Fan Zone: Alberto on Baggio, Del Piero, Buffon and more!

As a big Juventus fan, Alberto is known for his extensive collection of Juve kits and for being extremely active in promoting Juve related events and podcasts on social media, specifically Twitter.

You can follow Alberto @alljuvecast and don’t forget to check out @striped_hearts too! Let’s not waste too much time and get to the exciting part with the Q&A below:

1) Who are your THREE all-time favorite Juve players, and why? 

Alessandro Del Piero: He really solidified my love and passion for Juve. He mesmerized me with his play and scored so many captivating goals and was an absolute pleasure to watch. With time he repaid the club with incredible gestures of loyalty- a value that is fading in the modern game but one that I admire a lot.

Roberto Baggio: He is the one who began my love for Juve. An absolutely and incredibly talented player- arguably the best Italian to ever player the game. My dad used to rewind his goals and watch them over and over in disbelief. I remember sitting there with him and then beginning to pretend I was him when I played in the yard.

Gianluigi Buffon: I was over the moon when we signed him and the rest is history. So many matches. So many memories. The absolute best goalkeeper in my opinion and one hell of a man. Another whose loyalty shall never be forgotten, specifically when he could’ve gone anywhere to play. So many incredible saves and his unforgettable reactions to defenders making a stop or our team scoring a goal! All of them are embedded in my brain forever. He is top class. We are incredibly fortunate as Juve fans to witness all three of them wearing our kit.


2) From the current squad, please rank your favorite Juve player by position (DEF, MID & STR), and mention why for each pick?

DEF: My pick would be Chiellini. He still has this presence that is yet to be matched by someone when he is out of our lineup. The team did well while he was out but it’s not the same. We have done great by signing de Ligt as well as Merih Demiral but currently for me in defense Chiellini would be a go to in a crucial match if healthy. I can see Demiral as the closest one today to having the same type of presence and the one defender that forwards will dread having to face.

MID: Going with Bentancur. I really enjoy the way he plays. Head is always on a swivel and he is always looking to advance the play. Has a great engine and gets stuck in tackles too. He has the occasional sloppy fouls leading to cards but he is still very young and I feel his ceiling is quite high and I’m excited about him.

STR: Dybala is my pick. My personal favorite in the forward lineup as amazing as it is to watch Ronaldo in our lineup and to see him scoring goals (still surreal at times), I would still go with Dybala. He is so talented and fun to watch but even more importantly he loves the club and is proud to wear our kit, represent Juve and also the number 10.

3) Now onto a question many would like to hear your answer to: Would you pick Roberto Baggio or Del Piero for your team, and why?

This is killing me… and there is no wrong answer with these two, but if I could have Del Piero pre-injury I would pick him because I feel he would’ve been the one the upcoming greats would always be compared to. If you watch him before that injury- took him a year to recover from- he was a different animal. He had it all. The acceleration, pace, agility and he could kill you with creativity and distribution as well as scoring himself on top being an absolute master of free-kicks. A pre-injury Del Piero at a time when Serie A was stacked with talent, particularly defenders, was an absolute menace and I would take him.


4) Dybala is having a solid season after a disappointing 2018/19 campaign. Where do you see him finishing this season in terms of total goals & assists in the league? And how important is he to Juve’s success?

I think Dybala would finish somewhere around 16 or so goals and close to same or just a bit higher on assists depending on game time. I’m not really sure what he needs to do to get in the starting XI on a regular basis. Dybala in my opinion is highly important to Juve’s success. We know our midfield has been a work in progress so Dybala’s ability to switch play and link up with the midfielders and other attackers is crucial as well as his own ability to finish given the opportunity.

5) Name your all-time favorite Juve match, and why?

My favorite match has to be the second leg of the 2002/03 Champions League semi-final vs Real Madrid. This is one of my absolute favorite Juventus squads ever. That 02/03 squad had it all and could hurt you in so many different ways. That Juve side had to face an incredibly talented Real Madrid side on top of being behind to Real after the first leg.

Still, Juve’s players were not intimidated or going to go down without a fight and as talented and strong as a team the Bianconeri were, I think of how dominant Lippi’s team was on that night. It was still a little bit surprising. I knew my Juve could do it but to dominate them like that was unbelievable. That win in Turin. The goals and the celebrations were iconic and I still get goosebumps watching it 17 years later. Just an absolute must watch for any new Juve fan.

6) Which Juve win is the most important one in your life-time? And why?

For me it is the 1996 Champions League win. Despite how many times we’ve made it to the Champions League finals, you just can’t take it for granted and getting to see Juve win one is something that will stay with me forever.

7) What is Juve’s objective for this season? Is it Serie A, the Champions League or both? 

I would say both and I think it has to be when you are that dominant domestically naturally the next step is Europe.

8) If football resumes, will Juve overturn the result against Lyon? How confident are you?

There’s no doubt in my mind Juve will turn it around. 100% confident we are moving on.

9) Which one team would you like Juve to avoid meeting in the knock-out stages of the Champions League before reaching the Final?

I would like to avoid Bayern Munich. They were playing some electric football before the shut down and they’re scoring a lot of goals. They’ve found their groove and are scoring at will and have Lewandowski on fire. I’d like to avoid them.

10) Which one team would you like Juve to avoid playing if the Bianconeri make it to the final?

Not a single team. The next final Juve make, they are winning it all! Fino alla Fine, Forza Juve!

Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon decisive in Scudetto Triumph

You could be forgiven for thinking Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon has yet to turn 30 years old. However, the sad reality is Buffon turned 38-years-old in January. It is sad because football fans will soon lose sight of one of the world’s best goalkeepers ever. Buffon will likely retire after World Cup 2018 as he has hinted on more than one occasion.

Hunger, pride and dedication are but some of the elements driving Buffon and keeping him going even at this advanced football age. It is hard to pinpoint one particular save or one specific performance as Buffon’s ultimate display due to the fact the Italian legend has outdone himself on several occasions.


While the World Cup 2006 triumph most likely stands as Buffon’s greatest achievement due to a number of factors, winning the 2015-16 Serie A title ranks among his dearest, if not the most special one. Buffon himself stressed this Scudetto meant more to him than any of the previous four consecutive titles. For starters, this is a historic and record tying 5th consecutive Scudetto triumph for Buffon with the Bianconeri. In doing so, Buffon’s Juve tied the club’s own record and that of the famous Torino side (though Torino’s 5 Scudetti were not in consecutive years due to interruption by World War II).

However, the most remarkable feat achieved by Juve on the way to defending the league title has been the astounding turnaround following the dismal start to the 2015-16 campaign. Languishing near bottom after several Serie A rounds, the Old Lady pulled herself together and mounted a tremendous challenge defeating all but one opponent in the last 25 rounds of league football. Juve gathered 73 out of a possible 75 points since the Sassuolo defeat. The rest is history as they say.

Football fans have now grown accustomed to hearing about Juve’s wins this season and, not surprisingly, the Bianconeri victories have coincided with Buffon’s heroics. Without stressing too much on the stats, one reference must be made to Buffon’s record of not conceding a goal in Serie A for 974 minutes! In doing so, he broke a record which stood for 22 years. Buffon also holds another Serie A record as he kept 10 consecutive clean sheets.

Nevertheless, his greatest contribution might have come via an action he took off the pitch. Buffon’s statements following the loss to Sassuolo triggered a reaction by the squad. Despite being extremely disappointed, he was both firm and fiery: “Talking about the referee all the time is what losers do and we do not stoop to that level. We wear the Juventus shirt and must do it justice.” This is coming from Buffon who has been proud to wear the Bianconeri shirt and who was committed to Juve despite being demoted to Serie B in 2006.

Buffon did not just issue a statement or throw words around, but actually backed up his famous declaration with hard work and commitment. He was great against Torino when Juve snatched a late win in the Turin derby thanks to on-loan Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado.


There are several games during which Buffon was decisive and there are certainly numerous moments when he saved Juve from conceding goals. For the 2015-16 season, Buffon’s record stands at 34 games played in Serie A, during which he kept an impressive 20 clean sheets while conceding only 17 goals.

It could be said that fate was determined to highlight Buffon’s importance to the Juventus cause when the Bianconeri traveled to Florence to take on Fiorentina in a highly charged atmosphere. He not only saved a last minute penalty-kick but also the follow-up!

While LA Lakers and NBA legend Kobe Bryant struggled for much of his farewell season before capping it by his remarkable 60 point performance against the Utah Jazz in his last official game, Buffon, at the age of 38, has been playing at a consistently high level and breaking records while enjoying some peak performances and winning trophies.

To outline how remarkable his 2015-16 campaign has been, it would not be inaccurate to state Buffon is perhaps having the best season of his career!


Juventus edge closer to a Historic Fifth Consecutive Scudetto!

Juventus recorded an impressive 3-0 win over Lazio with rising star Paulo Dybala scoring a brace. Juve could have easily finished the match with double the final score and Dybala could have had a hat-trick, yet what matters the most for the Bianconeri and their coach Massimiliano Allegri is the fact the team secured another three points in the march towards the Scudetto.

Juventus - Napoli

It has been a remarkable turnaround for Juve with the team struggling in the relegation zone during the earlier weeks of the 2015-16 season. Injuries were quite detrimental for a young team trying to defend its league title not to mention the fact there were several new faces, including new hero Dybala, German midfielder Sami Khedira, experienced Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic, promising defender Daniele Rugani as well as explosive Brazilian full-back Alex Sandro.

While the veterans such as club legend Gianluigi Buffon, versatile midfielder Claudio Marchisio, and ever-improving defender Leonardo Bonucci along with his fellow defensive partner Andrea Barzagli have been instrumental in Juve’s revival, the new faces have been as important to Juve’s remarkable comeback.

Dybala has already managed to score 16 goals in 31 league appearances (including 26 as a starter), Mandzukic has contributed 9 goals in 24 league appearances not to mention the countless times he tracked back to help defend, while on-loan signing Juan Cuadrado successfully played the role of a super-sub with four goals and five assists in Serie A. Cuadrado featured in 26 league games so far, of which as many as 12 appearances where as a substitute.

Paulo Dybala

Speaking of super subs, another new face Simone Zaza was decisive in the limited time he was afforded by coach Allegri. In Allegri’s defense, Zaza cannot be given a starting role when the likes of Dybala, Mandzukic & Alvaro Morata are all ahead in the pecking order and deservedly so. Zaza remains more of a passionate yet fiery and unpredictable player as witnessed by some of his rash tackles in most of his appearances and his sending-off against Genoa, a game Juve had to be alert to achieve a difficult 1-0 win. Zaza still had his fair share of contributions for the Juve case, particularly the winning goal against second place Napoli.

Juve’s season will soon be capped by a record-tying fifth consecutive Serie A title which will ensure the club’s place in the history books. Once achieved, Juve will become the first Italian side to win the Scudetto five times in a row on two occasions. However, this latest achievement will be more impressive considering Juve had to go through an overhaul in terms of players departing and joining Vinovo, as well as a host of injuries to key players including Khedira, Marchisio, Dybala, Mandzukic and particularly Giorgio Chiellini. There was also the health concern regarding Stephan Lichtsteiner with the Swiss defender sidelined for a month following a heart procedure to correct cardiac arrhythmia.


The beauty of Juve’s success lies in the fact this glorious comeback cannot be attributed to two or three individuals but rather to several team players as well as coach Allegri and the club’s management, particularly Giuseppe “Beppe” Marotta and the often overlooked Fabio Paratici.

Juve’s strength has often been defined by powerful words such as team effort and determination. This specific group of players under the guidance of Allegri has been the perfect example of working together as one unit while displaying grit and relentless commitment.

Juve could seal a well deserved Scudetto as early as Sunday, April 24th when they take on Fiorentina in a tricky encounter. How rewarding would it be if Juve guarantee this historic Scudetto in one of the most hostile environments, in Florence, and against one of the teams who were considerably ahead of the Bianconeri earlier in the season?


Può la Juventus ambire allo Scudetto?

Per la prima volta in stagione la Juventus ha centrato due vittorie consecutive, grazie ai successi nel derby con il Torino e nella partita fuori casa con l’Empoli. Gli uomini di Allegri sono così risaliti in settima posizione, a meno 9 punti dal duo composto da Inter e Fiorentina che guida la classifica, alimentando le speranze di una rimonta, che fino ad un mese fa sembrava incredibile.  I bianconeri hanno cambiato marcia ad ottobre:  se nelle prime sei partite di campionato la “Vecchia Signora” ha raccolto il misero bottino di 5 punti, nelle successive sei ha conquistato 13 punti, inciampando solo contro il Sassuolo e bloccando sullo 0-0 la capolista Inter.  Il recupero degli infortunati, in primis quello di Khedira e Lichsteiner, la ritrovata verve di Pogba e la maggior incisività di Dybala hanno ridato energie ed entusiasmo ad un gruppo che tutti gli addetti ai lavori davano già per spacciato.  Pur essendo stato rivoluzionata da un mercato estivo controproducente, la rosa juventina rimane una delle più forti e complete in serie A.  Inoltre l’abitudine delle spina dorsale della squadra a competere per le prime posizioni e la voglia di vincere sempre e comunque – il marchio della storia juventina – sono fattori che potrebbero contribuire alla clamorosa rimonta.

Le prossimi 5 partite prima della pausa natalizia saranno determinanti per capire meglio il destino della Juventus a cominciare dalla sfida tra le mura amiche con il Milan a cui seguiranno altri incontri decisivi con la Lazio all’Olimpico e con la Fiorentina alla Juventus Stadium. Se i bianconeri dovessero  collezionare  tre vittorie, allora il discorso Scudetto si farebbe nuovamente interessante e non è escluso che la dirigenza potrebbe regalare ad Allegri un innesto nel mercato di gennaio per dare linfa alla difesa del titolo.  D’altronde, la proprietà è la prima a credere alla rimonta:  ”Da juventino credo tantissimo nello scudetto. Non mi preoccupano le situazioni momentanee, abbiamo vissuto fasi molto difficili in passato, ma la squadra ha sempre reagito con determinazione e cultura vincente. La Juve ha davanti un campionato ancora aperto e interessante, così come la Champions”, ha dichiarato Lapo Elkann. ”Con il Milan può essere la partita della svolta —  ha rincarato la dose Alessio Tacchinardi — la squadra può nutrirsi di quella vittoria per fare un filotto, ma qualcuno deve prendersi la responsabilità. Cuadrado e Dybala devono trascinare la squadra: non basta il 6, ci vogliono prestazioni da 8. Bisogna alzare l’asticella in attacco, solo così si può tornare sul treno Champions”.

Visto l’andamento altalenante delle prime della classe, se la Juventus continuerà  sulla scia delle ultime prestazioni rischia veramente di rientrare nella corsa per il titolo. Crederci non costa nulla.