Cristiano and Pjanic open up

Cristiano Ronaldo participated in a ‘Making Of’ documentary produced by DAZN that will soon fully released, in the meantime the platform has put out some excerpts: “I always give my maximum effort to win trophies with the team first and foremost, because I know those can lead to individual awards. That is your job, your everyday life. You wake up to practice with the goal of earning something. It is not for the money, which thankfully I no longer need. I want to earn my place in the history of football and win even more.” Continue reading

Rabiot speaks and Konami deal announced

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Adrien Rabiot gave his thoughts to Juventus TV after the first few days of training: “I am very happy to be here, this is a big club, with prestige and history. One of the reasons that pushed me to join was to improve and take one step forward in my career and this is the best place to do it. Playing next to some high caliber players will be special for my development and the continuation of my learning process.”

On his role: “I am left-footed and I like to do a little bit of everything, but If I to give a description, I would say that I am offensive player, who likes to attack and defend. As they say today, I am a box-to-box.” Continue reading

Juventus Turn to Bosmans to Shore up the Midfield

Following a poor season, the Juventus brass identified the midfield as a problem area and immediately snapped up Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer. Since Arturo Vidal’s departure, Juventus have lacked enterprise in the middle of the park and have been crying for help. Realizing the Welshman alone wasn’t enough, Juventus turned to Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Paul Pogba. Both midfielders are reportedly willing to join the bianconeri, but their astronomical price-tags are proving to be major obstacles as of right now.

As a result, Juventus have since turned their attention to Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot. The Frenchman’s contract is set to expire, and will shortly join the Italian champions on a five-year deal. Since breaking onto the scene in Paris, Rabiot has established himself as one of the most highly-rated talents in football, and will offer some much needed technique to Juventus’ stuttering midfield. However, the only concern with the Frenchman have been some recurring disciplinary issues that have kept him out of the side.

Equally capable of playing in front of the defence, or on the left of a midfield three, Rabiot will slot in nicely alongside Miralem Pjanic, and Ramsey. At just 24 years old, the Frenchman will only improve, and will get to work under Maurizio Sarri, a manager notorious for his ability to get the most out of technically-gifted midfielders. Under the former Napoli tactician, expect Rabiot to play higher up the pitch, near the opposition’s box.

This past season, Massimiliano Allegri often fielded Blaise Matuidi and Emre Can alongside Pjanic, and it often lead to uninspiring displays from the Italian giants. While both are accomplished professionals and offer something in their own right, neither has the ability to progress the ball in the final third and are limited as creators. The addition of Rabiot and Ramsey will go a long way in the final third without sacrificing defensive solidity, and is a good first step at rectifying the midfield.

Without counting excessive signing-on fees and agent bonuses involved in these deals, their acquisitions don’t take away from Juve’s existing budget, allowing them to bolster their side further. In recent times, Juventus have emerged as front-runners for Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, and are ready to table a 70 million euros bid for the defender. In addition, they are also offering the Dutchman 12 million euros a season, in order to fend off interest from PSG and Barcelona.

While de Ligt’s signing may not be directly linked to Rabiot and Ramsey’s arrivals, these free transfers definitely allowed Juventus to reallocate their budget towards the Dutchman and make him a priority once the opportunity presented itself.

Considering Manchester United are demanding upwards of 120 million euros for Pogba, and Lotito is playing hard-ball over the Serbian international, adding Rabiot on a bosman may prove to be the injection Juve needed in the midfield. After all, if it means they can also sign de Ligt, one of Europe’s elite defenders in addition to two midfielders, who says no?

It appears that Juventus, for the first time in four years, will be able to field a complete midfield capable of going toe-to-toe with Europe’s elite. And if de Ligt just happens to be behind them, all the better for Sarri and co.

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Agnelli’s wealth, League’s assembly and players’ soundbites

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Forbes recently released a list of the richest owners in football and the Agnelli family, which is obviously represented by the president of the club Andrea, are ranked fifth with a $15.9B net worth. They trail to Carlos Slim (Real Oviedo, $59.3B), Francois Pinault (Rennes, $31.7B), Mansour bin Zayd Al Nahyan (Manchester City, $23B), Dietrich Mateschitz (Red Bull teams, $18.9B), while they precede Roman Abramovich (Chelsea, $12.4B), Philip Anschutz (Los Angeles Galaxy, $11B), Stan Kroenke (Arsenal, $8.8B), Zhang Jindong (Inter, $6.8B), Dmitry Rybolovlev (Monaco, $6.8B) and Nasser Al-Khelaifi (PSG, $6.2B). Continue reading

Opinion: Juventus can reload with Serie A players alone

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No matter what coach will be chosen, Juventus will have to address some glaring needs in the upcoming transfer market session, but they might be able to fill them with the usual modus operandi: plucking players from other Serie A teams. Here are some of the three biggest holes.

A heir to Giorgio Chiellini: the Old Lady had a good thing going in the first half of last season, where for a while they were able to rotate two well-assorted duos, Leonardo Bonucci-Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani-Chiellini, and go with Bonucci-Chiellini in the most demanding fixtures. Eventually, the Moroccan centre-back grew tired for the lack of consistent playing times and asked to leave and Martin Caceres was a temporary cheap patch. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 36

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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

Ronaldo expounds on weight of expectations and Pjanic hints at PSG

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Cristiano Ronaldo gave a wide-ranging interview to El Pais last week, providing an interesting peek into his mentality. He started by addressing the need to always prove his worth: “Sometimes it annoys and tires me, because every year I have to show that I am the best. It is difficult to have this kind of pressure where you to demonstrate something to the others, your family, your mother, your son and not just to yourself. This makes you active, you have to practice all the time, but there are moments where you would like to be left alone.”

On football: “I see it as a mission: I want to get on the pitch, win, improve. There were times where I just focused on dribbling past opponents, now there is more pressure, I am always scrutinized. People say that at 33/34 you are done, you should quit, but I want to surprise them.” Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 35

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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

Pjanic willing to stay but unsure of future

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Miralem Pjanic weighed in on the season and casted some doubt on his future in today’s interview with La Stampa. He started off by addressing the squad’s approach to the remaining fixtures: “We will have the same attitude we have always had and we will take the field the maximum amount of seriousness, trying to do our best. After drawing with Inter, we will attempt to win the next four games to make our fans happy. The Derby is a great source of motivation and we will do everything in our power to prevail.”

The Bosnian midfielder is currently undefeated against Torino and has managed to scored four times in 13 matches versus the Granata. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 34

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Like the previous game against Fiorentina, the Inter clash was again a tale of two halves, as the Bianconeri got off to a very lackadaisical start but improved as the game progressed and were able to grab the equalizer and legitimize it late in the second half.

Joao Cancelo: nobody really stood out in the back-line in this one, as it wobbled severely in the first 15 minutes, where the Nerazzurri nabbed an early lead with an impressive volley by Radja Nainggolan and had two legit more chances to score, but then turned it around. Wojciech Szczesny was imperfect on the goal, where he touched the ball but could not palm it away, but atoned later with two or three key saves. Continue reading