De Sciglio comments on Champions League and Barzagli retiring

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Mattia De Sciglio briefly talked to Sky Sport yesterday and begun by weighing on the recent matches and the upcoming one with Roma: “Against Inter, we were too relaxed in the first half, but we played well in the second one. The clash with the Giallorossi is important and prestigious, so we will have to follow our plan from the get-go. We are focused on what we need to do because we are professionals. The transfer market rumours do not affect us whatsoever.”

On Champions League: “There was some regret while watching the semifinal and there will be always be some bitterness for not advancing. Continue reading

Crucial Summer Ahead for Juventus

After wrapping up their eighth consecutive Scudetto following their 2-1 win over Fiorentina, Juventus will now focus their efforts on addressing the issues plaguing their roster. While the bianconeri added two trophies to their haul this season, they failed in Europe losing to a superior Ajax side over the two ties, and were sent packing in the Coppa Italia against Atalanta. Both defeats spoke volumes of this Juventus side and demonstrated just how fragile the Italian champions are when pressed. Here are three fundamental questions they must answer come summertime if they are to achieve European glory.

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1) Massimiliano Allegri: In or out? 

Since their collapse in Cardiff, Juventus have not been the same, and look a side devoid of an identity. This season much of the same problems persisted. The bianconeri strolled to the Scudetto, barely challenging themselves in the process as their competitors consistently shot themselves in the foot. Frankly, most Serie A tacticians would have won the title with this roster.

What’s more frustrating for Juve is that Allegri has completely failed at instilling a consistent style of play, and largely depends on individual brilliance to see him through. And when all else fails, the Italian champions typically bombard the box with crosses, and hope for Mandzukic or Ronaldo to come through. When opposing sides pressed the bianconeri high, and played without fear, by contrast, Juventus struggled to put three passes together.

When the board meets with Allegri to discuss the past season, they should replay the Ajax and Atalanta games. In both instances, Juventus cowered deep in fear, while the bolder team was rewarded for their self-confidence. If Juve are to win the Champions League, they need a fearless leader, and one thing’s for certain: Allegri is not that. It’s the end of the Allegri era, as we know it.

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2) Project Fix The Defence. 

Since Antonio Conte brought back Juve from consecutive seventh place finishes, the bianconeri’s defence was always their foundation and backbone for success. With Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini, Juventus possessed arguably the strongest backline in the world, and kept opponents at bay with ease.

However, with Barzagli nearing retirement and Bonucci looking like a shadow of his former self since his controversial return, Juventus’ defence has been a weak point for the side and has held the team back. Factor in Alex Sandro’s continued struggles, and it’s clear to see: Without Chiellini, Juventus are a mess at the back.

Considering Daniele Rugani’s stagnation, and Bonucci’s regular lapses in concentration, it’s time Juventus revamp their defence. First of all, they shouldn’t hesitate to sell Rugani and Alex Sandro as soon as a good offer arrives. The former has been a disaster when called upon, and shirks at the first sight of a physical battle. Alex Sandro, by contrast, has lost most of his pace, and offers close to nothing in the final third.

With Cristian Romero already on his way from Genoa, and Leonardo Spinazzola improving with every week, the state of Juventus’ defence remains decent. However, they will need at least two reinforcements: a centre-back and a left back.

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3) Project Fix the Midfield.

Much like the defence, Juventus’ midfield is in complete disarray, and lacks a true leader. Since dismantling their midfield in 2015 by selling Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba, the bianconeri are yet to bolster the midfield sufficiently. At the moment, only Miralem Pjanic and potentially Emre Can are worthy starters, while the others are solid bench options at best.

Even Pjanic and Can, who on their day are world beaters, struggle to impose themselves, and aren’t meant to lead the midfield as seen through the Ajax clashes. Despite Aaron Ramsey’s arrival, Juventus are still lacking one profile in their midfield. A ball-winner capable of maintaining possession. What they would do for a prime Claudio Marchisio again? But Juventus could settle for Lyon’s Tanguy N’Dombele.

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Allegri talks before the Fiorentina game

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Coach Massimiliano Allegri returned in front of the press on Friday: “Luckily there is potential Scudetto clincher tomorrow. We are disappointed, but we must accept what happened in Champions League. We will analyze everything once the title will be conquered and we will plan the future with lucidity and without being carried away by emotions following the elimination against a deserving team.”

On his future: “I have a year left on my contract, I have not discussed anything yet with the president since we were focused on the European campaign. It has still been a great season since we took home half of the trophies on the line. The Scudetto was not a sure thing.” Continue reading

Allegri previews Juventus v SPAL

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Massimiliano Allegri met the journalists earlier today, giving few hints about the lineup: “I will evaluate after today’s practice, but I think many of the starters will rest. Some others need to play and this will be the right game for them. Some may not even be called up. Few youngsters will have the opportunity to be with us. We have an all-important game on Tuesday that will close this current cycle and could allow us to advance to the semifinals.”

On Ferrara: “It would be nice to celebrate there, they are moving towards their second straight successful campaign in Serie A. They renovated the stadium and it is a beautiful city where you breath history, passion and enthusiasm. Whoever ends up playing will have to do well in order to grab one or three points because they are good at home.” Continue reading

Juventus set for summer clear out

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Defending Serie A champions Juventus are in line to make some changes this summer, following the announcement of Aaron Ramsey on a pre-contract in Turin.

The Welsh international continues the club’s policy of signing established players on free transfers,with the support of a substantial salary, as they look to pursue European glory in the next few years.

However boss Max Allegri is also likely to make other signings alongside the Arsenal midfielder, with bids for Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt, Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane and Sporting Lisbon schemer Bruno Fernandes rumoured to be on the cards.

Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 29

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Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo picked up a thigh strain while playing with Portugal and is unlikely to play in the next three games. Sami Khedira has been cleared to practice after a heart problem, but it will take him a little longer before playing. Douglas Costa (quad, calf), Juan Cuadrado (knee) and Andrea Barzagli (calf) remain sidelined, while Mattia De Sciglio has recovered from a thigh pull.

Napoli: Fabian Ruiz will be available after a tough flu. Lorenzo Insigne was on track to play but suffered a relapse of a thigh contracture.  Continue reading

Ronaldo updates, Rugani extends and ICC schedule

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Cristiano Ronaldo returned in Turin today after international duties and underwent a quick check-up at the Continassa training center and did a physiotherapy session, but did not take further medical exams after the initial ones in Lisbon. He might undergo some tests in the next few days to assess the healing of his thigh strain and determine his availability for the first leg of the Ajax clash on April 10th.

Earlier this afternoon, Juventus announced that Daniele Rugani has signed an extension till June 2023, which had been rumoured since the summer after the Bianconeri rebuffed the strong interest coming particularly from Chelsea. Continue reading

Allegri’s presser before Genoa-Juventus

Juventus Press Conference

Coach Massimiliano Allegri previewed the clash with Genoa with the press earlier today: “We must balanced in this moment. We pulled off something extraordinary on Tuesday, it was a special, great an important night. We must celebrate it, but once that is done we must dive back into Serie A because there four games before the quarterfinals.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo: “He will not be suspended in Champions League. Otherwise they will have to disqualify the whole stadium. I see it as a regular celebration. He will stay home tomorrow, he needs to recover because he has played a lot. He will also feature with Portugal during the break.” Continue reading

Allegri scoffs at rumours ahead of Juventus-Udinese

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Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri held the usual pre-game presser earlier today and did not mince words on the recent rumours about his future, while also addressing the Udinese match and giving hints about the lineup.

“We have to take home few more win regardless of our advantage. We are 18 points, six victories away from the title. Paulo Dybala has been dragging a knock on the foot since the first clash with Atletico Madrid, Mario Mandzukic has a sore knee. Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini will start on the bench. Joao Cancelo and Miralem Pjanic are suspended. Douglas Costa is visibly improving, not for tomorrow but for Tuesday. Continue reading

Chiellini rallies the troops ahead of Napoli clash

FC Juventus Player Giorgio Chiellini Portrait Session

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini spoke to Sky Sport yesterday afternoon: “The away games in Champions League take a toll mentally and physically and it was not easy to play in another road match right away. We were not scintillating in Bologna, but we got the job done. The loss in Madrid was heavy, but we recovered. The fixture with Napoli will be great, they made us sweat in the last few years.”

“We think a little about the second leg with Atleti every day, but we will focus solely on that after the next two matches. We want to seal the deal in Serie A and prove that we deserve to be top of the league with this gap. I think it is a fair one. Continue reading