Allegri’s presser ahead of Juventus-Frosinone

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Massimiliano Allegri talked to the press earlier today ahead of the Frosinone game: “Cristiano Ronaldo will play, why would not he? You are and everybody else are obsessed with Champions League. I am not, we are lucky to play in a round of 16 game in a new stadium basically a week from now. We have to focus on defeating Frosinone, because it would bring us one fewer win away from our goal. Then we will focus on Atletico Madrid. They have won three times without conceding on the road, we must not forget what happened two years ago. You can only win matches on the pitch, we will need professional performance in order to prepare in the best possible way.” Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 24

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Juventus-Frosinone: the Bianconeri quickly bounced back in Sassuolo after the 3-3 draw with Parma and have won four times in the last five fixtures, fortifying their lead in the standings. The Ciociari have been pesky recently and they are coming off a surprise win over Sampdoria, their second in a row on the road, and they are now within striking distance from the 17th spot. With Champions League just around the corner, Cristiano Ronaldo might be rested for the second time in Serie A, which would mean more scoring opportunities for Mario Mandzukic, Federico Bernardeschi and Paulo Dybala, or whoever will compose the front-line. Continue reading

Juventus looking for ways to bring in cash

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Juventus are trying to solidify the balance sheets after the mammoth investment for Cristiano Ronaldo and, after the board of directors had approved it yesterday, the club announced the placement of €175M non-convertible bond due on February 19, 2024. The notes will be issued at a 99.434% price and will pay a fixed annual coupon of 3.375% and will be listed in the Global Exchange Market of Euronext Dublin.

Per the official statement, the decision aims at “providing resources for its general corporate purposes, streamlining the structure and the maturity of the debt.” The transaction attracted order in excess of €250M, receiving demands from Asia, Germany, France, UK and Italy. Continue reading

Juventus announce Ramsey and Paratici discusses transfer market topics

ramsey

Eleven days after the end of the January transfer market window, Juventus announced the signing of Aaron Ramsey for next summer, which was secured weeks, if not months, ago. The Bosman move will cost the club only €3.7M in agents’ fees, while the midfielder has penned a four-year contract, with a reported €7M salary.

Ramsey has been a regular at Arsenal since 2010 and racked up 359 appearances with the Gunners, scoring 61 goals and providing 64 assists. In London, he has won the FA Cup and the Community Shield three times. The 28-year-old will be the third Welsh in the history of the Bianconeri after John Charles in the late 50’s and Ian Rush in the 80’s. Continue reading

Allegri Must Make Amends With Dybala

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With Juventus entering a crucial stretch in their season, Massimiliano Allegri must put aside his differences with Paulo Dybala and find a place for him in his lineup. Immediately. 

When the bianconeri took on Parma last weekend, La Joya was left on the bench and stormed off in frustration after Allegri used his third and final substitute. The former Palermo man has since apologized for his outburst and was constrained to the sidelines once more in Juventus’ most recent win against Sassuolo, coming on in the 83rd minute.

This season, Dybala has seen a change in his role and has typically operated from deeper, as per Allegri’s instructions. The Juventus tactician even went so far as to dub him a “box-to-box” midfielder in a press-conference earlier this season. Adapting to a completely new role, Dybala has experienced some growing pains and has struggled to influence games from the midfield.

All too often, the 25-year-old wanders wide in hopes of carving out space for himself. What this leads to, however, is Dybala getting less touches near the opposition’s goal and far less chances to use his creativity to dictate play.

With Ronaldo occupying the sole striker position, it doesn’t leave much room for the Argentine international in the final third. Factor in Mario Mandzukic’s importance and ability to combine with the former Real Madrid star, and you quickly realize Dybala is an awkward fit in Allegri’s current setup. While the obvious solution would be to field Dybala behind Mandzukic and Ronaldo, it would take away from the Croatian’s aerial threat – something Juventus could ill afford.

Since being fielded on the left wing, Mandzukic has been able to bully the opposition’s fullback and take advantage of the notable height difference to head home crucial goals. Fielding him centrally again would make the former Bayern Munich man face off in the air against centre-backs and would reduce his aerial presence. This season, Mandzukic has been immense for the bianconeri and has established himself as their big-game player, scoring against Napoli, Inter, Milan, Roma and Lazio. Moving him positions at this point in the season would not only be detrimental to his game, but to Juventus’ overall play. So where does all this leave Dybala?

Over the course of his career, the Juventus playmaker has been at his most dangerous playing behind a striker as a trequartista. In this role, he’s capable of playing between the opposition’s lines and play off his teammate. Last year, Dybala scored 22 goals in league play when playing alongside Higuain – something that Allegri should not banish from his memory just yet.

Juventus v SSC Napoli - Serie A

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Allegri talks ahead of Sassuolo-Juventus

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Coach Massimiliano Allegri begun by addressing the talk of the week, which was Paulo Dybala leaving the bench early against Parma: “He apologized and it was the only right thing to do since he is an intelligent guy. The club gave him the no.10, which is a big responsibility, and he is the vice-captain. His behavior was not aligned to that, but he understood and the case is closed.”

On Dybala’s role: “It has not changed, it is just a matter of skills of who plays alongside him. Cristiano Ronaldo is different from Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic. He has always had few chances, even though he did not score. He plays in the same position, it is not like he is used as fullback. He has always been involved in the build-up of the action and always tried to finish it as well. 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 Predictions – Round 22

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Napoli-Sampdoria: the Partenopei had a disappointing two-game meeting with Milan, as they did not manage to beat them in the weekend and then got got in Coppa Italia. They are undefeated at home, where they have won four games in a row, often scoring multiple goals. The Blucerchiati are coming off a thumping against Udinese, their fourth W in the last six fixtures and they lost only to Juventus since the beginning of December. While Lorenzo Insigne is stuck in a prolonged drought, Arek Milik has done most of the damage for the Azzurri up front, with Dries Mertens chipping in from time to time and some contribution from José Callejon, Marek Hamsik and Piotr Zielinski, but not in a consistent way. Continue reading

Serie A Top Performers – Coppa Italia Quarter-Finals

Soccer: Italy's Cup; Atalanta - Juventus

Juventus this time could not overcome their own struggles in all the facets of the game and got deservedly eliminated by Atalanta in the round of eight of Coppa Italia, which they had won in the previous four editions. A very pedestrian showing that ends the often manifested target of winning the treble and represents an alarming signal for the challenges ahead.

Alex Sandro: when you give up three goals, clearly no defenders performed well. Sandro was the only who did not actively took part in one of the goals, two caused by misplaced passes by Joao Cancelo and Mattia De Sciglio, while Daniele Rugani and Wojciech Szczesny did not look great in the second one. A two-minute black-out at the end of the first half, the Bianconeri were unable to recover from. The squad had already started off poorly, but the back-line in particular was plagued by mental mistakes after Giorgio Chiellini was forced out of the game by a calf injury. The officials might have to revisit their stance about not signing a centre-back.

Sami Khedira: again the three-man midfield looked completely idea-less without Miralem Pjanic leading them and the situation did not change when he got into the game. Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi spent the night chasing after the much more energetic Atalanta players and, alongside the rest of the ball club, were very sloppy in the passing game. The German world champion did not perform much better, but he had one of the few chances with a header on a corner.

Federico Bernardeschi: he was almost the only one who tried to drag the team out of its funk, making plays in multiple positions, but without being effective. At least he put in a modicum of effort in a game where the squad just did not have it. Paulo Dybala had a slew of turnovers and was thrown around by the opponents all night long. In the last couple of games it was evident why the coach prefers Cristiano Ronaldo wide, as it become too easily to engulf him and cut off the feeds for him when he is surrounded by centre-back. Douglas Costa was affected by the general apathy and imprecision of his teammates. It is the first time this season that the front-line fails to score a goal and it is the first loss on the road in a domestic game since 2017.

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Allegri on the Atalanta game: “Who makes fewer mistakes will advance”

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Coach Massimiliano Allegri talked to the press today ahead of the Coppa Italia clash with Atalanta and begun by updating on the injured players: “Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira are available, while I will evaluate Mario Mandzukic today, but he looks very good. Juan Cuadrado and Andrea Barzagli are out. Leonardo Bonucci will miss time too, but his injury is less severe than anticipated, so we hope to have him back as soon as possible. There will be some changes tomorrow, somebody will rest.”

On the defence: “We have four centre-backs and one of them is hurt, Medhi Benatia left. Martin Caceres is finalizing his transfer and if everything goes well he will be there tomorrow. Daniele Rugani has not played much thus far, Mattia De Sciglio can move to the middle if necessary. We will take it one game at a time.” Continue reading