Paris St Germain midfielder Marco Verratti has stated that he can work alongside Andrea Pirlo in the Italian national team after being drafted in at the last moment following an injury to AC Milan midfielder Ricardo Montolivo. Montolivo and Pirlo were expected to start the midfield, but this injury has forced manager Cesare Prandelli look at other options. After an impressive campaign with Paris St Germain, Verratti is one of the first names to have joined the 23 man squad for the World Cup. He needs to be at his best in order to help the national team overcome a very disappointing form in recent weeks.
The pretournament friendly matches have not gone according to plan and Italy are expected to struggle in the World Cup. The national team will be coming up against England and Uruguay along with Costa Rica in the group stages. Verratti, though, has been inconsistent with PSG this season. Even though he helped the team win the French league title, his poor performances in the Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea have not gone unnoticed. Verratti was frequently caught in possession, which led to Chelsea going through to the semi-finals at the expense of PSG.
The young midfielder, though, is confident that the hugely experienced Pirlo will help him.
“There isn’t a midfield role I prefer, for three years now I have had several tasks and positions. I still believe that playing alongside Pirlo is possible, it is impossible for others as they aren’t comfortable with a player like Andrea. I was called into the 30-man team and the priority for me was to give my best so as to be in the list of 23. I gave my best, but of course I feel sorry for those who didn’t make it. Football is all about choices, and you just have to respect them,” said Verratti.
Juventus manager Antonio Conte has revealed that the club should consider spending a lot of money in order to become a top club in Europe once again. Conte has been receiving a lot of plaudits after he guided Juventus to the third straight Italian league title. However, they have not been doing well in Europe during this period. In his first season of winning the league, the club reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Last season, they were knocked out at this stage. This year, however, has been the major disappointment after they failed to reach the knockout stages.
Even though the club reached the semifinals of the Europa league where they were ultimately knocked out by Benfica, this is not seen as a great performance by the team. Conte has been only a limited amount of money during this period with signings like Carlos Tevez being brought to the club for around £ 10 million. This is in sharp contrast to the signings made by the likes of Real Madrid, who spend more amount of money on Cristiano Ronaldo’s wages alone. Conte has said that they have a limited budget and this allows him to take the team only so far.
He says that the club must spend a lot of money in the summer to become a European force once again.
“When you have 10 euros (Dh51) in your pocket you can’t eat in a restaurant where the meal will cost you 100. It’s been three successful but stressful years and now people expect us to automatically win in Europe, but it’s never quite so easy. I will be sitting down to talk to the club,” said Conte after leading the club to the 30th league title in their history. The 44-year-old is widely regarded as one of the best young managers the world.
The 2-0 shock defeat at the hands of Napoli has once again opened the possibility of the likes of Rome and Napoli catching Juventus at the top of the table.
Apart from bringing an end to the 22 match unbeaten run for Antonio Conte’s men, this defeat has once again reinvigorated the Italian Serie A. Ahead of the match with Livorno during the weekend, Conte accepted that the title race was anything but over. He says that there is every chance that the likes of Roma and Napoli could catch them in the remaining weeks of the campaign.
Hence, he has urged the Juventus players to be at their very best against the league strugglers. Juventus also have a match against Lyon in the Europa league midweek action to worry about, while the likes of Roma are free from such distractions. The two teams are separated by only eight points with six matches left. Between now and the end of the season, Juventus have tough matches against the likes of Bologna and Udinese. The 44-year-old manager also says that they cannot afford to take the foot off the gas in the Europa league as well.
Juventus managed a 1-0 away victory against the French club in the first leg. They are the favourites to win the Europa league this season.
“It is absolutely not over. This has been a fascinating season with two teams breaking records and doing extraordinary things. People should give credit to Juventus and Roma, but there are six games to go and you all know what I think about it. Nothing has been concluded and we must keep going like this. We cannot take our foot off the gas, as in three days we play again and we want to get into the semi-finals,” said the Juventus manager.
Juventus’ reward for beating Trabzonspor in the last 16 round of the Europa league is a match against Italian club Fiorentina. Both Fiorentina and Juventus know each other extremely well and this has prompted manager Antonio Conte to say that his players should be wary of the threat posed by Vincenzo Montella’s men.
Juventus are likely to shift their attention towards winning the Europa league this campaign. The club have almost sealed the league title after extending the lead to 14 points following a run of several consecutive victories.
Since suffering the 1-0 defeat against Roma in the Coppa Italia back in January, Juventus have been undefeated in all competitions. They played Fiorentina as early as last weekend and came away with a 1-0 win. Asamoah scored the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute. There was little to separate the two teams, which is the reason for Conte saying that his players should be wary of the threat.
Unlike Juventus, Fiorentina will also have one eye on the top three places. They are currently fourth in the table with 10 points separating them from third placed Napoli.
Unlike Juventus, Fiorentina come into the match without a win in the last four matches. They are likely to look more into regaining the form than winning this encounter.
“We’ll be up against a fierce Fiorentina side who will want to go through. Their domestic situation means they’ll be focusing all their efforts exclusively on these two games. We, on the other hand, are gunning for a great target in what would be the club’s third consecutive Scudetto. But we’re also aiming to continue our journey in Europe. The Europa League is a wonderful competition and, although it won’t be easy, going all the way would be very important for our development as a group,” said Conte.
Juventus recently could only manage a 2-2 draw against Verona, which may not have hurt their title chances match, but manager Antonio Conte decided to punish the players by not giving them a day-off after the match.
This tactic by the manager drew criticism of the former Juventus coach and current Russian national team manager, Fabio Capello. He is regarded as one of the finest Italian managers of all time after having lifted numerous titles with several clubs over the years. However, Conte has reacted to this criticism by saying that Capello’s time at Juventus will be regarded as a failure.
During Capello’s time at the club, they managed to lift two league titles, but the big talking point came when the titles were stripped off due to match fixing. On the contrary, Conte managed to guide the team from the second division of Italian football to their first title since the match fixing scandal. Capello is currently in charge of the Russian national team and he has recently signed a new contract that will keep him beyond the World Cup 2014. Conte has suggested that Capello should focus on looking after his work rather than giving opinions about the works of others.
Juventus are currently nine points ahead of second placed Roma and are favourites to win a third straight league title.
“I’ve heard a lot of stupid things regarding the decisions I make. Capello likes to stick his nose in where it’s not wanted. Of his (Capello’s) two years in charge, I don’t remember much football but rather the two revoked scudetti. Other great former Bianconeri coaches, like (Marcello) Lippi and (Giovanni) Trapattoni are respectful and educated regarding other people’s work. It seems that when a football guru (Capello) speaks out we should all be silent and pay reverence,” said Conte.
The manager of Juventus, Antonio Conte, has said that he doesn’t want anyone from his team to take a transfer in the mid season transfer window.
Quite a few Juventus players are speculated to be on their way overseas in January. Paul Pogba (France), Andrea Pirlo (Italy) and Mirko Vucinic (Montenegro) are among those players.
Vucinic is believed to be willing for an away move because he hasn’t been getting enough playing time at Juventus stadium, while, Pirlo’s contract is going to finish next summer. So, he can now start getting in touch with other clubs. As far as Pogba is concerned, he is a guy whom most of the clubs around the world are interested in and Juventus is certainly going to receive a couple of bids for him in January.
Conte is pretty satisfied with the players that he has got at the moment and he has no plans whatsoever to put anybody on sale in near future.
Talking to the reporters yesterday, the Juventus boss said, “I am not going to try and sell anyone, but, if someone wants to leave, I obviously can’t put pressure on him to stay.”
When asked if there are chances that Pirlo and Pogba would be given contract extension by the club in the upcoming weeks, Conte said, “I think you are not asking this question to the right man. It’s the job of the director general to take decisions on these issues. My job is to coach the team.”
Juventus had become the Serie A Champion in the last season and it seems they are on their way to do it again this season. They are placed at the top of the Serie A 2013-14 Table with 49 points in 18 games.
Italian club Juventus have been linked with big amount moves for Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic or Liverpool’s Luis Suarez during the transfer window early next year. The Bianconeri are expecting to add on their striking choices with Mirko Vucinic awaited to leave at the seasons end and they are also keeping a close eye on 2 of the biggest footballers in Europe.
Recent reports suggest that Juventus is looking for Croatias Mandzukic and it is expected that he would command a fee of approximately 20 million. A newspaper claimed that Ivan Cvjetkovic, the agent of Mandzukic, was in spectators’ stands during Juventus’ 2 – 2 Champions League match draw against Real Madrid. At present, Mandzukic has 8 goals in h is kitty in twelve league appearances.
In the mean time, a leading United Kingdom based tabloid reported that Juventus have already offered EPL side Liverpool a swap contract of midfield player Claudio Marchisio as well as defense player Leonardo Bonucci for Uruguayan Luis Suarez.
In the mean time, it was also reported that Serie A title holders Juventus are also interested in Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa.
The Japanese player has failed to make an impact at Manchester United and he has seen his 1st team opportunities increase all the more limited under new manager David Moyes. There are reports that the former Borussia Dortmund player could accept a fresh new offer from a new club and he might join Juventus of they are interested in him.
After pursuing Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente for a long time, Juventus finally managed to sign the striker in the summer on a free transfer from the Spanish club. He agreed to move to the Italian club back in January itself.
However, the move to the Italian champions has not been a smooth transition for the Spaniard, who has struggled to hold down a first-team spot at the club. He has also failed to score a league goal up until the weekend’s match against Hellas Verona. In the match against Hellas Verona, Llorente finally scored his first goal for Juventus.
The lack of goals from the striker has been a concern for manager Antonio Conte, who did not use him even when Juventus were chasing the game against FC Copenhagen in the Champions league midweek action a few days ago.
In fact, Llorente has found first-team opportunities limited for the last year or so ever since he became a contract rebel at Athletic Bilbao. He scored less than 10 goals for the Spanish club last season, and it appears that he is still a long way off from becoming the feared striker. Conte has said that the goal from Llorente is a major boost for his confidence, and he hopes that the Spaniard makes use of this confidence to build on.
“Fernando did well, he can do better, this goal will certainly boost his confidence and that of all of us who worked hard to get him back into shape. It was planned that he would play one of the three games this week. I chose Verona, as we were on home turf and the fans could help him. We cannot afford to think there are players who can’t be dropped. We play every three days, they need to rest and squad rotation is essential, so soon enough Carlos Tevez will also be rested,” said Conte.
Juventus have strengthened their attack substantially by bringing in the likes of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente during the summer transfer window. Juventus manager Antonio Conte acknowledged that the strikeforce of the team needed to be strengthened substantially in order to challenge for the Champions League title.
Llorente arrived on a free transfer, while Carlos Tevez was a £ 10 million signing from Manchester city. Juventus already have one of the strongest midfield in Europe due to the presence of players like Andrea Pirlo and Vidal.
They featured their new strike partnership in the match against Everton. Juventus are currently in the USA for their pre-season tour. They took on Everton in the Guinness International Champions Cup match. Even though neither Tevez nor Llorente scored in the encounter, Conte was happy with the partnership shown by the two on the pitch. The match finished as a 1-1 draw with midfielder Vidal scoring the only goal for the Italians through a penalty. Conte has said that Tevez and Llorente did not score in the match, but they showed enough promise that they can lead the club to success in the coming season.
Conte also recently revealed that he is targeting a third straight Italian league title with Juventus this season.
“I think that [Tevez and Llorente] are working well together and working very hard together, just as the whole team is doing. The legs were a little bit tired. We’re working on that and getting back into the rhythm of things.
But overall this evening I enjoyed the attitude of these two players and this couple playing together. Two highly competent forwards came in, also Ogbonna in defense. Overall the level of the players coming in has increased the competitiveness of the team,” said the Juventus manager. Juventus have not won three straight league titles since 1931.
Juventus will be going into the new season as the champions, and they will be looking to repeat the feat for a third successive campaign. They could be one of the few teams who have managed to win the Italian Serie A title thrice in succession.
Aside from going for the league title, Antonio Conte has said that he also wants the club to do well in the Champions league as well. Recently, Juventus were announced as the biggest winners of the Champions League campaign last season because they collected more than £ 55 million in prize money.
This is even more than the eventual winners of the competition, Bayern Munich. This is due to the fact that only two teams managed to qualify for the group stages of the competition from Italy. Juventus have already brought in the likes of Carlos Tevez in the last few weeks to strengthen the squad. Conte has said on several occasions that he would like to bring in a top quality striker to the squad and this request has been fulfilled by the arrival of Tevez. The Argentine striker has been one of the best strikers in the world over the last seven years and he cost the club only around £ 10 million.
“It has been an intense pre-season so far, but it has certainly been excellent. We’ve worked very hard for 10 days, with double training sessions, and we are pleased with having achieved our target. We’re also very happy from the point of view that we haven’t suffered any injuries and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that continues,” said Conte.
Juventus were able to come out of the pre-season in the last 10 days without any major injuries, which was a major positive aspect for the manager who is already regarded as one of the best young managers in the world.