Didier Deschamps was one of the candidates for the Juventus job, but he confirmed his commitment to the French national team in a presser yesterday: “The situation is clear, my spirit and my energies are focused on qualifying to the next European Championship, even though I am glad my name is brought up in big clubs’ coaching searches. However, my future is decided and tied to France.”
In the Atalanta game, Juventus managed to defend home court with the help of a strong second half and a futuristic line-up, closing the season undefeated at the Stadium.
Wojciech Szczesny: the defense was subpar, which has been the case since the title was clinched, especially on set pieces, which is were Josip Ilicic punished the Old Lady. The goals could have been more if the Polish goalkeeper did not have few great saves: on Remo Freuler and Duvan Zapata’s attempts in the first half and on wicked free kick by the Slovenian attacker in the second half. Andrea Barzagli struggled to keep up with the Colombian striker, but far younger centre-backs have done the same this year and obviously it does not take anything away from his terrific services over the year. Alex Sandro had a rough day at the office and had to be taken out to avoid a red card, as he was too foul prone. Joao Cancelo benefitted from the squad’s offensive mentality and brought his crossing and playmaking to the table. Continue reading →
Atalanta-Genoa: the Bergamaschi keep soaring and bested Lazio in a seminal clash last week, garnering their third win a row and building a little lead over Roma in the race to get the fourth position. They have not been defeated since the beginning of March. The Griffon is coming off two 1-1 ties in a row, versus SPAL and Roma, squandering a massive late opportunity on Sunday. They are four points above the third-to-last position. Suspensions are piling up for Gian Piero Gasperini and he will not be able to count on two defensive centre-pieces, Gianluca Mancini and Andrea Masiello, and more importantly on Alejandro Gomez, which will also not allow him to rotate the squad much ahead of next week’s cup final. Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata will take on an even larger load than usual: the Slovenian genius has been slowed down by some nagging injuries, while the Colombian powerhouse continues to lay hurt on opponents. Continue reading →
Juventus-Torino: the Bianconeri have no more achievements to pursue in Serie A, but they still showed up at San Siro last week and equalized in the second half after a poor start. They have yet to drop one at home. The Granata continue to be in the hunt not only for a Europa League berth: the fourth spot is four points away. They have defeated Milan and Genoa in their last two contests and have lost just once in the past 14. Cristiano Ronaldo scored last week and Miralem Pjanic has contributed with two assists recently. Federico Bernardeschi and Moise Kean are alternating next to the Portuguese ace, but neither is in supreme form, while Juan Cuadrado is starting to look sprier and Joao Cancelo is coming back on too. Continue reading →
Juan Cuadrado gave a rare interview to Sky Sport yesterday and looked back at the time spent on the shelf due to a knee surgery: “In football, it happens to get injured, but watching the games without being able help my teammates made me a little sad. I always focused on carrying on and recovering in the shortest time possible. I went through the process with a smile, which made everything easier.”
On the season: “It is never easy to take home the Scudetto, we have worked a lot to achieve it. People think that this year was a failure because we were eliminated from the Champions League, but that is not true: triumphing in the domestic league for the eighth time in a row was extraordinary, few are able to pull it off and it will forever be written in the history books.” Continue reading →
Juventus: Mario Mandzukic (flu), Paulo Dybala (calf) and Leonardo Spinazzola (knee) have recovered from their problems, while Cristiano is sitll out. Sami Khedira, Douglas Costa and Juan Cuadrado have ramped up their activity and are close to returning, but they will not be called up in this round. Martin Caceres will miss three weeks with a thigh strain.
Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne is said to have almost recuperated from his thigh contracture and could be in the squad list in this round. David Ospina(head), Faouzi Ghoulam and Vlad Chiriches (thigh) should be in the squad in list, while Raul Albiol is not far away. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
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 →
Cristiano Ronaldo turned 34 yesterday and briefly talked to the club’s TV after practice: “I am very happy to be celebrating my birthday here, it is nice to be in Italy. I want to thank the fans to the messages and the affection. Being at Juventus in a great experience and I feel lucky to play in Serie A. People are treating me very well, especially within the club and Torino is a very nice and quiet city. My family and my kids are happy and therefore so am I. The squad is in a good moment, we feel well and we are top of the league, we advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals and we won our first trophy. We are ready for the upcoming games.” Continue reading →