Juventus Top Performers – UCL Round of 16 Return Leg

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Juventus painted a masterpiece on Tuesday night, thanks to an amazing collective effort, a rarely seen fierceness and an out-of-the-blue tactical solution and got the ‘magical night’ they have been looking for.

Joao Cancelo: he was arguably one of the least effective players on the pitch, relatively speaking and considering his skills, as he could have done more with all the space he had at his disposal. However, bonus points are part of the equation and he sent in a pinpoint cross to set up Cristiano Ronaldo’s second goal. Continue reading

Allegri and Chiellini preview the second leg with Atleti

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Coach Massimiliano Allegri talked to the press on Monday night to introduce the second leg of the Atletico Madrid clash: “We believe to have a chance to come back. We will have to be able to understand what course the game will take. Maybe it will go differently from how we prepared it, we will need to grasp the various moments.”

Douglas Costa will not be available due to a new injury: “We tried to force, he did one practice and a half, but he felt some pain again today. It is an important game and we needed him.” Continue reading

Three Players Juventus Should Sign in The Summer

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With Juventus on the brink of Champions League elimination after a number of unimpressive performances, it’s time for a squad overhaul. While Aaron Ramsey is a good start at addressing their woeful midfield, the Welshman alone will not be enough to propel the bianconeri to European glory. In defence, Juventus’ core is getting old with Leonardo Bonucci showing signs of wear and tear. Daniele Rugani, by contrast, has frankly not lived up to the hype and has proven to be nothing more than a luxury option off the bench. Up top, on the other hand, it’s time Juventus sign a young, link-up target man, as Dybala, Ronaldo and Mandzukic have been an awkward fit for one another. Here are three players Paratici should have at the top of his wish-list.

1) Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)

Matthijs de Ligt needs no introduction and is without a doubt Europe’s top young defender at the moment. If you look up the definition of leader in the dictionary, the young Dutchman’s face will pop up. After having won the Golden Boy award in 2018, becoming the first defender to ever win the award, de Ligt has gone from strength to strength.

Right now, de Ligt is Ajax’s rock at the back, and is captaining the side deep into the Champions League, past European supergiants and reigning champions Real Madrid. Just last month, the 19-year-old became the youngest ever player to captain his side in a Champions League knockout clash, and has not looked one bit out of place.

While competition for the defender’s signature will be at an all-time high, Paratici and co. must go all out and sign de Ligt. If it takes 80 million euros, then so be it. With Chiellini, Bonucci and Barzagli on the wrong side of 30, it’s time to refresh their backline, and what better place to start than with de Ligt. Despite his age, the Dutchman is arguably already in the top ten defenders in the world, and must emerge as a priority for the bianconeri. Otherwise, Juventus’ elite defence of the past will become nothing but a distant memory.

2) Tanguy NDombele (Lyon)

For the past two seasons, Juventus’ midfield has held the side back in Europe’s elite competition and cannot be ignored come summertime. With Ramsey already on his way on a bosman transfer, Lyon’s Tanguy NDombele would be an ideal fit alongside Juventus’ current options.

NDombele is a one-man midfield, and has consistently proven he can cut it at the highest level, especially in Lyon’s most recent clash against Barcelona. Much like de Ligt,the Lyon midfielder does not let his inexperience seep into his play, and largely dominates proceedings as if he’s a seasoned veteran in the middle of the park.

Alongside Ramsey and Pjanic, the Frenchman would be able to express himself freely and offer some much needed creativity without sacrificing industry. Right now, Blaise Matuidi and Emre Can have looked out of place in Allegri’s setup, and have proven to be far too limited for elite football.

Considering Paratici will have to deal with notorious negotiator, Lyon president and French businessman Jean-Michel Aulas, it won’t be easy. In any case, NDombele is Juventus’ best option to rebuild their midfield, both in the short-term and in the long-run.

3) Luka Jovic (Eintracht Frankfurt) 

This one is a bit trickier for Paratici. Safe to say, Ronaldo hasn’t yet blended in with Mandzukic and Dybala, despite his impressive goalscoring record, and Juventus require an all-round support striker to get the best out of him. At Real Madrid, Benzema acted as the Portuguese superstar’s foil.

With Mandzukic showing signs of slowing down, it may be time for Juventus to start looking at younger options up top. Since making the switch to Germany, Jovic has improved all aspects of his game and has developed into a real force to be reckoned with, scoring 21 goals and registering five assists in all competitions.

With Jovic alongside Ronaldo and Dybala behind them, whoever’s at the helm of Juventus, could recreate Zidane’s blueprint at Real Madrid and get the side scoring freely again. While it may not be an immediate need, Juventus will not have Ronaldo forever and must make the most of his presence while he’s in Turin. Jovic would go a long way in this respect.

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Benatia opens up on Juventus exit and Pirlo news

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Medhi Benatia reflected on his departure from Juventus in an interview with Sky Sport: “In December, I was on vacation in Dubai, I talked with my wife and my kids were asking me all the time why I was not playing. I was burning inside and I was unhappy for that. I left a team full of friends I am very attached to, but I would have liked to give my contribution on the pitch.”

“When Leonardo Bonucci came back, I talked to Massimiliano Allegri, who told me that he needed me and that I would have found some room. However, things changed after that, but I do not have any problem with him, I do not look back at what could have been and was not. I played my last game against Milan in San Siro, which was a tough one because I had to guard Gonzalo Higuain. I played well but I stayed out the following fixtures.” 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

Bonucci and Chiellini talk to Spanish newspapers

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Both centre-backs spoke to Spanish newspapers today, Leonardo Bonucci to AS and Giorgio Chiellini to Marca. Here are the highlights and the new stuff revealed in the interviews, starting with Bonucci: “Being able to stay with my family was one of the reasons why I decided to return to Juventus, I did not see my son Lorenzo very often last year, now he is happier. Unfortunately, he still cheers for Torino: he wavered after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, but he has enrolled in their youth academy. Matteo’s five-month sickness in 2016 was very tough, but it made me realize that I can live without football, but not without my family. Everything is fine now fortunately.” Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 24

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Juventus: Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini have been called up, while Douglas Costa remains out with a quad problem. Daniele Rugani has a sore thigh, but he is in the squad list. Alex Sandro is suspended.

Napoli: Dries Mertens and Simone Verdi missed the midweek Europa League clash due to a contracture and a bruised knee respectively, but they have been able to recover. Raul Albiol underwent a clean-up surgery on the patellar tendon of the left knee and will miss six-to-eight weeks. Mario Rui suffered a thigh pull and will be sidelined this week.

Inter: Sime Vrsaljko had season-ending knee surgery. Balde Keita’s recovery from a thigh strain has had a hiccup and he will not be available this week. Mauro Icardi has a sore knee and will not be called up this week.  Continue reading

Allegri: “We will need the right type of performance to bounce back”

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Coach Massimiliano Allegri previewed the Parma clash earlier today: “Giorgio Chiellini’s injury is not too serious, but it will take him 10-15 days to recover. He is likely to miss the next two games and then we will re-evaluate him.”

On the lineup: “Mario Mandzukic will return tomorrow and I have yet to decide who to field alongside him and Cristiano Ronaldo. Somebody needs a break because we have spent a lot of energies, we need fresh legs. Martin Caceres is a reliable player and will pair up with Daniele Rugani tomorrow. Miralem Pjanic is ready, we will see about the box-to-box midfielder, I might use Federico Bernardeschi there. Leonardo Spinazzola has good chances to start, Mattia Perin will be in the XI. The most important thing is to get back on track.” Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 21

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Alban Lafont: Chievo can be an annoying opponent, especially lately, but they still have one of the least prolific attacks in the League, while Fiorentina have been able to keep three clean sheets in the past four road games. The young goalkeeper has been as good as advertised thus far.

Nicola Murru: Sampdoria have won three in a row at home, shutting down opponents twice, while Udinese have failed to score in their last three away fixtures. The ex Cagliari full-back has also been able to pick up some bonus points offensively here and there. Continue reading

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