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Socrates

JUVENTUS SEASON 2016-2017 (2)

1024 messaggi in questa discussione

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JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

   5zk2vt.png     1-4      2016.png

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Ventura: 'Final doesn't cancel season'

 

231513905-ec3f45ec-f18e-4637-9aff-1c1b05

 

http://www.football-italia.net/103644/ventura-final-doesnt-cancel-season

 

 

Jun 4, 2017

 

Giampiero Ventura tried to reassure the Juventus players as they arrive for international duty. “90 minutes cannot cancel out an entire season.”

 

The Bianconeri flew back to Turin this afternoon and were greeted at the airport by fans cheering them on, despite last night’s 4-1 Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in Cardiff.

 

“I don’t think Italian football seems any less impressive after Cardiff,” insisted the Italy Coach in his Press conference.

 

“The fact they reached the Final unbeaten and conceding only three goals was extraordinary and 90 minutes cannot cancel out an entire season.

 

“It was a game that they lost and that has to be accepted. Last night I saw the comments of President Andrea Agnelli and I fully agree with him. It was an extraordinary year and they just missed the icing on the cake.

 

“In a way, losing the Final creates the kind of determination that helps them try to win the trophy again. Great champions always give a great response.”

 

The Juventus players, including captain Gigi Buffon, will arrive for international duty between tonight and tomorrow ahead of a friendly with Uruguay on Wednesday and the World Cup qualifier with Liechtenstein on June 11.

 

“I will see the Juve players tomorrow. I don’t know what I’ll say to them, but there’s no problem. One game does not change a career. I expect the Bianconeri to arrive in good shape physically and above all fired up, as that can be positive for us.

 

“The Uruguay match might only be a friendly, but it could help us climb the FIFA ranking and therefore get a better draw in tournaments.”

 

There were dramatic scenes in Turin during the Final, as a firework sparked a bomb scare and stampede in the fanzone at Piazza San Carlo, leading to 1,527 injuries, two of them critical.

 

“The Nazionale is close to the family of that poor child and all those injured in Piazza San Carlo. What happened last night is down to the moment in history. A firework can seem like a bomb, a bomb seems like a terrorist attack, and therefore catastrophe.

 

“The world is going through a difficult time, as we saw last night in London.”

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JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

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Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Juve earn €109m from Europe

 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor juventus real madrid 1-4 mandzukic

 

http://www.football-italia.net/103651/juve-earn-€109m-europe

 

 

Jun 4, 2017

 

Juventus lost the Champions League Final to Real Madrid, but still earned more from the tournament this season than any other club: €109m.

 

The Bianconeri were beaten 4-1 in Cardiff last night and a victory would’ve generated income of €113m from UEFA, sponsors, TV rights and ticket sales.

 

Defeat proved to still be very lucrative indeed, as Calcio E Finanza note they pocketed €109m through their participation in the Champions League.

 

That’s more than any other club this season, as winners Real Madrid took home just €80.9m.

 

Juve are also the first side ever to break the €100m barrier for Champions League revenue.

 

This is largely due to the market pool, as there were only two Italian entrants this season, Roma going out in the preliminary round against Porto.

 

Juve only had to split the TV rights for Italy with Napoli, who were eliminated by Real Madrid in the Round of 16.

 

Napoli have also earned a great deal from their Champions League experience, picking up €65.7m.

 

In comparison, semi-finalists Atletico Madrid earned just €59.9m.

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swcy9l.png

 


 

 

JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

   5zk2vt.png     1-4      2016.png

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Khedira: 'Juve almost perfect'

 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor juventus real madrid 1-4 mandzukic

 

http://www.football-italia.net/103658/khedira-juve-almost-perfect

 

 

Jun 4, 2017

 

Sami Khedira insists Juventus “can look back on this campaign with pride, as we represented our colours in Europe in a near perfect way. We’ll be back next season!”

 

The Bianconeri were unbeaten and had conceded only one goal in the tournament, but lost the Final 4-1 to Real Madrid in Cardiff.

 

“Last night's defeat hurts us all! We wanted to win the Triple for Juventus and for our fans!” wrote the German midfielder on Instagram.

 

“We gave it our all! But it wasn't meant to be. Nevertheless we can look back on this campaign with pride. We represented our colours in Europe in a near perfect way and have led Juventus into a big final. Furthermore we have shown again that we're the number 1 in Italy.

 

“Congratulations to Zinedine Zidane and all my friends at Real Madrid for defending the title for the first time in the history of the Champions League!

 

“I can still promise one thing to our fans: We'll learn our lessons and be back again next season!” 

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swcy9l.png

 


 

 

JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

   5zk2vt.png     1-4      2016.png

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Marotta visits Turin stampede victims

 

114236914-e8aa6abc-0141-4cb8-b31c-39fdab

 

http://www.football-italia.net/103663/marotta-visits-turin-stampede-victims

 

 

Jun 4, 2017

 

Juventus director Beppe Marotta and Federation President Carlo Tavecchio visited the family of a child in critical condition after the fanzone stampede.

 

Around 20,000 were packed into Piazza San Carlo last night to watch the Champions League Final, but just after Real Madrid’s third goal there was a sudden noise, believed to be a firework.

 

This sparked a panic and stampede, which eventually left 1,527 people requiring treatment for injuries caused by the crush and broken glass.

 

There are three hurt seriously, two in a critical condition, including a child who has now been named as Kelvin, aged seven.

 

This evening, Juventus director general Marotta and FIGC chief Tavecchio visited the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin.

 

Kelvin is in an induced coma due to chest and head injuries, but they met with his family, offering comfort and help in these dramatic circumstances.

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swcy9l.png

 


 

 

JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

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Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Juventus stampede was 'prank'

 

 

http://www.football-italia.net/103667/juventus-stampede-was-prank

 

 

Jun 4, 2017

 

There are two young lads under investigation for sparking the stampede in the Juventus fanzone, as they reportedly pretended to be suicide bombers as a ‘prank.’

 

A loud noise in the crowd of 20,000 in Piazza San Carlo just after Real Madrid’s third goal in the Champions League Final suddenly created panic.

 

So soon after the suicide bombing in Manchester at the Ariana Grande concert, people assumed the worst and rushed towards the exits, which by all accounts were blocked off by metal gates.

 

There were 1,527 people who required treatment for injuries, most of them due to lacerations as they fell on to broken glass or were crushed by the wave of bodies.

 

Video footage of the incident has now been analysed and police identified two young lads, one in particular who seems to have created the chaos.

 

He was seen standing in the middle of the square with arms raised out by his side, wearing only a backpack and trousers.

 

It’s reported he was shouting something to make people think he was a suicide bomber and the crowd visibly ran in all directions, leaving him alone in the square.

 

His friends then tried to drag him away, perhaps realising the situation was rapidly getting out of hand.

 

According to reports in the Italian media this evening, the pair were interrogated and confessed it was just ‘a prank’ gone horribly wrong.

 

Of those injured, three are in critical condition, including a seven-year-old child called Kelvin who was revived at the scene.

 

He arrived in hospital in cardiac arrest and is currently in an induced coma for head and chest injuries.

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JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

   5zk2vt.png     1-4      2016.png

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

The aftermath of Juventus losing

another Champions League final

 

Juve, Allegri twitta e i tifosi si scatenano

 

http://www.blackwhitereadallover.com/2017/6/5/15737292/

juventus-real-madrid-2017-champions-league-final-reaction

 

 

Jun 5, 2017

 

When you’re talking to someone and you start your end of the conversation by saying something like, “I don’t want to sound [something], but...” you’ve pretty much pigeonholed yourself into sounding [something]. It’s usually not the way to begin. You’ve shown your cards. You’ve startled your audience into a corner, where they may become feral.

But that’s how I’m going to begin: I don’t want to sound sanctimonious, but some of the reactions from Juventus fans are beyond my understanding.

And I think I can understand a lot. I could understand anger and frustration and disappointment and emotional whiplash — after Mario Mandžukić scored, I screamed so loudly for so long that I was immediately horse, and not an hour later I couldn’t feel a thing; I’m sure I’m not alone in this — I could understand pride and questioning of the management and questioning of the players, but the one reaction for which I have no understanding or empathy is this:

I just can’t follow this team anymore.

I’ve seen it. A lot. It makes my blood boil. Because that’s exactly what being a fan is about: it’s about watching and loving and screaming for your team game after game, whether they win or lose, whether the management is a bunch of brainless baboons or clairvoyant geniuses, whether they play in the Champions League final two out of three years or whether they hum along the middle of the Serie A table. It’s about the shirt, not what happens in the shirt.

To be perfectly frank, if that’s your attitude with your fandom of Juventus, you may be headed out the door soon. Because for all the talent this current squad has, there are questions of which many of you are surely aware.

The average age of the Juventus starting 11 against Real Madrid was almost 31, the second oldest lineup to ever start a Champions League final game. Paulo Dybala was the only player for Juventus under the age of 26, and Juventus had three players 34 years old or older. And that’s just the starting lineup. Juventus just extended Mandžukić (31), and just finalized the outright purchases of Juan Cuadrado (29) and Medhi Benatia (30). A year ago, the club paid €90 million for a striker who’s 29 years old. None of this is to even mention the rather large elephant in the room that is Gigi Buffon: he’s 39 years old, and all jokes aside he’s not getting better.

After the question of age comes the question of financial resources: Real Madrid’s average salary is €5.9 million. Juventus has a single player who makes more than that on an annual basis. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi make almost as much in a year as Juve’s entire squad. Real Madrid just purchased the right to a teenager in Brazil for €45 million; the kid is 16 years old, and because of regulations can’t legally see the field for Real until he’s 18, and he’ll probably have to wait much longer than that. Juventus don’t have this capability. It’s not an open checkbook. Despite the high revenues this year because of the Champions League run and continued dominance in Serie A, Juventus is one-third of Real Madrid financially.

Don’t hear what I’m not saying: That Juventus should throw in the towel and launch a total rebuild. With the right moves and the right spending, there’s no reason this team shouldn’t be in Kiev a year from now. But what I am saying is that between the aging roster and very real financial limitations of the club, there’s never — at least in the foreseeable future — going to be a time when Juventus will be able to consistently achieve the level of play that Real Madrid are able to, if not only because Real can purchase whomever they wish whenever they’d like.

I don’t understand how fans don’t consider this in their reactions. Was Juventus fully capable of beating that Real team? Yes. Was Juventus an underdog? Yes. But Max Allegri’s team fought like hell, and they worked with different resources, and they were a single bad half of football away from completing the Treble. The age and finances don’t even consider the comically imbalanced lineup that Allegri turned into a Euro-fighting side: a target forward at left wing, a right back at right wing, a center back at right back.

Credit to Real Madrid for a hell of a game. They absorbed the blow in the first half, made adjustments, and kicked Juve’s ass in second. But Real Madrid are a team with almost literally limitless financial resources; they’re a purchased team, a hired hand. I don’t want to sound salty about it, because if Juventus received an anonymous 500 million Euros in transfer funds I wouldn’t bat an eye. But part of this year’s run is the collection of overlooked players who’ve passed their primes, in whom Allegri and Juventus still believed, or for whom Juventus paid next to nothing.

I am immensely proud of this team. I am immensely proud of Allegri. I derive an immense amount of satisfaction from this loss. I think if you cut me open now, you’d see black and white.

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JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

   5zk2vt.png     1-4      2016.png

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Unlucky Juventus built to come back

stronger from painful UCL final defeat

 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor juventus real madrid 1-4 mandzukic

 

http://www.espnfc.co.uk/club/juventus/111/blog/post/3138696/unlucky

-juventus-built-to-come-back-stronger-from-painful-ucl-final-defeat

 

 

Jun 5, 2017

 

Perspective often gets lost in the heat of the moment. Juventus came up short in Cardiff but how short exactly is a matter of debate. At the interval, more or less everybody considered this year's Champions League final to be a classic. Gianluigi Buffon believed Juventus had "Real on the ropes". The Old Lady certainly started the better and didn't seem overawed by the occasion. In fact it was Juventus who took the game to Real, playing largely in their opponents' half.

"We didn't allow them to get out," Massimiliano Allegri said. He was just disappointed that his team didn't get in front at any stage in the opening 50 minutes when this was an even contest. Real's opener, which deflected in off Leonardo Bonucci's right foot, was their first shot of the game. Juventus, to their credit, were level again within seven minutes. Mario Mandzukic scored the best goal in a Champions League final since Zinedine Zidane's at Hampden Park in 2002 and, while the individual brilliance involved understandably drew a lot of the focus, the build-up was every bit as good as that for Gonzalo Higuain's first goal in Monaco.

Overall, the standard of play from both sides was exceedingly high as Felix Brych called time on the first half. Just what happened to Juventus in the 15-minute break is a mystery. They were a shadow of themselves when they re-emerged, completely unrecognisable from the team we saw in the first half, not to mention the Juventus we've seen in the Champions League this season. Allegri put it down to "pushing on the accelerator" for the entire first half. "We didn't manage the game enough. We could have slowed things down a bit and played with more calm. You can't play finals at 100 mph from start to finish."

He promised to work on it next year but, in truth, this has been one of Juventus' strengths in the Champions League this season. It abandoned them here.

"The 2-1 cut our legs offs," Allegri said. Casemiro's shot, kicked up off Sami Khedira's heel and flew past Buffon. Another deflection. Juventus' 39-year-old captain lamented how, in moments like these, "everything went against us". Them's the breaks of the game. Without taking anything away from Real, deserving winners in Buffon and Allegri's opinion, they got a little luck where Juventus didn't. To illustrate that point, Allegri recalled an effort by Miralem Pjanic early on in the first half that was a carbon copy of Casemiro's in all but one major detail: "Pjanic's shot gets deflected away and Casemiro's shot gets deflected towards the goal ... that's football."

Before Juventus could even get over it, Real mercilessly struck again and the 180 seconds between their second and third goals defined the remaining 25 minutes. It was game over. Juventus lost belief and resigned themselves to their fate while Real just went up a gear. Juan Cuadrado's wrongful dismissal only deepened the sense that it was not going to be their night and Real's fourth and final goal came when a dejected Juve were down to 10 men. No one would have predicted a 4-1 defeat at half-time.

Could Allegri have done more? In hindsight, an extra man in midfield wouldn't have gone amiss. Pjanic and Khedira were outnumbered by Toni Kroos, Isco, Luka Modric and Casemiro. The Bosnian hurt his knee shortly after the interval and maybe should have been withdrawn sooner. As for the German, well, he didn't go into this game 100 percent fit after only making his comeback last week from the muscle injury he picked up against Monaco at the beginning of May. Higuain had no supply and when he did get the ball he didn't hold it up long enough to give the defence a breather.

Allegri gambled on Real's narrow midfield diamond leaving Juventus ample opportunity out wide where he hoped Paulo Dybala and Dani Alves, and Mandzukic and Alex Sandro would double up on the Spanish side's full-backs and wreak havoc. But in the second half they gave up possession too cheaply. Alves and Sandro lost the ball 15 times apiece. Mandzukic didn't fare much better, while Dybala, the shining star against Barcelona, got lost behind cloud cover. His substitution in the 78th minute capped an awful night for him. The fact his replacement was Mario Lemina also left the impression Allegri sensed the game was gone. Even before Cuadrado received his marching orders, it had become a damage-limitation exercise.

The biggest surprise of all, though, was how poorly Juventus defended, particularly Giorgio Chiellini. This team's great strength unexpectedly transformed into a weakness. What also stood out was the contrast with two years ago. Juventus didn't expect to reach the final then. They were bigger underdogs against Barcelona in Berlin than they were against Real in Cardiff and made big strides in the meantime. The awareness of that as well as the memory of Juve staying in the game longer at the Olympiastadion than they did at the Principality Stadium makes this more painful.

Fans and players alike sincerely believed this to be their year and the outcome has done little to discourage the idea Juventus are cursed in this competition. It was their seventh defeat in nine finals and their fifth in a row. Real have won 12 of 16 and their history in this competition, both old and recent, means they are the only team who can approach it, not without pressure, but as if it were a normal game. It's no small advantage. Although Juve insisted in the build-up that they weren't dwelling on the past, they did come into this final with the weight of 21 years of hurt in this competition on their shoulders. That's a lot of emotional baggage and when Cristiano Ronaldo scored his second goal they seemed to buckle under it.

After ridding Juventus of their inferiority complex in the Champions League, Allegri now has to lift the curse in the final. "We won't stop," he said. "We have to get back to the final." It's why he's staying. Breaking the spell is what drives him. "This is not the end of a cycle," Allegri says. Juventus rebuilt after Berlin, changing 16 players, and returned to the final, and renewal is underway again. The successors to Chiellini, Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli have already been found in Daniele Rugani, Mehdi Benatia and Mattia Caldara. Deals have also been done for the highly rated Rodrigo Bentancur and Riccardo Orsolini. Patrik Schick is next in line and the youth system has also produced Moise Kean, the first played born in the year 2000 to score in Europe's top five leagues.

Juve have a depth that only Real and Bayern Munich can better, which is remarkable considering the wealth gap. The €109.2 million they'll cash in TV and prize money for reaching the Champions League final will certainly help strengthen it further. A change in system in January to 4-2-3-1 left them a little shorthanded on the wings, particularly on the left when Marko Pjaca tore his ACL. Expect this to be the focus in the summer with Angel di Maria, Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi and Keita Balde Diao among the targets.

Right now there is a wistful look on the Old Lady's face, the anguish only heightened by the tragic events in Turin where 1,400 people were injured in a fanzone crush. The club's thoughts are with them. Gradually they will turn to next season. Buffon is yet to give up the ghost. "I still have one more year on my contract," he told Sky Italia, "That means I have one more chance of winning the Champions League."

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swcy9l.png

 


 

 

JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

   5zk2vt.png     1-4      2016.png

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Verratti ‘sorry’ for Juve defeat

 

110309058-af0fcd7d-7b5a-4846-a4b5-499753

 

http://www.football-italia.net/103672/verratti-sorry-juve-defeat

 

 

Jun 5, 2017

 

Marco Verratti admits he is “sorry” for Italy’s Juventus contingent and has vowed to “support” them while on international duty.

 

Juve were thrashed 4-1 by Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League Final, but Verratti insists his Bianconeri colleagues “must be proud” of their achievements in 2016-17, among them a sixth straight Scudetto and a third Coppa Italia in succession.

 

“We all watched the match between Juve and Real together, we’re sorry for our teammates but they must be proud of what they’ve achieved and from here, they have to start again,” the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder told Rai Sport.

 

“We’ll try to give them a hand when they join up with the national team and support them.

 

“Uruguay? We have an important game that counts for our [international] ranking, and we want to win.

 

“Spain? We’ll have to be at 100 percent, both individually and as a team. We must try our best.”

 

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swcy9l.png

 


 

 

JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

   5zk2vt.png     1-4      2016.png

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Di Livio: Higuain a let-down

 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor juventus real madrid 1-4 higuain

 

http://www.football-italia.net/103675/di-livio-higuain-let-down

 

 

Jun 5, 2017

 

Former Juventus midfielder Angelo Di Livio claims Gonzalo Higuain “disappointed me the most” in the Champions League Final.

 

Higuain was heavily criticised for his performance against Real Madrid in Cardiff, with his €90m price tag quickly coming under scrutiny, and Di Livio – who won the European Cup in 1996 – admitted he was expecting “a lot more” from the striker.

 

“What happened? First of all, they’ll have to understand it themselves, inside the dressing room,” he told Il Mattino.

 

“Between the first and second half, there was a collapse. Managing nerves is important and Juve consumed all their energy in the first 45 minutes.

 

“Then they disappeared. They failed at the most important moment in the second half. The physical aspect, as well as the psychological aspect, were a disaster for Juve.

 

“To play at certain levels, you need top players. And I think the Bianconeri still lack some players with personality, who can give the team a leap in quality.

 

“Who disappointed me the most? Certainly Higuain. I was expecting a lot from Pipita, or at least something more in terms of his technical quality and hunger for goals.

 

“He gave me a different impression to the others. No-one at Juve tried to make a difference and assert their qualities, but Higuain’s the one that made the biggest impression on me in a negative way.”

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kb54qd.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

2yvo10i.jpg

 


 

 

JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

   5zk2vt.png     1-4      2016.png

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Juventus need to keep head

high despite defeat to Real Madrid

 

 

A great season ends on a sour note.

 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor allegri juventus champions league 2017

 

http://www.blackwhitereadallover.com/2017/6/6/15736730/

juventus-real-madrid-2017-champions-league-final-serie-a

 

 

Jun 6, 2017

 

It wasn’t meant to be for Juventus or Gigi Buffon this time around. A heart breaking 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid in Cardiff means that the Italian icon is still without the Champions League medal he so desperately craves. After suffering a third straight defeat in the final, Buffon must be feeling as if it’s not in his destiny to be crowned Champion of Europe. And who can blame him? He has endured nothing but rotten luck in this stage.

However, as disappointing as last night was, it shouldn’t take away from what the legendary goalkeeper and his teammates have achieved this year.

The talk of a historic treble made Saturday night’s Champions League final more of a necessity than a blessing. So much was made of another treble attempt from the Bianconeri that reaching it was barely celebrated. I wrote previously that Juventus is a club that celebrates trophies and not finals, a statement I stick by. But they are also a club that refuses to be spoiled by success, demanding unrealistic triumph at each opportunity. They aren’t like Real Madrid or Barcelona who deem any season unsuccessful unless they pick up every trophy going. Juve share the winning mentality of their Spanish counterparts, but they refuse to get drawn into the entitlements that those clubs revel in.

For the Bianconeri, the 2016-17 campaign was a success. They bounced back from the departures of Alvaro Morata and Paul Pogba to reach a stage they had gotten to just two years prior. That side also consisted of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez. Their ability to return to the Final so soon after selling half the team that got them there in 2015 is a sign of that winning mentality spoken about earlier. They disposed easily of European giants Barcelona, a stingy FC Porto and every football hipsters new favourite team, AS Monaco, on their way to Cardiff.

Once they got there, they needed a bit of fortune to claim the ultimate prize. Unfortunately, much like Berlin in 2015, lady luck was shining on the opposition.

There aren’t any excuses for how poorly Juve played in the second half, but if Casemiro’s long range effort doesn’t deflect off Sami Khedira then Buffon makes the save and the game is still level after the hour mark. After that, anything is possible. Of course, we know how the story played out with Madrid running riot and finishing with four goals. Yet, as hard as it is, it shouldn’t take away from the fact this young side mixed with experienced leadership were able to finish as the second best team in Europe.

Alex Sandro, Paul Dybala, Miralem Pjanic are all going to get even better, while the likes of Sami Khedira, Gonzalo Higuain, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci still have plenty left in the tank to push for another run similar to this year. Buffon isn’t showing signs of retiring before his current contract ends and there’s much hope amongst the Juve faithful that Daniele Rugani will receive more game time following a promising campaign. Another successful recruiting drive this summer in the transfer market will only help re-energize this group.

Juventus claimed their sixth straight Serie A title, while collecting the Coppa Italia as well. They dismantled any side that came up against them, with the exception of Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane’s players are historically the best group to ever play in the prestigious competition, which means it will take a lot to uproot them from their spot at the top of Europe. Saturday night showed that Juve are better than anyone before them but just not as good as their competitors at the Millenium Stadium.

Improvement is needed and as the deflation of another final defeat eases over the next few days, they’ll get back to work on ensuring next year is their year. For now, #ItsTime to celebrate the achievements of this one.

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JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

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Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Juve still sent a message

 

 

Real Madrid crushed Juventus’ dream of winning the Champions League for the first team

in 21 years, but Vincent Van Genechten insists calcio is strong again.

 

 

UCLJUVRM-Mandzukic-oh-front-epa.jpg

 

http://www.football-italia.net/103708/juve-still-sent-message

 

 

Jun 6, 2017

 

It was meant to be the time for Juventus to hand Italy its first Champions League trophy since 2010, when Inter hoisted the trophy with the big ears. The Old Lady were even in for an historic Treble, having already secured the Serie A title and Coppa Italia, their third consecutive domestic Double.

The Bianconeri had lost the 2015 Champions League Final to a superior Barcelona team. However, this time no side had been more impressive than Juve. Just ask Lionel Messi and his Blaugrana. Still, a poor second half and a deflected Casemiro shot meant Los Blancos took home their third trophy in the last four seasons with a 4-1 win, their 12th overall. Historic.

Some might say Juventus bottled the Final. Some might say it was proof Italian football is still far behind Spain. In reality, however, the Bianconeri showed the world that Italian football can be exciting, fun to watch, and, above all, successful on the biggest stage.

Despite the loss, Juventus were 30 minutes away from doing the unthinkable. It took a deflected shot for Real to make the difference. The fact that they eventually scored four goals means nothing in terms of difference in quality and power between the Spanish and Italian champions.

Spanish football has dominated the European level during the past decade, winning numerous Champions League and Europa League titles, next to winning two European Championships and one World Cup. That means when it comes to trophies, there’s a lot of work to do for Italian clubs and the Azzurri.

However, with Juventus reaching two Champions League Finals in the last three years and the Azzurri’s new generation ready to get going, Italian football has shown the world that it’s very much alive and kicking. Napoli are proven to be a team to be reckoned with, while Roma are moving in the right direction. Meanwhile, there’s hope for the Milanese clubs with their Chinese takeovers.

Juventus have laid down the foundations for them and other Italian clubs to get better. In past years, not one star player considered a move to Serie A. This summer, numerous big names have been rumoured to be considering an Italian job. That change of mind might be the most important consequence of Juventus’ European success. Even in my Belgium, the journalists and analysts admitted they liked the Old Lady’s evolution.

Calcio once ruled the world. In today’s football, it will be hard to get back to that number one spot for Italian clubs. There’s just too much money involved in other countries. But there’s always the path of smart management, the path of Juventus. Many won’t like to follow the Old Lady’s example, but it is the only way.

On paper, Real Madrid might have won the Champions League Final, but in the end Juventus and Italian football might just be the winners in everyone’s mind. Players are once again looking to Italy as an option and football fans are excited about Italian players and clubs. There’s sunshine in the rain, folks. And the sun is shining for Italian football.  

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JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

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Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

Modric: ‘Juventus poor on the break’

 

 

http://www.football-italia.net/103840/modric-‘juventus-poor-break’

 

 

Jun 8, 2017

 

Luka Modric explains how Real Madrid beat Juventus in the Champions League final - “when you catch them on the counter-attack…”

 

Los Merengues became the first team to retain the trophy since it was rebranded from the European Cup, beating Max Allegri’s men 4-1 in Cardiff.

 

“[Coach Zinedine] Zidane found the weak point of the Bianconeri defence, and we prepared for the final all week with that in mind,” Modric explained to Sportske Novosti.

 

“The Juve defenders are fantastic when they’re in position, but not if you can catch them on the counter-attack.

 

“We worked on that, and it’s how we managed to score three of our four goals in the final. I congratulate Zidane for discovering that, it was key to the game.”

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JUVENTUS - REAL MADRID

 

   5zk2vt.png     1-4      2016.png

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo 20'

Mario Mandzukic 27'

Casemiro 61'

Cristiano Ronaldo 64'

Marco Asensio 90'

 

 

FINAL

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 - 8:45 p.m. CET
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Wales)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

 

 

 

 

The Lost Jewels of Juventus:

The 2017 Champions League Final

 

Random thoughts and stories after a hard night in Cardiff.

 

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http://www.blackwhitereadallover.com/2017/6/8/15737856/lost-jewels

-of-juventus-2017-champions-league-final-real-madrid-cardiff

 

 

Jun 8, 2017

 

January of 2011. It was a cold night in Turin, when the new director general of Juventus, Giuseppe Marotta, finished a negotiation with Udinese for one of their strikers. Marotta was not aiming to bring Udinese’s star, Antonio Di Natale, to Turin. The name of that player was Antonio Floro Flores. Floro Flores was an ordinary and average attacker — he still is. However, he was part of the group of players that Juventus could afford at that time. The curious part of this forgotten story is that Antonio never arrived in Turin because he rejected the Bianconeri from the beginning, instead going on to play for Genoa. A few days later, after he was transferred to the Griffins, Floro Flores declared to the newspapers: “It took me about 30 seconds to make a decision.”

In case you wonder, Floro Flores was not crazy. Juventus was not a very competitive team in Serie A, let alone Europe. Juve fans wanted desperately to have Javier Pastore, Giuseppe Rossi, Edin Dzeko or Sergio Agüero in their team. Even Giampaolo Pazzini was a pipe dream. Nonetheless, Felipe Melo, Jorge Martínez, Marco Motta and Armand Traoré were wearing the historic black and white jersey.

Six years ago, while Juventus was struggling to add Antonio Floro Flores, Real Madrid completed the transfers of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka,and Karim Benzema.

Amazingly, in 2017, the Bianconeri faced Los Blancos in the Champions League Final.

I am not writing to analyze the performance of the players, Allegri or Marotta. That moment will come. I just wanted to remind you that we have been in Calcio's hell together. Just ten years ago, we watched our team competed in Serie B. We followed Del Piero, Buffon, Nedved, Camoranesi, and Trezeguet when they played on the modest stadiums of Modena, Cesena, and Triestina. Ten years ago, Madrid was full of David Beckham’s billboards. That season, they won La Liga with Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson in their galactic roster. Juventus bounced back from Serie B, and ten years later they are undeniable contenders in Europe.

It has never been easy to be a Juventus fan and it will not get easier. I am still trying to understand what happened during that damned second half at the Millennium Stadium. Like you, I am sad and bitter. I was convinced that it was our time, Gigi’s time, Higuain’s time, and Dybala’s time. I still don’t process what happened in Cardiff, but I know that our time will come sooner or later. Juventus will bounce back. It is in the DNA of the institution.

Buffon did not rise the big ears trophy. We will see what happens next year. If he can achieve it, Chiellini, Marchisio, Dybala or Rugani will step up. Meanwhile, next season, Juventus must defend their Serie A and Copa Italia title from Napoli, Roma, and the two Chinese powerhouses Inter and Milan. Also, they need to provide Buffon the last shot to win the Champions League before his retirement.

The average age of Juventus’ starting lineup in Cardiff was 30 years and 336 days. The team needs to get younger. Luckily, Juventus has assembled a bright new generation of players: Daniele Rugani, Paulo Dybala, Marko Pjaca, Rodrigo Bentancur, Ronaldo Mandragora, Riccardo Orsolini, Moise Kean and Mattia Caldara are the present and future of La Vecchia Signora. Allegri needs to find minutes for all of them at some point.

Lastly, according to some reports, Juventus earned 109 million euros for their participation in this season’s Champions League. This money should give Marotta and Co. enough ammunition to bolster the team.

It is too soon to forget what happened in Cardiff. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that Juventus will be back.

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Real Madrid top end-of-season Power

Rankings ahead of Juventus, Chelsea

 

 

http://www.espnfc.co.uk/blog/espn-fc-united-blog/68/post/3140570/real-madrid

-top-shaka-hislop-end-of-season-power-rankings-ahead-of-juventus-and-chelsea

 

 

Jun 8, 2017

 

The Spanish and European champions add another accolade to their collection: Top spot in Shaka Hislop's final countdown of the season!

1. Real Madrid (+1)

Talk about peaking at the right time! Real Madrid are celebrating double success after Zinedine Zidane masterminded a superb late-season run in which they held off Barcelona to win La Liga and then overpowered Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

2. Juventus (-1)

There was much confidence that Juve would triumph in Cardiff and, when the score was 1-1 at half-time, the platform looked set. But after falling behind in unfortunate fashion, Max Allegri's side could not respond and lost their seventh European Cup final.

3. Chelsea (no change)

Ahead of a new season, in which he will have the Champions League to contend with as well as domestic commitments, it appears that Antonio Conte has decided to jettison his leading scorer. If Diego Costa leaves, will the decision come back to haunt Chelsea?

4. Bayern Munich (no change)

With Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso having retired and Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery one year older, Bayern have some rebuilding to do. Niklas Sule has already agreed to join, while Alexis Sanchez continues to be linked with the German champions.

5. Monaco (no change)

The question concerning Monaco is the extent to which their league-winning squad will break up. Bernardo Silva has already gone to Manchester City; could he be followed through the exit door by Kylian Mbappe, Bernard Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko?

6. Barcelona (no change)

New manager Ernesto Valverde inherits a squad that, while talented, requires some work. Above all, perhaps, it is depth that Barcelona need; last season's title went to Madrid in no small part because of the sheer number of quality players at their disposal.

7. Roma (no change)

As is the case for many of the clubs in these rankings, this is set to be a summer of change for Roma. Francesco Totti and Wojciech Szczesny have gone, as has manager Luciano Spalletti. Will others follow? And who will join the Serie A runners-up?

8. Tottenham (new)

After finishing third and then second, surely a Premier League title will be the target next season for Mauricio Pochettino and Co. To achieve that, Spurs must hope their talented squad continues to develop, while perhaps adding one or two new faces.

9. Atletico Madrid (-1) 

It's been an off-season of mixed news so far for Atletico. On the plus side, Antoine Griezmann has pledged his future to the club, but that came about in large part due to the club's transfer ban being upheld. That means no new players can come in until January.

10. Manchester United (-1)

After winning two trophies and clinching a return to the Champions League, Man United must now improve their squad. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney quite likely to leave Old Trafford, the forward line will need Jose Mourinho's attention especially.

Dropping out: Feyenoord.

 

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Juventus needs to face a new reality

 

 

http://www.blackwhitereadallover.com/2017/6/13/15778286/juventus

-2017-champions-league-final-serie-a-future-transfers-tactics

 

 

Jun 13, 2017

 

 

This is not a tactical analysis of the Champions League final game because numerous people have written excellent analyses on it. I cannot add a lot of the new things to it. Here I want to talk about the aftermaths of the game.

Most supporters, even the neutral critics, believed that this was Juventus' year to lift the Champions League trophy. The management made every decision right to improve the team. Core players like Leonardo Bonucci, Sami Khedira and Mario Mandzukic looked to be playing their best football. Veterans like Gigi Buffon and Dani Alves were still playing at an unbelievable level. They seemed to have accumulated enough experience in this competition. This was the third year Juventus plays under Massimiliano Allegri in the Champions League. Five members of the squad had played in the final two years ago against Barcelona, while Alves and Mandzukic have both lifted the title with other teams. The team looked incredibly strong on the way to the final, especially with the showings against Barcelona and Monaco in the previous two rounds.

All these positive signs before the game made this final loss possibly the most painful final loss for Juventus and its supporters.

Juventini feel dreadful about this final loss. Juventus has dominated Serie A for six years. A loss is rare, let alone the mental collapse they suffered against Real Madrid in the second half. After three years of trying to win this competition, most fans cannot bear to see Buffon disappointed again and to hear him saying "I have one shot left" is a stab to their hearts.

The reality that Juventus will suffer a painful loss like this is new and dreadful to them, and most of Juventus' supporters do not like it.

The losses in Champions League in the previous three years are painful because Juventus were close to a win in all three occasions. Each one hurts more than the previous one because it makes you more emotional, feeling that it is increasing likely that Buffon and co. would not be able to lift this trophy. But these losses are painful because one adds a sentimental value to it. In a broader scope, these losses are normal and are signs of success.

They are evidence of success because they mean that Juventus is relevant in the elite football clubs circle. They are only painful because, on each occasion, Juventus was so strong that you expected them to win. One should feel privileged to have a chance to feel painful about these losses — realistically only 4-6 of all European football clubs every year has a legitimate chance to win the Champions League. Even for the 32 teams in the group stage, most of them are participants but not contenders. These teams don't expect to go far in the tournament. Being in it is already an accomplishment for them.

In the last three years under Allegri, Juventus did not just participate, but contended in the Champions League. Juventus is one of the top five sides in Europe and one of the talking points of football circles. A position like this exposes the club to world audiences, attracts the fans, increases the commercial value and, most importantly, drives the club forward. Painful losses are, in this way, the prices that come along with being relevant. Juventini may feel dreadful about the losses, but hundreds of clubs will die to switch the position with them.

Juventus needs to face this new reality. They need to understand that they will suffer these kinds of painful losses as long as they are competing in Europe. The Champions League is tough. You are playing against the best teams in Europe, and most years you are going to lose — only 26 teams (out of hundreds of teams?) have lifted the trophy in the 63 years of Champions League (or the previous version of it). Losses are normal in Europe, and are more than likely to happen every year as long as Juventus has a legitimate chance to win it.

The collapse in the second half against Real Madrid points to a lack of experience. The management thought that signing champion players like Alves, Mandzukic, Andrea Pirlo and Patrice Evra will inject the team with experience. It turns out that such approach is not sufficient enough. Individual experience cannot substitute for that of the entire group. Juventus need to gain the experience together and one way to gain it is going through these painful losses together. These losses are the lessons for the Champions: Barcelona experienced 15 losses before they won it again in 2006. Real Madrid went through a drought without European success for 12 years. Bayern Munich has endured one painful final loss before each of their last two European triumphs.

All these teams had suffered many dreadful losses before they won it all in Europe, and they have not even been demoted to their country’s second division. Juventus are going through the same lessons these champions went through before.

Once these losses are justified in an objective, it becomes clear that Juventus is on the right path and it is time to look ahead. They obviously need to continue the project, and the contract renewal with Allegri is a sign of that direction. But somethings need to be adjusted. For the transfer market, it is time to stop signing players just for their champion experiences. Such a change of strategy is not to say that players like Dani Alves did not bring values to the team. But Juventus has had enough experiences now. They do not need players in their 30s. They are too old and need young players who can replace the veterans and lead them in the future. For all 98 teams in the big five European leagues this season (England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain), Juventus was the fifth oldest with the average age of 28.3 years old. For comparison, none of the other quarterfinalists in this year's Champions League are older than 28 years old.

age.jpgdata from https://www.transfermarkt.com/

Tactically, Allegri needs to add more elements to the team. This year, Juventus had a reactive approach in which they read and react to the opponents' tactics. They were successful for most of the matches except that all-important game against Real Madrid in Cardiff. When Real Madrid started to press/counter-press in the second half, Allegri's men were not able to keep a hold of the ball. Granted, Juventus has shown weaknesses in keeping the possession when the opponents aggressively press against them. But they did that part well in the second half of the season, especially their showing against Barcelona's and Monaco's aggressive pressings.

Failure to react to Madrid's tactics was because of Juventus' lack of not only experience but also confidence. To increase Juventus' faith in the build-up, Allegri needs to design a more structured build-up system, such as the one like Borussia Dortmund or Napoli. Moreover, Juventus needs to have a way to pressure the opponents aggressively. They only played a high press sporadically this season. Looking ahead, they will need to play a more aggressive high zonal press like Atalanta or Tottenham because these approaches force the opponents to commit mistakes. If they are not able to return to the preferred zone system, they need to play a stronger man-marking defense immediately. There is a need for smooth transition between zonal and man-marking defensive schemes. All of these tactics do not reject Allegri's principles. They complement the excellent foundation Juventus already has.

Mentally, they need to prepare to play every game like a battle. Juventus has been too dominant domestically that there has not been enough competition to keep them focused. "Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing" is not enough in the league. They need to dominate every game because it is the only way to keep them focused on battling in Europe.

For every Juventus supporter, it is time to wake up and face this new reality. The team is more likely to lose than not because they are playing against the biggest boys in the most relevant games. So stop mourning and feel depressed. Start making fantasy transfer plans, argue endlessly with the fellow fans about every decision that we cannot alter and most importantly, support your team again.

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Juve fan Kelvin released from hospital

 

 

http://www.football-italia.net/104073/juve-fan-released-hospital

 

 

Jun 13, 2017

 

Kelvin, the seven-year-old boy seriously injured during the Champions League Final fanzone stampede, has been released from hospital.

 

In the end, 1,537 people were injured in Piazza San Carlo in Turin when a firework sparked a panic, as people feared a suicide bomber.

 

It happened during the second half of the 4-1 Real Madrid victory over Juventus.

 

Kelvin was the most seriously injured, as he was in cardiac arrest and a coma with head and chest injuries in the crush.

 

He was released from the Regina Margherita hospital today and returned home with his parents to continue the recovery process.

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Juventus fan dies after Champions League final stampede

 

 

Erika Pioletti suffered a heart attack during the stampede that occurred

during the viewing of the showpiece between the club and Real Madrid

 

juventus-fans-turin-champions-league-fin

 

http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/683/main/2017/06/15/36386632/-

 

 

Jun 15, 2017

 

Erika Pioletti, a Juventus fan injured in the stampede that occurred during the screening of the Champions League final in Turin, has died, it has been confirmed.

 

More than 1,500 people were injured after panic swept through the crowd during the viewing of the match, which Juve lost 4-1 to Real Madrid.

 

A statement from the Turin prefect claimed that the crowd was "taken by panic and by the psychosis of a terror attack", amid fears that a loud noise had been caused by an attack of some kind.

 

Three people were left seriously injured, and it has now been confirmed that Pioletti has passed away. She was 38.

 

It is understood that she suffered a heart attack after her thorax was squeezed during the stampede, leading to irreversible brain injuries.

 

Her family have subsequently authorised doctors to switch off the life support machines that had been keeping her alive.

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Juventus 2016-17 Season Ratings: The Goalkeepers

 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor buffon neto audero

 

https://www.blackwhitereadallover.com/2017/6/15/15767590/juventus-

2016-17-season-ratings-the-goalkeepers-gianluigi-buffon-neto-emil-audero

 

 

Jun 15, 2017

 

Another season has come and gone. While we search for something to do to occupy our minds for the next couple of months until Juventus return for preseason training and go on their trip to Mexico and the United States, it’s customary for those of us who keep this blog running on a daily basis to provide you with a look back at the 2016-17 season that was.

So, when you do a post about goalkeeper ratings for Juventus, it’s going to center around the 39-year-old force of nature known as Gianluigi Buffon. You think there’s any other way around it? No, there’s not.

Buffon is Buffon. He’s Juventus’ captain, their leader in at the back of the defense and the man responsible for so much of what the club has achieved over the nearly two decades he’s been in Turin. That’s what we’ve known for years now, but it’s always quite nice to be reminded of it whenever possible.

Luckily for us, Buffon does that in the vast majority of the games he plays in. Even when it’s not necessary for him to make age-defying saves and remind us why he’s the greatest goalkeeper there is and ever has been in the world of football, Buffon’s importance to Juventus can never be denied.

By all accounts, this recently-completed season will be the second-to-last one where we see Buffon wearing Juventus’ captain’s armband and playing in goal in Turin. I don’t want to imagine a Juventus world without Buffon manning the goal for our beloved Bianconeri. So for now, we won’t.

Juventus v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League FinalPhoto by David Ramos/Getty Images

Gianluigi Buffon — 9

What can you say about the guy that you haven’t already?

As much as some marvel that he is still doing some of the things he does at the age of 39, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at this point. Why’s that? Because he’s done it when was 35, when he was 36, when he was 37 and when he was 38.

He’s still a difference maker. He’s still the gold standard. He still can win Juventus games simply by making one or two saves that will keep his team in the lead.

And he did that again this past season.

A lot of the time with Buffon, you know that he’s not going to face as many shots as any other goalkeeper playing in Serie A simply because Juve’s defense is better than anybody else’s in the league. There were 17 different keepers in Italy’s top flight that had 100 or more shots put on frame when they played. Buffon was not one of them. That alone shows just how little Buffon was called into action in a good number of the games he appeared in — something that is not a surprise and basically has been a constant during Juventus’ current six-year run of winning the league title.

His stats (Serie A only) from the 2016-17 season are as follows:

Games played: 30

Minutes played: 2,655

Shots faced: 91

Shots saved: 66

Save percentage: 72.5

Clean sheets: 12

You look at all of those numbers and they’re not as impressive as last season’s tally. If you had to pick, which number is more noticeably down compared to last season, the number of clean sheets or the overall save percentage?

Sure, statistically-speaking, Buffon’s 2016-17 season isn’t as good as the one before.

But the moments in which Buffon made saves is why he’s getting this rating. If he doesn’t stop Andres Iniesta, who knows how things against Barcelona go. If he doesn’t make the save from the penalty spot on Alexandre Lacazette, who knows how Juve’s trip to Lyon plays out. I can go on and on and on — especially when it comes to some of the saves Buffon made in the Champions League.

Fact is, Juventus wouldn’t have had their incredibly long shutout streak in Europe this season if not for some of the saves Buffon made. How many times over the past three or four years worth of post-game threads that Buffon made one or two saves and said stops were quite fantastic? Well, this season was no different.

Those one or two saves helped Juventus win games. And while the overall stats might not have been as glamorous as last season’s totals — remember that long shutout streak in Serie A that seemed to last six months? — Buffon was just as important as he’s ever been.

And just for the record, Lionel Messi still hasn’t scored on Buffon.

I love him. I will forever love him. And even though we know that Buffon’s career is in its final stages, I really can’t wait for him to be making saves that some goalkeepers only dream of when he’s wearing a Juventus or Italy keeper kit and his age reads “40.”

SSC Napoli v Juventus FC - TIM CupPhoto by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Neto — 6.5

I’ve said it once and I will say it again: One of the hardest jobs in the world of football is that of the backup goalkeeper simply because you don’t know when your next appearance may be.

For Neto, though, he has gotten a lot more playing time than most No. 2 goalkeepers because of 1) Juventus winning the Coppa Italia during both of his season in Turin, meaning that he’s played every possible game in the tournament; and 2) Allegri made sure to give Buffon plenty of rest this season as he gets closer and closer to being 40 years old.

Outside of that one absolute stinker in the Coppa Italia against Napoli, Neto was a relatively stable and consistent performer when Allegri did turn to him in the starting lineup. That’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect with Neto over his two seasons with Juventus. He’s capable of making some really good saves while not doing much wrong a very large portion of the time.

Basically, Neto did what Neto was expected to do.

And thus, the job of the backup goalkeeper has been fulfilled.

With Juventus likely to sign Wojciech Szczesny to be Buffon’s backup next season — and likely successor come the 2018-19 season — Neto’s two-year stay in Turin is probably not going to see a third year. He might not have been always-impressive like the guy he followed up, he might not be as good as the guy who is coming in to replace him, but he was

Emil Audero — 6

I think it was quite the classy move of Allegri to give Audero a start before the season came to a close. The game didn’t mean anything when it came to the standings nor did it really play any kind of part in how Juventus did the next week in Cardiff. But to hand a 20-year-old goalkeeper his debut during what was another domestic double-winning season, it had to be quite a thrill for Audero just to step onto the field for once.

Who knows where Audero fits into the long-term picture at Juventus. With Neto (probably) moving on and Szczesny (probably) coming in, he could very well be Juve’s No. 3 goalkeeper for another season. And knowing that Juve are unlikely to promote anybody from the primavera or have many other homegrown options come back to Turin next season, he could very well be a quite useful asset when it comes to Champions League squad selections.

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Juventus 2016-17 Season Ratings: The Centerbacks

 

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Jun 15, 2017

 

I won’t lie, guys. It’s been a silent week or two for me. The loss and performance in the game-that-shall-not-be-spoken-of hurt me more than words will ever be able to express. Thankfully, with the benefit of some time and hindsight, I think I’ve reached the “acceptance” stage of my grief, and hence, its time to spare some thoughts backwards, before we begin to look forward to the bright future ahead. Juventus have a very competent management in charge, and while we’ve been crippled by key players leaving for two successive summers, we once again found ourselves 90 minutes away from the famed treble. That is no mean achievement, and must be celebrated for what it is, with the dose of reality that came with it.

The 2016-17 season was an extremely interesting one. Juve started the year off looking somewhat bland and uninspired, but regained their professional and efficient ability of getting the job done, before the shackles were undone come the turn of the year, following a meek performance in a loss to Fiorentina. We ascended from strength to strength thereafter, and it was an exceptional season. Whatever the result of the Champions League final might’ve been, everyone was in agreement that it was the two best teams in Europe for this season who contested that final. If 2015’s run announced the arrival at the 100 Euro Table in Europe again, the 2017 run reaffirmed that Juventus are indeed here to stay.

So, without further ado, continuing our look back at the ups and downs of the season that has passed us by, here are my ratings for Juventus’ center backs...

SSC Napoli v Juventus FC - TIM CupPhoto by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Medhi Benatia  6

Truth be told, I’ve been quite torn with regards to the former winner of the Serie A Defender of the Year award and his debut season in Turin. Without a doubt, he has a tonne of quality. He had a strong start to the season, and he proved to be a valuable piece while we still played the three man backline. While lacking the passing range of a Leonardo Bonucci, he proved to be Big Leo’s closest rival in the CB section of the squad when it comes to poise on the ball and ball control. He also possesses a physical and aerial dominance that made us an even more dominant side when it came to defending crosses.

That said, a series of factors including niggling injuries, AFCON, and, in particular, the swap to a four-man backline rendered his second half of the season somewhat...mediocre, in my opinion. He only really got to play alongside Bonucci, and, for whatever reason, the chemistry between then just never seemed to be there. While any two man combination between Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele Rugani seems to ooze instant chemistry and a telepathic understanding, the Bonucci-Benatia tandem just never clicked for me. It was telling that we rarely kept a clean sheet while those two started together. As such, it becomes a little hard to judge Benatia’s season. A few notable errors aside, he wasn’t terrible, but honestly, I can’t say I was particularly impressed by him at any time in 2017, either. I also thought his presence consistently kept Rugani — who had done more than enough this season to warrant starting ahead of him — out of the starting lineup.

That said, he’s a defender of proven quality whose peak could well be in front of him, and considering the age of our defense, this could prove important. Here’s hoping he has a solid preseason, and can find a more steady role in the squad next season.

Appearances: 21

Goals: 1

Juventus v AS Monaco - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second LegPhoto by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Andrea Barzagli  6.5

Honest opinion: I didn’t think Barzagli had a great year. Especially when compared to the lofty heights The Wall has set for himself in his 6 1/2 years here. He looked solid enough to start the season, but he’s another player who I thought had a somewhat mediocre second half of the season, as compared to the rest of the squad, who hit peak form in that time. Father Time has finally caught up it seems, as on multiple occasions through the past few months, I felt like his body was just not capable of keeping up with the elegant and all powerful footballing brain with which he reads the game. Getting converted into a pseudo right back in a shifting 4-2-3-1/3-4-3 formation certainly didn’t help. Much has been said over the past many years of Bonucci’s “supposed” weakness in a back four, but this year it was Barzagli whom I thought looked most uncomfortable when playing as part of a center back duo.

I also think the decision to shift away from the 4-2-3-1 that proved to be so successful for us in 2017 played a role in our less than stellar May (and June 3), and also seemed to rob Juan Cuadrado of any and all form, momentum and confidence he had gathered. As much as I hate to think so, I can’t help but feel that the dressing room influence and romantic ideal of our famed BBC defense getting the job done and winning us the treble had some role to play in this. That said, one can’t particularly blame Barzagli for that.

At first thought, it seemed to me as though Barzagli did indeed have a quieter year as he served more as a rotation piece than as a starter. On further inspection, however, Barzagli still played a pretty huge 2,244 minutes in Serie A and the Champions League alone (whoscored does not display Coppa Italia stats for some reason), and this worries me a little. Much has been said about how we will be phasing the likes of Barzagli out as he reaches the twilight of his career, yet despite investment in quality players like Rugani and Benatia, Barzagli’s numbers still dwarf theirs. Infer from this what you will, but this does worry me. I spoke once of my opinion that the BBC defense is starting to walk the line between being a boon and a bane for us, and I’m finding it hard to shake that feeling now.

Appearances: 39

Goals: 0

Juventus FC v Pescara Calcio - Serie APhoto by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Daniele Rugani  7.5

Continuing my streak of honesty, I’ll say this: For much of the first six or seven months of the season, I thought Rugani was by far our best defender. I’ve been worried about how much the young soon-to-be star defender would be able to grow with such an established hierarchy of veteran modern day legends to compete against, but Rugani has really surprised me, in that he seems to be taking the best of his “teachers,” and applying all those learnings to become a scarily complete looking prospect. The days of the young 22-year-old looking timid and conscious on the ball seem to be from a lifetime ago.

He no longer appears hesitant to dive into the challenge and make the professional foul for the team, collecting a respectable number of yellow cards this season. He has added an aerial dominance to his game that makes it seem as though he has been studying Benatia and Chiellini like a man possessed, a fact reflected in his heartening return of three goals this season. He also appears far more confident in bringing the ball forward and making forward passes. His reading of the game needs no introduction, and it was the trait he was known for even before he had the chance to study Barzagli up close. He does have areas he can improve in, of course, particularly his one-on-one defending, marking and passing range, but the signs are looking extremely encouraging. He also seems to have developed a wonderful chemistry with all our defenders, and easily adapted to playing on either side of a back three, as well as both the right and left center back in a back four.

Particularly impressive is the fact that despite his young age and infrequent playing time, he was ushered into the starting lineup in a variety of positions in the both the back three and four, and was able to slot in seamlessly into the machine that is the Juventus defensive system with not just little fuss, but while also looking supremely confident and capable. He also looked completely at ease in hostile atmospheres such as Sevilla’s Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, and managed to notch an impressive three goals in his limited playing time, further outlining the work he’s done on his aerial game/threat.

He was a little unlucky to get injured at the time of the season where Max Allegri was using Chiellini sparingly, and I thought it was unfair that Benatia was given more playing time than him before that, but the future does look very bright. I just hope the management realize that his time is already here, it’s now. We have the real deal on our hands. If I was Allegri, I’d try and get the Bonucci-Rugani partnership firing on all cylinders next season.

Appearances: 20

Goals: 3

SS Lazio v Juventus FC - TIM Cup FinalPhoto by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Leonardo Bonucci  8

A case, and a pretty compelling one at that, can be made for Big Leo being the best defender in the world right now. Personally, if you ask me, he was the best defender in the world...last season, however. I think Big Leo has had a quieter year this time around, though he still absolutely deserves to be in the discussion for best defender around. It is worth mentioning that he endured a pretty torrid opening few months to the season, not on the field, but off it. It must be scary for any father to see their child suffer, let alone face a life-threatening illness. It must have weighed heavily on his mind, understandably, and it showed. He admitted himself that he found it hard to find the motivation to play football at a time like that.

That context having been established, Bonucci still had a great season. I just think we didn’t truly see him hit peak form and focus until his spat with Allegri and subsequent dropping for the game against Porto. There on, I feel like Bonucci finally emerged from his shell and began to dominate the game the way we all know he can. Ridiculous passing and vision, brilliant anticipation and positioning, a natural and vocal leader of the squad on the pitch and in the dressing room, and goals in crucial games. The real Bonucci was finally back, and at the perfect time no less.

I think once and for all, we can put the question of Bonucci not being as good in a back four to rest...for all eternity. There was no premise for it in my opinion, and the Chiellini-Bonucci duo, when in form, must have been frightening for strikers to behold, and was a joy as a Juventus fan to behold.

I wouldn’t sell him, no matter what the price. I’d build the new defense — including the likes of Rugani, Benatia, Mattia Caldara, etc. — around him. He is a leader. Losing Barzagli and Chiellini will be hard enough, in both the dressing room and on the field, but remember we will soon be losing the mammoth pillar that is Gigi Buffon, too. Bonucci is therefore, in my opinion, absolutely critical to the transition we will soon be forced to face — and that’s discounting his immense skill and quality.

A mammoth 3,374 minutes in Serie A and Europe alone highlight his and his ridiculous fitness’ importance to the squad. To me, he is irreplaceable and absolutely not for sale, no matter how stupid the offer.

Appearances: 45

Goals: 5

AS Monaco v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First LegPhoto by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Giorgio Chiellini  9

Finally...FINALLY...it seems Max, Giorgio, the medical team, everyone, has learned their lesson. Father Time is indeed cruel, but he must be respected. A constantly-injured King Kong isn’t worth a lot, but a fit one is the immovable object and bedrock upon which the Juventus Defensive Wall is built. And so, after a quiet start to the season, with the niggling injuries and question marks still remaining, the beast incarnate soon emerged from his slumber, and put Father Time back in his place.

Max deserves a lot of credit for his smart and calculated use of the Italian veteran, because it was a defining factor in the way we turned our season around. Giorgio dominated everyone, and everything. He was perfection, a flawless work of art. He showed exactly what he still has in the tank. And all while earning his master’s degree. If Gigi is Superman, I wonder what Superhero Chiellini would be.

He’s always been a big game player, but his play has been somewhat error prone these last few seasons, not to mention his annoying habit of rushing into games too quickly after an injury and injuring himself again. That changed this season, however. We have all been reminded of just how scary an on-song Chiellini can be, and there are few defenders as complete in the modern game as him. A beast in the air, blessed with a stunning gift of tackling, a man marker with no rival, he is Herculean. My dear friend Paolo C articulated it so nicely when he said it took watching the team live to realize just how incredible Chiellini is. There is truly nothing he cannot do. Even his passing, a long standing joke considering his “less than graceful” style of controlling and playing the ball, has proven to be game changing at times this season.

He is THE Master, and clearly, if smartly utilized (which all signs point to being the case), he can still be a key player in any success this team might enjoy. His games against Barcelona alone should be used an instructional guide for all aspiring defenders for years to come. In my opinion, he was not only our Centerback of the Year, but one of our players of the year.

Appearances: 33

Goals: 4

And hence, we conclude my season ratings for our center backs. What do you guys think? How would you rate our center backs for this season? Its been nice to be back and write something for you guys again!

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Juventus 2016-17 Season Ratings: The Fullbacks

 

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Jun 18, 2017

 

So there we had it. Another season has come and gone, and now it’s time for the postmortems.

The 2016-17 season was a great one, despite the obvious hurt and disappointment of the Champions League final loss. It has been hard to get over personally; I usually tend to temper my expectations of Juventus in Europe (as we haven’t won the biggest prize in over two decades now), but this year — like many, I’m sure — I thought it was the time we would finally do it. I even made the two and a half-hour drive from London to Cardiff for the final (I must say that despite the result, the experience was truly amazing and would implore every fan to go to follow their team when/if they make it to a Champions League final).

But alas, it was not meant to be, as a truly awful second half performance saw us capitulate to a better-than-expected Real Madrid side. Sigh…

Oh well, we have to move on.

Continuing on from the evaluation of the centrebacks, we are now going to look at the performances of Juventus’ fullbacks this season.

Juventus FC v US Citta di Palermo - Serie APhoto by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Dani Alves — 8

The 34-year-old Brazilian was the latest in the line of shrewd free transfers made by the Juventus front office in the last half-decade. Falling out with the FC Barcelona hierarchy, Dani Alves decided to move over to the J Stadium in the summer of 2016.

Despite displacing long-time right back/right wingback Stephan Lichtsteiner, Alves took some time to really get going at Juventus. Coming into a new team and a new tactical system after being such a key cog in Barcelona’s all-conquering team for years would always have been a challenge. The first half of his season was not particularly noteworthy, as he struggled to get accustomed to a new team and new league. This was not helped by a leg fracture which kept him out of contention for a number of weeks.

However, after coming back from that injury, Alves became a vital component in Juventus’ surge to the end of the season, particularly in Europe, where strong performances helped Juventus get to the Champions League final for the second time in three years. He also finished a lovely move in the Coppa Italia final, which gave Juventus its third crown in a row — a record in the competition.

His standout performances, without a doubt, came in the Champions League semifinal tie against Monaco, where he provided three assists (officially two, but come on, Mario Mandzukic should have scored his header at the first time of asking) and scored a sensational volley from the top of the box.

Gigi Buffon said that when he was signed, he asked Dani Alves to help us take home the Champions League. At 34 years of age and with one more year on his contract (albeit with an option for a third), there isn’t much longer for Dani Alves to bring that goal to fruition. All in all, a pretty good first season in the black and white.

P.S. I still find it a bit weird seeing Dani Alves in a club shirt other than Barcelona’s.

Appearances: 31

Goals: 5

Assists: 6

Juventus FC v Genoa CFC - Serie APhoto by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Stephan Lichtsteiner — 6.5

Displaced in the starting lineup by Dani Alves, and along with contract uncertainty as to whether a contract extension would be offered and signed, the Swiss Express was mainly a role player this season, playing mostly in the Coppa Italia and being used to rotate. When played, as usual, he provided solid defensive displays. His crossing and finishing, however, continue to leave A LOT to be desired.

At 33, to expect this to change or improve may be considered to be very wishful thinking — much like those people who expected a man who has been an unhinged, conspiracy-theory pushing, race-baiting, divisive rhetoric spewing, attention seeking, a**hole for his entire public life to suddenly change at age seventy when elected President of the United States — so is it possible that it’s time to move Lichtsteiner on? I personally thought we should have let Lichtsteiner’s contract run out and move on the summer. Still think we should look to sell. This season, our right full backs were thirty-four and thirty-three respectively. We should surely be looking for young replacements. Juve have Pol Lirola and Leonardo Spinazzola out on loan, but it’s unlikely either will be a first team member next season. So maybe someone relatively young but with experience where they could be of benefit to next season’s pursuits.

Hard to think of a stand out moment or performance from Lichtsteiner this season. Pretty average season overall.

Appearances: 28

Goals: 1

Assists: 2

Juventus v AS Monaco - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second LegPhoto by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Alex Sandro — 9

When Juve signed Alex Sandro from FC Porto in the summer of 2015, I was not impressed. I honestly thought that our money could have been better spent trying to get a trequartista to play behind the forwards. Not for the first time, my opinion over a transfer has been proven to be wrong and reminded me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Sandro has turned out to be a terrific buy and has become one of my favourite players. So much so that when I read an article online from The Telegraph titled “The top 25 best defenders in the world” and Sandro was not on the list, I was incensed!

Equally impactful on the defensive and attacking end, Sandro has — in my opinion — been the most consistent outfield player in the squad this season. The stats don’t necessarily back this up, but watching him play week in-week out makes his consistency plain for everyone to see. He’s chipped in with some goals and a number of brilliant assists — the highlight of which must be his cross for Dani Alves’ goal in the Coppa Italia final — as well as being solid defensively. I honestly would have not expected this from a Brazilian fullback; I guess they aren’t all Roberto Carlos wannabes.

Reports of bids from Manchester City and Chelsea have been all over as the “silly season” has started. Juventus has the policy of allowing players who want to leave to do just that. However, much like with other sought after players like Leonardo Bonucci, Juventus would be mad to sell Alex Sandro — especially when one considers the troubles we have had in finding consistent quality in that position (Cristian Molinaro anyone?).

Appearances: 41

Goals: 3

Assists: 5

FC Crotone v Juventus FC - Serie APhoto by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Kwadwo Asamoah — 6

The stocky Ghanian had a pretty average season all things told. It appears that the last few seasons of niggling injuries have caught up with him, as he isn’t as quick or dynamic as he once was. Most of his play now seems to be him making his way down the flank, then turning and passing back to a midfielder — I honestly cannot remember the last time I’ve seen Kwadwo take on and beat his man. Even when played, at times, in his more natural central midfield position, he has looked far from his old self. He hasn’t been bad, mind you, just not very good either.

Is it time to move him on as well? Does anyone think he can get back to his form of the good ole days, circa 2012-2014 under Antonio Conte? I wouldn’t bank on it, and maybe Juventus shouldn’t either.

Appearances: 23

Goals: 0

Assists: 1

Paolo De Ceglie — n/a

Yes, he was still on our books this past season! The Italian Ashton Kutcher re-joined the Bianconeri in the summer of 2016, as his loan the previous season at Olympique Marseille was not successful. After turning down loans to Crotone (which, after their stunning escape from the drop, must feel like a mistake on his part) and Pisa over the course of the season, Paolo spent his season out of the first team’s plans. He will not be a free agent, as his contract with Juventus runs out this month.

A product of the youth academy, much was expected when he was eventually promoted to the first team, along with Sebastian Giovinco and Claudio Marchisio. Instead, he has just turned out to be another example of the problems that Juventus have had in the left back position in recent years — and why it would be mental to throw it away now by even thinking about selling Alex Sandro.

All the best to him in his future endeavors.

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Juventus 2016-17 Season Ratings: The Midfielders

 

 

Juve’s midfield had an up and down year.

 

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Jun 19, 2017

 

 

Probably more than any other position group on the team, Juventus’ midfield was under a microscope this season.

When the team went to the Champions League final two years ago, Juve boasted the one of the best midfields in the game. Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba were imperious in the center of the park and fueled much of Juve’s rise.

But that unit has undergone radical changes over the last two years. Pirlo left after Berlin to finish out his career in MLS. Expectations had been mounting about that move for most of the season, but the departure of Vidal to Bayern Munich was a shattering surprise. Pogba helped carry the team as the unit reformed, but left himself this past offseason for Manchester United after a will-he/won’t-he saga that lasted a good chunk of the summer.

Marchisio is the only one from the fabled MVP unit that ruled over Serie A and catapulted Juve back to relevance on the continent — and he was hampered quite a bit this year (we’ll get to that in a bit).

The changes over the last two years have been disruptive. Between personnel changes and tactical shifts, it took a long time for this midfield to finally settle. When they did, the team surged.

Who was up and who was down in the midfield this season? Today we’ll take a look at each midfielder and evaluate their season.

Note: Players are listed alphabetically. All statistics from WhoScored.com.

Kwadwo Asamoah — 5.5

Asamoah has been covered by my colleague Johann already, as he spent the majority of the season backing up Alex Sandro at left back after the departure of Patrice Evra. But at the start of the year he was expected to serve as depth in the midfield. He started the season in the starting XI in the opener against Fiorentina and came out like gangbusters, making a pair of key passes, completing 90.7 of his passes, and making a pair of tackles on the defensive end.

He tailed off starting the next week at Lazio, and he started falling down the pecking order before the departure of Evra saw him permanently shifted out wide. As a midfielder he had such a promising start, but the rest of his performances at the position weren’t really up to scratch. As a deputy on the left flank, however, he can still be an important contributor to this team.

Hernanes — 5.5

Remember all those great performances Hernanes produced in a Juventus shirt this year?

Yeah, me neither.

I don’t mean to be too hard on the Brazilian. His season-and-a-half at Juve saw him turn into the butt of quite a few jokes, mostly because he was never really able to fill the trequartista role for which he was a booby prize last year. He’s not capable of that anymore, but he was probably the only player on the roster who could properly deputize in the regista role that was Marchisio’s before the tactical shift, and he wasn’t horrible when called upon to do that this season.

Still, he had some truly baffling moments this year, and there weren’t many tears shed when he left the team for China in the winter transfer window. He was an adequate backup, but no more.

Juventus FC v AC Milan - TIM CupPhoto by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Sami Khedira — 6.5

Khedira started the season like gangbusters, scoring in each of Juve’s first two matches and notching an assist in the third. From then on he was a solid, but somewhat inconsistent performer.