Juventus bring back Gianluigi Buffon

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Just a year after an emotional sendoff, Gianluigi Buffon is back in Turin. The legendary goalkeeper has agreed to a contract till June 2020 and will back up Wojciech Szczesny, reversing the roles from the 2017/2018 campaign. His signing will lead to the exit of Mattia Perin, who will move on to be a starter elsewhere.

Buffon had an up-and-down year in Paris, splitting time with Alphonse Areola on goal: he totaled 25 appearances, conceding 25 goals and keeping nine clean sheets. The French club won the league title, but fell short in the Champions League against Manchester United in the round of 16.  Continue reading

Klopp and Sarri address Juventus rumours and Szczesny has surgery

Maurizio Sarri

Jurgen Klopp and Maurizio Sarri, two candidates for the Bianconeri job, were asked about it yesterday; the Liverpool manager replied: “Serie A is very attractive league, but all the rumours of the last few days linking me to Juventus are rubbish. There is no truth to them: I would never leave Liverpool, there are no reasons to. Italy is a nice country and Serie A is a good league that I know and find interesting.”

The former Napoli coach was instead coyer: “I just want to focus about the Europa League final, I have two years left on my contract with Chelsea, so I will have to speak with the club first, but now it is not the moment. We want to win. I do not think its result will impact my future, the judgement on a coach can not change based on one game.” In the last week, he has been considered the clear frontrunner by the Italian press. Continue reading

Dybala wishes to stay and Allegri’s presser

dybala

Paulo Dybala talked to the journalist at an Adidas event yesterday, backtracking from his brother recent remark’s about being unhappy at Juventus: “He speaks for himself. I have discussed with Fabio Paratici, he knows that I want to continue playing with Juventus. Then it is not up to me, the management will make his choices based on the new coach’s ideas, but I want to stay.”

On the new coach: “I believe even the executives do not even know yet, I hope he will be a great one in order to win everything. That is the most important thing, then the fans want to see good football and few managers are capable in that area. We have thanked and greeted Massimiliano Allegri, we are very grateful for what he has done.” Continue reading

Paratici, Barzagli and Allegri comment after winning awards

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Juventus’ coaching search rages on in Italy and the sporting director Fabio Paratici chimed in after receiving the Gentleman’s award: “We need to be patient, we are making our evaluations, but we have clear ideas in mind. I feel the pressure from the fans, but it is really a pleasure. I am a supporter first and then an executive. Players like Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Andrea Pirlo are heroes, they are the champions I was the most attached to. I think this accolade suits my club in every aspect, from the first team to the youth ones. I have had the massive fortune of working in a top club, where there are big possibilities and you get to work with great footballers.” Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 37

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In the Atalanta game, Juventus managed to defend home court with the help of a strong second half and a futuristic line-up, closing the season undefeated at the Stadium.

Wojciech Szczesny: the defense was subpar, which has been the case since the title was clinched, especially on set pieces, which is were Josip Ilicic punished the Old Lady. The goals could have been more if the Polish goalkeeper did not have few great saves: on Remo Freuler and Duvan Zapata’s attempts in the first half and on wicked free kick by the Slovenian attacker in the second half. Andrea Barzagli struggled to keep up with the Colombian striker, but far younger centre-backs have done the same this year and obviously it does not take anything away from his terrific services over the year. Alex Sandro had a rough day at the office and had to be taken out to avoid a red card, as he was too foul prone. Joao Cancelo benefitted from the squad’s offensive mentality and brought his crossing and playmaking to the table. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – UCL Quarterfinals Return Leg

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Juventus disappeared in the second half and got played off the park by the hipster Ajax, once again ending the European campaign in bitter fashion.

Wojciech Szczesny: he kept the Bianconeri from drowning even earlier after intermission with two stunning saves, firstly on a one-on-one with Hakim Ziyech, where he stayed up until the very last possible moment and perfectly stabbed his arm out, then a great dive to pull a Donny Van De Beek curled shot out of the top drawer. An outstanding bulwark, but ultimately the goalie can do only so much when the opponents create so many chances and the two goals where a bit random and uncatchable. It is hard not to get bamboozled from Ajax’s quick passing game in narrow spaces and while the back-line obviously struggled as a whole, no defenders had blatant mistakes and mostly paid the price for the squad being unable to control the ball and the rhythm. They got run over by a much more energetic side. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Juventus vs Milan

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Few tilts were high-scoring and intense up until the final whistle in this round and Juventus-Milan was the most meaningful one out of the bunch. The Bianconeri came into the game looking to get closer or possibly clinch the title with an advantageous combination of results that would have to start with a win, while the Devil were seeking to rebound after three unsatisfactory results, as they had recently lost to Sampdoria and Inter and tied with Udinese.

The Old Lady recuperated and started both Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, but opted to rest Giorgio Chiellini and Miralem Pjanic. Continue reading

Cagliari game fallout, Mandzukic renews and Szczesny speaks

KEAN(1)

The events during the Cagliari game had a big echo throughout the football worlds, with few players coming in the support of Moise Kean and scolding Leonardo Bonucci, who said that the starlet shared some of the blame for his celebration. The centre-back then backtracked on an Instagram post. The sports judge will issue his ruling on Friday, but today’s Gazzetta dello Sport anticipates that the Sardinia Arena will not be disqualified and that Cagliari will get away with a fine. The federal inspectors noted the racist chants only after the goal and deemed them as a reaction to a provocation, even though some videos evidenced that some slurs preceded it. Furthermore, they said their was contained to 40-50 people, which caps the punishment according to the rules. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 29

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Wojciech Szczesny: the Juventus back-line has not been super robust in the last few games, so they will be looking to course correct against Empoli, which have had troubles producing on the road.

Jens Larsen: Udinese could benefit from the new coach’s bump against Genoa, which is not a particularly productive side anyway, while the Zebrette posted okay numbers at home. The fullback has often been able to pick up bonus points at the Friuli stadium. Continue reading

Ranking the ten best keepers in Serie A this season

 

Here‘s a ranking of the ten best keepers in Serie A this season- the criteria is strictly performances in league play, not reputation nor ability

 

Gianluigi-Donnarumma

Gigio Donnarumma

When you consider how long he has been in our lives, it’s hard to believe that Milan’s keeper is just twenty years old. After a very tumultuous season following a very acrimonious negotiation for his contract extension. Donnarumma has fully rebounded and is now the gold standard at the position in Serie A especially when you consider his improvements with ball distribution.

Along with Romagnoli, Donnarumma is the main reason Milan’s defense has been the best in Serie A in 2019. In addition to his performances for the rossoneri, Donnarumma has fully established himself as the heir to Gigi Buffon on the Azzurri- no easy feat.

ACF Fiorentina v Torino FC - Serie A

 

Salvatore Sirigu

The former Paris St Germain keeper broke Torino’s record for longest streak without conceding a goal, a very impressive achievement if you know about Torino’s history. While it’s easier to get excited for younger keepers and Sirigu doesn’t get much attention because Torino isn’t a sexy team like Atalanta or even Sampdoria, he has consistently been in conversation for best keeper in Serie A performance wise even before his impressive recent streak.

 

Alessio Cragno

Cagliari’s keeper has been a staple of the Italian national’s team youth teams in recent years despite facing significant competition at his position and in his second season as a full time starter in Serie A, he has more than lived up to the hype.

What Cragno may lack in height (at least compared to the other top keepers in the league) he more than makes up with his reflexes and positioning- because of his body type and ability, he has been compared to former Juventus keeper Angelo Peruzzi. Cragno is ready to take the next step at a big club and could be a target for both Roma where he could be an immediate starter next season and Inter where he could be more of a long term replacement for Handanovic.

 

Emil Audero 

After making name for himself at Venezia in Serie B last season, the former Juventus youth team product has excelled at Sampdoria after replacing veteran Emiliano Viviano. Audero’s performances for Marco Giampaolo’s side have already caught the eye of Arsenal, who have scouted him multiple times after hitting a homerun with Lucas Torreira who arrived to London from Sampdoria.

While a lot was made about Ferrero’s club spending twenty million euro to acquire him on a permanent basis from Juventus last week, anyone who watched him regularly is much less outraged than say the fees paid for Sturaro and Cerri- considering Audero’s age and ability, he could be sold for a considerably amount in the near future.

 

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Woj Szczesny

It might surprise those who mainly know him from his time at Arsensal, but there’s no doubt the Polish international has been one of the best keepers in Italy the past four years. The main reason he isn’t higher in this ranking is that this specific season his best performances have come in the Champions League, but he has erased any doubt he’s a worthy heir to Buffon at Juventus and he has decisively won his current competition with newly acquired Mattia Perin.

 

Luigi Sepe

 

After appearing in just one Serie A match the past three seasons, the former Napoli keeper has exceled at Parma. Sepe is a bit of a late bloomer since he’ll turn 28 at the beginning of May, but his performances for D’Aversa’s side have been as impactful of Gervinho and as a result he’s ready to be a starter for years to come.

 

Samir Handanovic 

 

After years of being underrated (at least outside of Serie A) mainly because he had never played in the Champions League or the starter on a high profile national team, maybe I’m taking Inter’s new captain for granted with this rating. But Handanovic has continued to be the definition of a feast or famine keeper, he can make saves that maybe no one else on the list can get to but is also the leader of mistakes that are reminiscent of when the battery of the controller on your PS4 runs out of juice mid game.

 

Alex Meret 

Napoli’s keeper would certainly be either third or fourth on this list had he not missed so many games to start the season because of a shoulder injury. Ancelotti has rightfully been cautious since he returned by rotating him with Ospina, but despite not playing in every match, the former Udinese keeper has shown why Italy’s Under 19 goalkeeper coach Ferron once said he considers Meret just as good a prospect as Donnarumma. Meret was  picked to replace Pepe Reina at Napoli also because of his ball distribution skills and so far has shown he’ll be a much better shot stopper than his predecessor in the near future (if he isn’t already).

Stefano Sorrentino

Chievo maybe dead last in the standings but that is certainly not because of the performances of their soon to be 40 year old keeper. Sorrentino was the first keeper to stop one of Ronaldo’s penalties and will certainly be able to find a job in Serie A next season should he decide to keep playing.

 

Alban Lafont

Those who only know the French keeper from FIFA must be surprised to see him ranked this low, but while Lafont has certainly made many numerous spectacular saves since arriving in Tuscany, he has also shown some significant limitations in every aspect of his role outside of shot stopping (he’s essentially the French Mattia Perin). But considering his young age and physical tools we can expect him to improve significantly next season.