Juventus Top Performers – Supercoppa

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Another not overly impressive showing for Juventus, but another win for the Bianconeri, who, in a damp night in Jeddah, were able to get the best of Milan, bring home the eighth Supercoppa Italiana in their history, and lift the first trophy of the Cristiano Ronaldo era.

Giorgio Chiellini: another vintage performance by the rugged centre-back, who is having the best season of his career, also thanks to the fact that he has basically been injury-free thus far. He got to duel with Gonzalo Higuain only for limited minutes and shadowed him to perfection, while Patrick Cutrone was held to just one chance, but still came close to scoring as he hit the bar with a swift shot after chasing down a loose ball. Continue reading

Chiellini on the Supercoppa: “We want to buck the recent trend”

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The Supercoppa was treated by the League and the press like a Champions League game, so also a player, in this case the captain Giorgio Chiellini, held a presser late yesterday: “We have changed a lot compared to three years ago and we definitely care about this trophy. It arrives in the middle of the season, so it is a little different than experiencing it in August, but it is still important. We have to prove it with the facts because we missed out of few editions lately and that is a shame.”

On the environment: “We have not seen a lot, besides the hotel, the airports and the training ground. I had already played in Riyad for a friendly. Continue reading

Kean Proves Worthy of More Minutes

Juventus started the new year with a convincing win against Bologna in the Coppa Italia, a competition they have now won four times in a row. With many of the bianconeri’s starters watching from the sidelines including the likes of Ronaldo and Dybala, the side’s fringe players got some much needed minutes to prove themselves and largely impressed in the win. Leonardo Spinazzola was a constant threat down the left, Emre Can was tidy in the midfield alongside Pjanic, and Bernardeschi was even able to pocket himself a goal. Yet the real storyline was undoubtedly Italian wonder-kid Moise Kean. 

The 18-year-old got his first start of the season, and made the most out of it snatching a goal early in the second half off a ricochet on Douglas Costa’s shot. Demonstrating his killer instinct within the 18-yard-box, Kean made no mistake and poked it past a helpless Da Costa before he could intervene. It was his second goal in a Juventus shirt, both coming against Bologna. After just over an hour of leading the line, the U-21 Italian international made way for Ronaldo, and will be pleased overall with his performance.

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Allegri: “Our season is on the line starting from Saturday”

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Massimiliano Allegri previewed yesterday the Saturday night Coppa Italia fixture with Bologna: “It is easy to motivate the squad because this is a goal of ours like Champions League, Scudetto and Supercoppa. Bologna is a difficult pitch and they will look to accomplish the feat of eliminating Juventus. We will have to approach the game in a professional way, knowing that there will be no re-match. We also have to prepare for Wednesday too. We have brought home few good wins thus far, but we have not won anything yet. Our season is on the line starting from Saturday.” Continue reading

Mandzukic gets hurt, Bentancur talks and Ronaldo case update

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Mario Mandzukic suffered a thigh flexor injury yesterday and will be further evaluated in the next few days: he is in jeopardy of missing for the next two games against Bologna in Coppa Italia and Milan in Supercoppa. Coach Massimiliano Allegri should provide an update in the next presser.

The upcoming Serie A match against Chievo has been slightly postponed and will kick-off at 8.30 pm, rather than at 7 pm, because the fixture in the late spot, Genoa-Milan, has been moved to 3 pm for public order reasons. Continue reading

Juventus chasing history in the Italian Super Cup

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Defending Serie A champions Juventus kick off 2019 with a double header of cup action, and the chance to write another chapter of history in their recent dominance.

Max Allergi’s side face a trip to Bologna on January 12th, in the first leg of their last 16 tie of the Coppa Italia, and then on January 16th they take on AC Milan in the Italian Super Cup final.

The match has already attracted attention, albeit controversial, as the Italian FA have sanctioned the game to be played in Saudi Arabia, at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium, in Riyadh.

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Real Madrid’s average season continues as they look to appoint big name coach

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Real Madrid have not been themselves this season and that continued after they could only draw 2-2 against Villarreal in their latest game in midweek. To rub salt into the wounds Madrid were leading 2-1 with just minutes to go but could not see the game out.

Despite Madrid winning the World Club Cup in December the pressure is on Santiago Solari to keep his job in the hot seat because the cup was won by beating two sides who with all due respect were not on the same level as Madrid. But the club keep continuing to underwhelm in La Liga.

This latest draw means that with 17 games played they have 30 points and are are 7 behind league leaders Barcelona. Los Blancos are also in the very unfamiliar position of 4th place. Both Deportivo on 28 points and Real Betis on 26 are not far behind and the worry is that if the team do not go on a consistent run they could fall even further behind.

In fairness to Solari who stepped in two months ago when Julen Lopetegui was sacked he has done a decent job in a very chaotic environment, but why are Madrid not firing on all cylinders?

The departures of coach Zinedine Zidane is a major factor, with the French legend guiding the club to an historic treble of Champions League trophies. Although it should be noted that Madrid only won the league once with Zidane in charge.

Madrid have always been about having the very best players- even if it hasn’t always worked out and they have been trumped in that department this season. With Cristiano Ronaldo leaving for Juventus, Madrid never replaced him and he has left a gaping hole in that team. This isn’t to say that Madrid have been poor this season, they just have not been their usual confident selves. Much of the limelight has gone onto the shoulders of Gareth Bale.

Bale has scored 10 goals in all competitions for the club this season and is on course to score his personal best. That is 22 which he achieved in his debut season. Still he only has 4 goals in the league and more would have been expected of him.

This season feels like a write off for the club and yet they won’t be giving up anything just yet especially in the Champions League. However you feel there will be a new dawn at the club in the summer which could mean more star players in, some out and certainly a new coach.

 

Globe Soccer Awards recap

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Juventus had a satisfactory night at the Globe Soccer Awards, where they brought home few awards. Cristiano Ronaldo was named player of the year and also had the best goal: “First of all, happy new year. 2019 is here, so 2018 is the past. I got off to a good start with this fantastic award for that beautiful goal, unfortunately against my current team, so I can not be completely happy. I thank the fans, because football would be nothing without them. My objective for 2019 is to keep scoring, everybody knows how hard it is. I have netted 700 goals in my career and I believe this was my prettiest one.” Continue reading

Paratici comments on Ramsey, Mbappé and more

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Fabio Paratici is in Dubai for the Globe Soccer Awards and weighed in on few players while speaking to Sky yesterday. He begun by expressing his hopes for the new year: “My first desire is for this season to be equal or better than the last six or seven. Champions League has become our goal, we earned that over the years. After the last four or five editions, we feel like we are ready to take on the challenge with more self-awareness.”

On the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo: “If you have the best in the world on your side, everybody’s confidence rises. But our quality was already very good, we have always been in the upper echelon and performed well in Europe recently. We have had great players in our roster and now we have Cristiano.” Continue reading

Juventus 2018 Stats Recap

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In 2018, Juventus brought home the seventh Scudetto in a row and the Coppa Italia and it was a record year in several stats, as documented by the official website. They conquered 101 points in the calendar year, tying the record of the legendary 1948’s Torino (if a win was worth as much as now). The loot in the first 19 games, 53 points, is unmatched both in Europe and in Serie A history.

They won 80,8% of the home games: they had done better only in 1932 (81.8%). The percentage of losses (11,5%) is the third lowest in their history, trailing only to what they achieved in 1932 (6%) but also more recently in 2016 (9.8%). Continue reading