Five points on Juventus - with Italian football expert Mina Rzouki
04 August 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
For our latest 'five points' feature on Juventus, we asked for the insight of Italian football expert Mina Rzouki - writer, presenter, pundit and regular contributor for the Daily Mirror, BBC 5live, BBC Sportsworld, BT Sports, CNN, ESPN and TRT World.
WHAT IS THE SECRET BEHIND JUVE’S CONTINUED SUCCESS IN SERIE A?
Mina: “There are so many things and predominantly, it’s that they know how to build a team and what it takes to build a team. It’s such a well-managed organisation. They have a great scouting system and one of the best things about Juventus is that they never purchase just talent, they purchase the full package, and by that I mean they understand what it takes to make a great player and a great team - mental fortitude, combining experience with youth, winners with up-and-coming players. For example, Daniele Rugani is a young, Italian talent and they played him alongside Leonardo Bonucci (now with AC Milan), Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli so he understands the team and then he’s ready to take over. They always look at what the team needs at that moment. The team needed a player like Dani Alves, a player who had won so much at Barcelona, it didn’t matter that he was older, he had that winning mentality. At the same time, they brought in Marko Pjaca from Croatia, just 20 and he will learn from Mario Mandzukic.
TELL US ABOUT THE MANAGER MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI...
Mina: “Quite simply, I believe he’s the best tactician in the world. I know that’s quite out there, but when it comes to tactics, strategy and teaching players to take responsibility on the field without a heavy workload of instructions, he’s the best. He also understands how to nurture players and how to get players to translate his ideas into practice. He also knows what formations to play and how to attack the opponent based on their weaknesses and the strengths of his own team. On a tactical level, he knows what to do in every situation, he’s quite superb at that, he was at Milan and is now going forward at Juventus.”
Below: Massimiliano Allegri
JUVENTUS ARE PACKED WITH WORLD-CLASS PLAYERS, WHO DO YOU PICK OUT AS THE KEY MEN?
Mina: “Right now, I’d say Alex Sandro (Brazilian left-back) has a huge role to play because of his energy and how well he understands the duality of the role. He knows how to go forward and offer width, passes superbly and when to get back and defend and prioritise that part of the game. Sami Khedira is also a huge part of the team and there is a greater emphasis on Miralem Pjanic, he’s a ball-playing midfielder who is getting better at defending and knows how to open attacks going forward.”
WHO HAS CAUGHT YOUR EYE OUT OF THE SUMMER ARRIVALS?
Mina: “It has to be Douglas Costa. He was my favourite player when he was at Shakhtar Donetsk (2010-15), a lot of people at the time liked Alex Teixeira, Ferdandinho was wonderful there as well but Costa was something more. He’s a player of great intelligence and stamina and a relentless trainer. If he’s poor on his right foot, he’ll constantly look to improve. That’s one quality Juventus loved about him. At Bayern, his team-mates would say he’s an exceptionally hard-working player who cares about making a difference. That’s what they need at Juventus at the moment, quality going forward and someone who can help Paulo Dybala between the lines, to provide for Gonzalo Higuain and score goals himself. For me, he’s a huge plus.”
Below: Douglas Costa
FINALLY MINA, CAN ANYONE STOP JUVENTUS IN ITALY? AND DO YOU THINK GIANLUIGI BUFFON WILL FINALLY WIN HIS COVETED CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MEDAL?
Mina: “It will be harder this season. What we’ve come to realise with Juventus is that despite the fact they have a great team unit and they are growing in terms of character and mentality, they tend to stutter at the final hurdle (Juve have lost their last five Champions League finals, Buffon three in his 16 years). They had it in the bag against Real Madrid in 1998 but lost it, penalties against Milan in 2003, Real Madrid this year, it’s that final step. In Italy, Milan could be provide huge opposition now.”
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