I love Paul Pogba. When you read Marchisio, I read Juventus. Still, if I must choose only two for a perfect 4-4-2 than I go for Pirlo and Vidal.
Pirlo’s vision, ability to find impossible passing lanes, his greatness at short and long range passing, his leadership and free-kicks are unparalleled. He gives you that sense of security and you know he’ll invent something out of nothing. He will come up with a genius move.
And what about Vidal? I say Vidal because the genius needs a protector. A beast, a player you always want on your team. Vidal has great understanding of football, is a fighter, the perfect box-to-box midfielder and on top of that he will give that 110% for you. He is the poster boy for Fino alla Fine.
6) What is Juve’s main weakness? Is it the right-back or left-back position, or the midfield which is often mentioned as the squad’s Achilles heel?
From the moment our midfield was dismantled it became one of our persistent weaknesses.
I also think we have great individuals but not a great team. Our squad has a mix of skillful and physically strong players but they have often looked incompatible together. One of the major problems we have since last year is the Dybala and Pjanic tandem. It just doesn’t work. Miralem can’t play in a two-man midfield. He’s not fast enough and misses the physical attributes needed to pull his weight on the defensive end. He needs to be protected by two other midfielders.
Dybala can’t play in a 4-3-3 if he’s on the right side of the field. He’s lost there and tends to wander and then veer towards the center instinctively a lot during the game. When he plays as a Falso Nueve or in a 4-3-1-2 it’s even more clear how the two can’t play together. As we miss creativity and contribution from the midfield, Dybala goes back to start building and creating himself. That means Pjanic remains in the back without any offensive duties- they create an automatic overlap in duties.
Look at this season, when did Pjanic play extremely well? At the start, when Paulo was benched. When were Dybala’s best games? Inter, Udinese, etc all games where Pjanic was benched or injured. That in my opinion is also the reason why both names are always rumored to be on the way out- perhaps one must go?
7) Who is the best player to ever wear the Juve shirt?
I think this one is a given and you should know by now that I am sticking my neck out for my “football career partner” Alessandro Del Piero! The Del Piero pre-Udinese injury (the dreadful date of November 8th, 1998) was the goat. The real goat. Remember at the time Serie A was the best any elite player could dream of.