Sarri addresses UCL list cuts and more in pre-Fiorentina presser

Coach Maurizio Sarri rejoiced returning on the bench after battling pneumonia and dished out honest assessments about few players in the pre-game conference ahead of the game against Fiorentina.

“For a coach, being on the bench and participating to the practices it is everything. It is not easy to step aside, I thank our doctors that took care of me for 20 days and made me realize it was better to take a short pause in that moment rather than risking being out for longer at a later date. It was heavy but I accepted since the staff was working swimmingly.” Continue reading

Juventus Wages Revealed and Douglas Costa Rubbishes Rumours

Today’s issue of Gazzetta dello Sport detailed Juventus’ pay roll, which amounts to €294M and is the highest in Serie A by a significant margin, as Inter come in second at €139M. Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way with his €30M, followed by Matthijs De Ligt with €8M, Gonzalo Higuain with €7.5M, Paulo Dybala with €7.3M, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot with €7. In the €6M range there are Miralem Pjanic (€6.5M), Douglas Costa, Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira and Leonardo Bonucci (€5.5M). The next tier includes Alex Sandro and Emre Can (€5M), while Federico Bernardeschi and Danilo earn €4M per year. It transpires that the management was pretty lavish with the newcomers. Continue reading

Matuidi refutes PSG links, news from pratice and financial updates

Blaise Matuidi denied he was close to returning to PSG in the summer: “It was all false. I have always said that I am fine at Juventus. I have been a PSG fan since I was kid and playing for them allowed me to fulfill a dream of mine. However, I am proud to play in one of best clubs in the world now.” The 32-year-old Frenchman has begun the season with an expiring contract after inking a two-year one last summer.

On the competition in the squad: “It stimulates me. Nobody gifts you anything in football, you have to earn your spot. If I am here it is because I have always been ready on the pitch.” Continue reading

Martusciello sees the good and the bad in the Napoli game

Assistant Giovanni Martusciello, on top of the usual coachspeek, had some interesting remarks in the post-game: “The physical drop was significant and the opponent was clearly a quality and above-average one, especially for their possession. Our style is very demanding, we run out of energies and you get punished immediately when you decrease the attention. We were too content after going up three-nothing and allowed them to come back in the game. On the two set pieces, we made positioning mistakes and reacted poorly. Probably we felt like we would not concede. Anyway, this group never gives up and proved it once again.” Continue reading

Paratici rules out Dybala leaving and addresses Chiellini injury

Juventus CFO Fabio Paratici formally took Paulo Dybala out of the market for the first time: “I rule out his departure in a definitive way. His picture with Giorgio Chiellini demonstrates how tight this group is. The transfer market is not only made of planning, but also of opportunities and some unexpected events, like Giorgio Chiellini’s one. The ongoing games can lead to some trepidation but we are very serene. If there were any, we could take advantage of some bargains in the time left, otherwise we will stay as is.” Continue reading

De Ligt surprised but respectful of decision and post-game reactions

Matthijs De Ligt talked to Dutch publication AD after last night’s game: “Naturally, I would have preferred to play. I did not get the clue during practice, so I did not expect to be benched, but I obviously respect the decision of the coach. I have to realistic, I am still adapting here in Italy. The two starters, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, have for long been considered the best duo in the world. I will have to fight for the job this season.”

On life in Italy: “I have enjoyed these first few weeks. It has been tough physically, but I have noticed that I am getting stronger. Defensively, the tasks are not much different from what I was used to at Ajax. Continue reading

Operation Departures: Paratici’s Dilemma

After securing the signing of Matthijs de Ligt, many lauded Juventus’ mercato and showered their sporting director, Fabio Paratici, with praise. After all, they had just signed one of Europe’s elite young defenders, fighting off Barcelona and a host of other clubs in the process.

However, in recent weeks, in an effort to balance the books, Juventus have looked to offload their high-prized assets on the cheap. First, Moise Kean left for Everton with no buy-back clause inserted in the deal. Then, Joao Cancelo was off to Manchester City for 30 million euros and Danilo, after just a season in Turin. Now, the bianconeri’s top brass are actively listening to offers for their jewel, Paulo Dybala. 

With Financial Fair Play restrictions in place, clubs, at the very least, must show they are spending as much as they’re making; generally speaking. Following the signature of Cristiano Ronaldo and de Ligt, sales were always going to be necessary.

Factor in that Juventus haven’t progressed deep into the Champions League since making the final in 2017 missing out on crucial revenue, it’s clear players were going to be sold. Let’s not forget, the Turin-based giants also reported a significant financial operating loss in their last fiscal year. Fabio Paratici is the man largely responsible with dealing with this, largely through high-profile sales. 

While, in an ideal world, Paratici would find buyers for Gonzalo Higuain, Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira and Blaise Matuidi among others, reality is a different beast altogether. Currently, all of these players are on the wrong side of 30 and are on massive wages in comparison to their output.

Many of them have got a host of offers, but have regularly refused to leave the club. And why should they? Most, if not all, of the offers received for the bianconeri’s wantaways include lower salaries at less prestigious clubs. This has forced Paratici’s hand in his first mercato at the helm and has dictated which players he can and cannot sell. Simply put, there’s a bigger buying market for Dybala than there is for Higuain, for example.

Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri recently alluded to this in a press conference.

As I said before, I can talk to Dybala all I like, but the market goes in a certain direction and my opinion counts for zero. We have to cut six players, that’s all there is to it,” said the former Napoli boss, as reported by Football Italia.

When thinking about Sarriball, you would expect Dybala to be one of the first names of the team-sheet. After a season in Massimiliano Allegri’s rigid setup, the Argentine could explode in a false-nine role. In Sarri’s first press conference at the club, the veteran tactician mentioned La Joya alongside Douglas Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo as players he was hoping to count on.

If Juventus are forced to sell Dybala this summer to balance the books, they will undoubtedly regret their decisions to hand Mandzukic and Khedira extensions while failing to definitively offload Higuain. Quite frankly, neither of these three players fit into Sarri’s tactics as well as Dybala does.

Sarri elaborated on this situation further and lashed out against Juventus’ current state.

It puts me in a difficult position. The last 20 days of the market will be difficult for us, it’s an embarrassing situation, because we risk having to leave out players of a very high level,” said Sarri.

It has also affected his pre-season preparation. Given the uncertainty surrounding the transfer window, Sarri has largely rotated between Higuain, Mandzukic and Dybala. Rather than sticking with one preferred front-line and implementing his mechanisms with them, Sarri has been forced to adapt. As a result, it may be long before we see Sarriball fully introduced in Turin.

With just over two weeks left to the mercato, it will be interesting to see who Juventus decide to move. Reports suggest Higuain will join Roma while Mandzukic favours a Bundesliga move. However, as we’ve seen, there are no guarantees and we can just as easily see, fan favourite, Dybala on his way out. Whether you like it or not, buckle your seat-belts Juventus fans, you’re in for a bumpy end to the summer transfer window.

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Chiellini impressed by De Ligt and Sarri

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini weighed in before and after the exhibition game at Villar Perosa, heaping high praise on Matthijs De Ligt: “He is a very capable guy and certainly I am not the first one to notice that. He was the most coveted defender in Europe and the officials worked very well to get him. He can grow and do well in the next few years. We signed important players that increase the value of the team, but everything goes through sacrifices and daily work. This is our goal now, we finally start to get serious because we are fed up with just friendlies and training sessions. We are the only ones in Europe that start the season so late.” Continue reading

Sarri analyzes the Inter friendly

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Juventus beat Inter on penalties on Wednesday, with Matthijs De Ligt scoring an own goal and Cristiano Ronaldo finding the net on a free kick with the help of a deflection. Gianluigi Buffon then denied three opponents in the shout-out. Here is how Maurizio Sarri commented: “De Ligt was part of the portion of the game where we played worst and he has no responsibility in that, while Cristiano Ronaldo had the usual high-quality performance. I sense that we can improve a lot in the offensive plays, especially velocity-wise, which would enhance him even further.”

On the progress compared to the Tottenham outing: “All things considered, we had a similar display, since we had a subpar rhythm in the first half, where we struggled to defend with a high center of gravity and we tracked back. Continue reading

Sarri, Bernardeschi and Rabiot react to the Tottenham friendly

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Maurizio Sarri gave multiple soundbites to Sportitalia and Sky after the friendly against Tottenham: “It was a difficult game for us, against a team that has had the same group for years and that has a different level of physical preparation right now. They looked faster and more explosive in the second half, but it is normal at this stage. If we want to play our football, we have to improve in defending higher on the pitch, because in the first 30 minutes we tracked back too much and therefore counter-attacking was complicated. We moved the ball better after the break, we had 20 quality minutes, scoring twice. We were naïve on some lost balls, which generated the goals.” Continue reading