Empoli president Fabrizio Corsi confirmed the recent buzz about Juventus being hot on the trails of Hamed Traore in an interview to Tuttomercatoweb: “The deal is on the homestretch, only the signatures are missing but everything has been defined and we gave our word. In January, he was a kid with a high potential, in the last five months he became a player with a very important future. Right now, he is a complimentary piece for big teams, but I believe he is destined to have a fantastic career because he is at 70/80 percent of his technical and physical abilities right now. His smartness is off the charts and the rest of his game will eventually catch up to it.” Continue reading
Juventus ended the season with a loss against Sampdoria following yet another subpar perfomance where the lack of motivation played a big factor. The Bianconeri therefore finish the 2018/2019 campaign with 90 points, four losses, all on the road and two of them in the last month, an 11-point gap over the second-placed team Napoli, the best statistical defence (30 goals allowed) and the third most prolific attack (behind the Partenopei and Atalanta).
Mattia De Sciglio: nobody really impressed in the back-line, or in the whole squad to be really honest, but at least the ex-Milan fullback was not among those duped by Gregoire Defrel on the first Blucerchiato goal and added a pair of decent forays on offense that led to semi-dangerous situations. Martin Caceres had a similar showing on the other flank minus the okay contribution on the other end. Continue reading
Massimiliano Allegri talked to the press earlier today: “I will meet with the president next week. What has been written in these last few days amuses me because I wonder what would have they done to me if I did not take home any trophy. Maybe they would have burned or impaled me. I am used to it, it is part of the game, it shakes things up a little otherwise there would not be much to talk about regarding Juventus. We will discuss everything with the chairman. I had told him before the second leg with Ajax that I would stay.”
“It has happened every season, there is more buzz now because we were eliminated early in Champions League, maybe somebody thought we would have an easier path. The summit has not been postponed, it will go down earlier than usual. It does not make sense to speak now about what will happen there.” Continue reading
Juventus: Paulo Dybala (calf), Rodrigo Bentancur (thigh), Emre Can (thigh) and Alex Sandro have resumed practicing fully and therefore should be available on Sunday, while Douglas Costa (calf) and Daniele Rugani (thigh) will not come back this week. Federico Bernardeschi is suspended. Moise Kean is out with the flu, Leonardo Bonucci with a bruised ankle.
Napoli: David Ospina is on personal leave to tend to a personal matter in Colombia. Nikola Maksimovic (toe) is slated to remain on the shelf, while Amadou Diawara (foot) got in a full practice after a long time, so he might be called up. Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Adam Ounas have been surprisingly ruled out due to small ailments.
The injury bug continues to hit Juventus: Alex Sandro bowed out of the last game and was diagnosed with a thigh pull, which puts his presence in serious jeopardy for Friday’s Derby with Torino. Coach Massimiliano Allegri also stated post-game that the fullback has been playing through a toe fracture for a while, which would explain his subpar performances in the last period. On the same front, Sami Khedira underwent an arthroscopic clean-up surgery of the right knee yesterday in Augsburg, performed by the doctor Uli Beonisch. He is fully expected to be ready for the beginning of offseason activities. Continue reading
Massimiliano Allegri held the traditional pre-game presser today: “We do not feel scrutinized. We had a good game in Ferrara, Juventus-Inter is always important. We will play in front of 70k people in a marvelous stadium, we will try to do our best to come away with a satisfying result. We can not have gaffes, we are Juventus, we aim to make more points and have some stimulating fixtures coming up.”
On the meeting with Andrea Agnelli: “Our motivation will be the same as previous years. We will plan to create new goals growing-wise for everybody involved and to be as competitive as we should be. We will analyze what went well and what poorly. You need to evaluate the seasons properly in order to lay the foundations to be successful in the future. We have not set a date, there have been some holidays after the Fiorentina game. We are already ahead of schedule since we usually sat down in June.” Continue reading
What was left of Juventus after the abundant rotation was not enough to nab the final point needed to seal the Scudetto race in this round, despite an okay performance especially the first half.
Joao Cancelo: he was one of the most active Bianconeri out there and served as a big creator since he had a lot of room to attack as wing back. He set up Moise Kean’s goal with a shot that seemed destined to finish wide, but was rerouted in the net by his teammate. There is still some sloppiness in his defensive game, but it feels like he is finally rounding back into form. Continue reading
A rather uninspiring Juventus display in Amsterdam still led to a positive result ahead of the second leg.
Daniele Rugani: something close to a coming out party for the young defender, who did not shake in his boots in his first Champions League elimination game and was very precise in most of his reads despite adversaries putting the back-line under intense pressure. It is always recommendable to have Giorgio Chiellini in any kind of scenario, but this is not the worst match-up for Rugani’s skillset. Leonardo Bonucci had a pretty clean performance too, but that is what is expected from him. Continue reading
Juventus-Milan: the Bianconeri are coming off a convincing outing in Cagliari, where they notched their second shutout win in a row and in general their seventh victory in the last eight fixtures. On the other hand, the Rossoneri failed to take home the full loot for three matches in a row as they lost to Inter and Sampdoria and then tied with Udinese. The Old Lady is likely to have back both Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala for this game, while Cristiano Ronaldo is slated to sit one more out. Some players could be spared in the Ajax game, in any case Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi are in terrific form and have lead them scoring-wise. Continue reading
Emiliano Viviano (7 points): he contributed to SPAL’s impressive victory with a solid save on a Ciro Immobile’s shot and a rather lucky rejection with the help of the post on Lucas Leiva point-blank attempt.
Merih Demiral (13 points): he almost ruined a perfect night with a silly penalty foul late, but Emanuele Giaccherini missed and so his fantasy haul remains the best of the season for a defenders thanks to two outstanding headers.
Leonardo Bonucci (9 points): a commanding performance by the Juventus defense in Cagliari and the veteran centre-back embellished it with a great header on a corner kick.
Pol Lirola (7 points): a dominating performance for the energetic fullback, who was no match for the opponents on the right flank and set up two goals for Sassuolo
Josip Ilicic (10 points): he single-handedly knocked out Bologna in the span of ten minutes, punishing them with two venomous lefty strikes and then teeing up Hans Hateboer three-nothing goal. Continue reading