European Football https://footytimes.com football's changing times Sun, 22 Nov 2020 16:49:19 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 https://footytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/cropped-FT-011-32x32.png European Football https://footytimes.com 32 32 162644655 The Great Zinedine Zidane https://footytimes.com/the-great-zinedine-zidane/ https://footytimes.com/the-great-zinedine-zidane/#respond Sun, 22 Nov 2020 16:49:19 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5704

2015 was indeed a special year for sports. Australia won their fifth Cricket World Cup. New Zealand won their third Rugby World Cup. Novak Djokovic had perhaps had the most dominant season in the history of tennis, steamrolling one opponent after the other. But, the one I personally enjoyed the most was the dominant season […]

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2015 was indeed a special year for sports. Australia won their fifth Cricket World Cup. New Zealand won their third Rugby World Cup. Novak Djokovic had perhaps had the most dominant season in the history of tennis, steamrolling one opponent after the other. But, the one I personally enjoyed the most was the dominant season which FC Barcelona had!

Barcelona was invincible in 2014. With the deadly MSN in full flow, they dominated everyone to a historic second European Treble. This dominance continued well into the 2015-16 season. On the other hand, Real Madrid was in absolute shambles. After having sacked two coaches in less than a year, they appointed Zinedine Zidane, a rookie with little experience as a manager. However legendary a player he was, I was among those who thought that he will flop spectacularly and will be sacked before the end of the season. I could have never been more wrong!

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“To see Zidane in action was to witness poetry in motion. The skills, the vision, the goals, he was a sublime performer. He was unquestionably the finest player on the planet.” This quote from Paul Scholes epitomized Zinedine Zidane perfectly. His elegance and class with a ball in his feet were surreal to watch. He never had to exert himself on the pitch. He glided past opponents with effortless ease to the point that the Frenchman was footballing perfection. But, I was never able to enjoy this because he played for Real Madrid. Each time he did something extra-terrestrial, I jolted in frustration. Zinedine Zidane, the player is undoubtedly one of the Greatest Footballers of All Time. Zinedine Zidane, the manager is on course to become one of the Greatest Managers of All Time. 

The Ascension 

2015-16 was a pretty weird season for the Blaugrana. They won their 7th La Liga in 10 years and secured yet another double. But our failure in the Champions League hurt. Barca was defeating one opponent after the other, barging their way to an unbeaten streak of 39 matches. After Madrid snapped the streak in the 40th match, our season went downhill in a flash. By the end of the season, the lead in La Liga dropped from 12 to 1, and Madrid won their La Undecima in a season they were supposed to crumble.

Almost everyone had written Zidane off when he was appointed as manager. For someone who had little managerial experience, being the manager of the biggest club in the world seemed too big a bite to chew. At the start of the 2016-17 season, I thought to myself  “Yes, how we ended last season was disappointing. What Madrid did was a fluke they cannot do it again. We’ll dominate again.” I was wrong, yet again! 

The Summit

2016-17 was the season where Zidane cemented his status as one of the world’s best as Real Madrid hit a peak. They were in a scintillating form that season. It was a complete team. They had the best goalkeeper in the world, the best defensive duo, the best full-back duo, an absolutely dominant midfield trio, and a GOAT upfront in god mode! There was no stopping them. The Blancos bludgeoned their way to a first league title in 6 years and a  second Champions League triumph in succession with a 4-1 shellacking of Juventus (the team which supposedly had the best defence of the tournament). Real Madrid was at the top of the world, with Zidane weaving magic from the sidelines. 

Zidane has never been a revolutionary among the managers, unlike his contemporaries Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola whose style of play has defined generations to come. What the Frenchman excels in is man-management. Real Madrid was and is a squad brimming with big personalities like Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo. He extracted the best football out of the team and at the same time, managed to keep egos at check  He inherited a world-class squad so close, yet so far from glory. He was the catalyst that changed the Blancos from an underachieving squad to an invincible one. 

The Decline

After their dominant 2016-17 season, Madrid was poised to dominate both the league and Europe. Barca, on the other hand, was at the initial stages of a now overblown crisis. Neymar stunned the world by leaving the Catalans for PSG and  I had scant expectations for the season.

However, something had changed. Real Madrid was not the same team anymore. With Cristiano misfiring, they were anything but a shadow of their former self. The ageing squad was showing signs of wear and tear. In the first Clasico of the season, the Blancos were spanked 3-0 by a resurgent Barca, who had a surprisingly good start to the season. But, after two miserable seasons of watching Madrid dominate, I knew that it was folly to write them off. And unfortunately, I was right about this time. 

A sensational victory at home against PSG helped Madrid regain their panache during the second half of the season. Cristiano hit form at the right time and started to score for fun again. Their midfield was looking like a cohesive unit once again. I hoped that Juventus would defeat them and then  Medhi Benatia happened. I hoped Bayern Munich would defeat them and then Sven Ulreich happened. I hoped Liverpool would defeat them and then Loris Karius happened. Just like that, Real Madrid won their third Champions League in succession. I had to resist the urge to plunge my head into the toilet. 

The Fall

Zinedine Zidane resigns!

When I saw this headline in The Hindu one sunny morning, I froze. I was shocked that Zidane had left Madrid but at the same time, jubilant as it was good news for Barca. 

Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Real Madrid!

When I saw this headline in The Hindu another sunny morning, I knew it was the end. Real Madrid was just broken in half. They were finished. I was right again. The Blancos had a car crash of a season. Under new manager Julen Lopetegui, they were tonked 5-1 by Barca. Sacked in the morning. Under new manager Santiago Solari, they were thrashed 4-0 by Ajax. Sacked in the morning. Their next manager, none another than Zinedine Zidane. The return of the prodigal son! 

The Resurgence

Currently, Spanish Football is the weakest it has ever been in decades. Barcelona, the club which won the Continental Treble twice in 10 years is now in shambles. Atletico Madrid has gone stale under Diego Simeone. But, Real Madrid is going through a phase of growth. They are a pale imitation of what they were at their peak but still remain a competent presence. There has been a drastic change in their transfer policy, over the past few years. Gone are the days where they piled in one Galactico after the other and rather, the focus is on young and upcoming talents. For every Eden Hazard, there is a Marco Asensio and Vinicius Jr. The Blancos have started the long road back to the top with Zinedine Zidane version 2.0 at the helm and with it, my love-hate relationship with Zidane unfolds into a new chapter.

This article is second in the series ‘Love Them, Hate Them, Can’t Ignore Them- What I admire most about my rivals’ by our readers. To get your perspective published, write to us at footytimes.com@gmail.com.

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Zidane’s Real Seal Entertaining El Clásico against Koaman’s Barcelona https://footytimes.com/zidanes-real-seal-entertaining-el-clasico-against-koamans-barcelona/ Sat, 24 Oct 2020 18:05:52 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5538

The La Liga Clasico played for the first time in history without a live in-stadium audience, ebbed FC Barcelona away with a 3-1 defeat in their home in Nou Camp, Real Madrid vying the chart with lead. Koeman’s squad’s first Clásico match with a 4-3-2-1 line-up worked no magic against Los Blancos earlier today.  Ramos […]

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The La Liga Clasico played for the first time in history without a live in-stadium audience, ebbed FC Barcelona away with a 3-1 defeat in their home in Nou Camp, Real Madrid vying the chart with lead. Koeman’s squad’s first Clásico match with a 4-3-2-1 line-up worked no magic against Los Blancos earlier today. 

Ramos and Modric finished it off in a 3-1 clear win, the first half bolted by Valverde at 5′ with an opener which was equalised by Ansu Fati at 8′. The extraordinary match stayed tight in the first half but Zizou’s boys were seen pressing Barca in the second half, leaving it only if for counter-attacks.

Ansu Fati, the young and versatile player, marked his presence with back-to-back attacks but did not find the target.  Coutinho was clearly seen struggling on the position in today’s match, with Dest, Pique, Alba and Busquets trying to guard well, while Messi lost at some crucial junctures.

Marching at Camp Nou with consecutive defeats from Cadiz and Shakhtar, Real Madrid started off with an equaling match but soon reigned control over the next decisive minutes. With Benzema succeeding in the front with Casemiro and Valverde, the tasks for Koeman’s defence was seen to be hectic.

The VAR decision in favour of Real Madrid as Lenglet helped himself over Ramos’s shirt and the latter hurling himself over the ground way too exaggerated, resulted in a penalty which was scored on contrary to Barcelona’s confidence. The denied penalty appeal against Verane in the last minutes, clearly raged Koeman: “The Penalty was incomprehensible, we have had no VAR decisions in favour of us.” he said. 

FC Barcelona on Wednesday shall face Juventus in the group stage match of Champions League, while on Tuesday Borussia Mönchengladbach shall face Real Madrid.

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Confession of a Madridista https://footytimes.com/confession-of-a-madridista/ Fri, 23 Oct 2020 08:49:43 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5532

The Messiah. The Little Genius. The Flea. Names are many for this phenomenon from Nou Camp, Lionel Andres Messi. As a Madridista, when you are prompted to write on a rival player you admire the most, you will have no choice but to write about the best player of your eternal rivals, who just happens […]

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The Messiah. The Little Genius. The Flea. Names are many for this phenomenon from Nou Camp, Lionel Andres Messi. As a Madridista, when you are prompted to write on a rival player you admire the most, you will have no choice but to write about the best player of your eternal rivals, who just happens to be the best player in the history of the game. Now, my friends, please don’t get me wrong, and before you go all Goswami on me, let me make this clear. Cristiano Ronaldo was, is, and will be my most favourite footballer, the reasons for which will be kept aside for another piece of paper.
I was about 14 years old when I got really close to the ‘beautiful game’. The name Lionel Messi was already a stock term in the soccer circles by then. In a classroom full of fanboys, it was inevitable for me to have to pick between the iconic blue&red and the royal white. The moment I chose Madrid, little did I know the kind of influence this 5’7” guy would be having over my fanboy life. Just like any other Madrid fan, I followed the norm, to keep track of the games of Barcelona and Lionel Messi, sometimes a bit more eagerly than I would like to admit. Even while my hopes rested on the unlucky side of Barcelona, seldom did they come true, thanks to this little genius from Rosario.

The Messiah. The Little Genius. The Flea.

The effortlessness with which he manipulates the ball, nay, the entire field, that wry smile after those cheeky curlers, and the humility mixed with the tinge of that signature shyness often left my emotions confused, to choose between disappointment, awe, envy, or admiration. From vaguely following Barcelona to watching their game on a regular basis, all thanks to Leo, marked my evolution from a hardcore Madridista to a football fan. I could not believe it when I found myself tearing up at his bad moments, from the 2014 World Cup final to the recent interview after the row with the club management. While the Madridista in me prayed for him to lose every single game he plays, it broke my heart to see him with his head bent down.
But if you know Messi well enough as I do, you will know better than to stay sad and worried about him. He is the Messiah. He is bound to rise. Hopefully, not in your home ground.
So yeah. Love him, hate him, can’t ignore him.
Lionel Andres Messi for you.

 

This article is first in the series ‘Love Them, Hate Them, Can’t Ignore Them- What I admire most about my rivals’ by our readers. To get your perspective published, write to us at footytimes.com@gmail.com.

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Coutinho earns point for Barcelona against Seville https://footytimes.com/coutinho-earns-point-for-barcelona-against-seville/ https://footytimes.com/coutinho-earns-point-for-barcelona-against-seville/#respond Mon, 05 Oct 2020 01:55:08 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5375 Coutinho

Barcelona played out a 1-1 draw with Seville after a close game in which Philippe Coutinho earned a point for the hosts. The Brazilian cancelled out Luuk de Jong’s opener for Seville in a pulsating match at Camp Nou. The fate of the match was decided in the opening 10 minutes as it progressed tough […]

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Coutinho

Barcelona played out a 1-1 draw with Seville after a close game in which Philippe Coutinho earned a point for the hosts.

The Brazilian cancelled out Luuk de Jong’s opener for Seville in a pulsating match at Camp Nou.

The fate of the match was decided in the opening 10 minutes as it progressed tough with strong defense and targeted shots but second half saw no goals.

In an even second period, Ronald Araujo almost scored an embarrassing own-goal for the home side as a low cross bounced off his leg and struck the crossbar.

Defender Jules Kounde twice headed wide from corners as Sevilla produced an impressive performance, remaining solid until the final whistle to withstand a late rallying by Barcelona.

The  Europa League champions with their solid team and improved performance with Koundé defending tremendously well and Rakitić advancing with the front line, showcased promising displays going forward to the season.

However, Barcelona with their improving central defense and constant moves with old guard, Piqué, and the developing relationship with Ansu Fati and Alba are good takeaways for Ronald Koeman.

Alba’s injury paved the way for Sergiño Dest, the versatile youngster to make his debut and become the first ever American player to represent the Blaugaranas.

Messi scrambling to great oppurtunities but resolute defendings.

The entertaining affair for a promising new beginnings ended with a draw.

Barca boss Koeman admitted his side had not been at their best and felt they tired towards the end of the 90 minutes.

“They pressed us really well but we broke it a couple of times, the problem was that on our play with the ball they defended very well and in the end we were tired. We weren’t very accurate and we lost the ball.”

“In the last 10 minutes I don’t know if there was a penalty on Messi and the goalkeeper stopped two or three chances.

“We were less energetic than in the first two games but that depends on the opponents. They defended well, have many strong players and to beat them you have to be on very good form. And we were not.” The Dutch man shared his thoughts on the result.

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Messi on target as Ansu Fati stars in Barca win https://footytimes.com/messi-on-target-as-ansu-fati-stars-in-barca-win/ https://footytimes.com/messi-on-target-as-ansu-fati-stars-in-barca-win/#respond Mon, 28 Sep 2020 06:09:31 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5291

Barça started the first official match of Ronald Koeman’s tenure on the front foot, pegging Villarreal back at every opportunity. An open game saw both goalkeepers called upon in the early exchanges, before Ansu Fati rifled the blaugranes ahead just before the quarter hour from a pinpoint Jordi Alba assist.  Four minutes later, Fati had his second. […]

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Barça started the first official match of Ronald Koeman’s tenure on the front foot, pegging Villarreal back at every opportunity.

An open game saw both goalkeepers called upon in the early exchanges, before Ansu Fati rifled the blaugranes ahead just before the quarter hour from a pinpoint Jordi Alba assist. 

Four minutes later, Fati had his second. Philippe Coutinho led a counter from his own half and picked out the Spanish international with plenty of space in the left inside channel, who placed his effort low into the bottom-left corner past Villareal shot-stopper Sergio Asenjo,

Fati was again involved for a goal as he surged past the defender and drew the foul, with the referee pointing to the spot. Messi stepped up and sent the keeper on wrong side to score his first goal in the Koeman era.

Barca had the game wrapped up by half-time as Pau Torres turned Messi’s cross into his own net.

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Ronaldo scores twice as 10 man Juventus draw against Roma https://footytimes.com/ronaldo-scores-twice-as-10-man-juventus-draw-against-roma/ https://footytimes.com/ronaldo-scores-twice-as-10-man-juventus-draw-against-roma/#respond Mon, 28 Sep 2020 05:39:29 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5287

Cristiano Ronaldo yet again became saviour as 10-man Juventus came from behind to draw 2-2 at Roma in Serie A on Sunday. The Portugal captain scored twice in the eventful match in Rome. The defending champions twice fell behind to goals from Jordan Veretout – the first a penalty awarded for handball and the second […]

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Cristiano Ronaldo yet again became saviour as 10-man Juventus came from behind to draw 2-2 at Roma in Serie A on Sunday. The Portugal captain scored twice in the eventful match in Rome.

The defending champions twice fell behind to goals from Jordan Veretout – the first a penalty awarded for handball and the second a drive, assisted by former Arsenal playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Ronaldo made the score level at 1-1 from penalty, also given for handball.

Adrien Rabiot was then sent off for the visitors for a second bookable offence but Ronaldo salvaged a point with a towering header from Danilo’s cross.

The game was the second of Andrea Pirlo’s managerial reign at Juventus and was the first points dropped after their opening 3-0 win over Sampdoria.

Sunday’s result leaves Juventus in fifth place.

Roma are down in 13th on one point, as their opening day 0-0 draw against Hellas Verona was changed to a 3-0 defeat by Serie A because they fielded an ineligible player.

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Dream debut for Luis Suarez in Atletico Madrid colours https://footytimes.com/dream-debut-for-suarez-in-atletico-madrid-colours/ https://footytimes.com/dream-debut-for-suarez-in-atletico-madrid-colours/#respond Sun, 27 Sep 2020 18:33:51 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5284 Suarez Atletico Madrid

On his Atletico Madrid debut, Luis Suarez came off the bench on 70th minute, scored twice and set up one to help his team thrash Granada 6-1 in La Liga. The hosts were leading 3-0 through goals from Diego Costa, Angel Correa and Joao Felix when the Uruguayan came on as a substitute. He was […]

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Suarez Atletico Madrid

On his Atletico Madrid debut, Luis Suarez came off the bench on 70th minute, scored twice and set up one to help his team thrash Granada 6-1 in La Liga.

The hosts were leading 3-0 through goals from Diego Costa, Angel Correa and Joao Felix when the Uruguayan came on as a substitute.

He was only on the pitch for two minutes when he fed Marcos Llorente to score the fourth goal of the home side.

Suarez who left Barcelona two days back then headed in from a Llorente cross and scored Atleti’s sixth.

That effort came from a rebound after his initial shot hit the post. Jorge Molina had scored for Granada in between Suarez’s double.

Suarez, 33, completed his move on a two-year deal on Friday. He is Barcelona’s third highest goalscorer ever with 198 goals in 283 appearances across six years.

He becomes the first Atletico Madrid debutant to score twice – and the first to score and assist on his La Liga debut for the club this century.

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Real Madrid edge Real Betis 3-2 in La Liga thriller https://footytimes.com/real-madrid-edge-real-betis-3-2-in-la-liga-thriller/ https://footytimes.com/real-madrid-edge-real-betis-3-2-in-la-liga-thriller/#respond Sun, 27 Sep 2020 08:02:34 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5264 Real Betis

Real Madrid edged Real Betis in a five-goal thriller in La Liga as the the game was marred by controversial VAR decisions. Federico Valverde put Madrid ahead from close range but Aissa Mandi – with a header – and William Carvalho scored two quickfire goals as the homes ide Betis led. Madrid were level early […]

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Real Betis

Real Madrid edged Real Betis in a five-goal thriller in La Liga as the the game was marred by controversial VAR decisions.

Federico Valverde put Madrid ahead from close range but Aissa Mandi – with a header – and William Carvalho scored two quickfire goals as the homes ide Betis led.

Madrid were level early in the second half through an own goal by Emerson, who was later sent off by the VAR for a professional foul on Luka Modric.

Sergio Ramos scored the winner with a chipped penalty.

There was a long VAR check for both those decisions, with the penalty disputed because Betis’ Marc Bartra was penalised for a handball as he put his arms out, falling under pressure from Borja Mayoral.

That was Real Madrid’s first win of their title defence, after a 0-0 draw with Real Valladolid last weekend.

Barcelona start their season at home to Villarreal on Sunday.

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Augsburg stun Borussia Dortmund https://footytimes.com/augsburg-stun-borussia-dortmund/ https://footytimes.com/augsburg-stun-borussia-dortmund/#respond Sat, 26 Sep 2020 16:04:15 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5254 Augsburg

Borussia Dortmund were stunned by  Augsburg in front of about 6,000 fans in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Daniel Caligiuri’s free-kick was headed by Felix Uduokhai to put the hosts in front in the late first half. This was his first goal since 2017.  Caligiuri then scored the second after latching on to Florian Niederlechner’s pass […]

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Augsburg

Borussia Dortmund were stunned by  Augsburg in front of about 6,000 fans in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Daniel Caligiuri’s free-kick was headed by Felix Uduokhai to put the hosts in front in the late first half. This was his first goal since 2017. 

Caligiuri then scored the second after latching on to Florian Niederlechner’s pass and holding off Thomas Meunier before finishing.

Super star Erling Braut Haaland almost pulled one back from Jadon Sancho’s pass but his shot was saved by Rafal Gikiewicz.

Augsburg, who have won their opening two games, only had 20% possession and their two goals were their only efforts on target until Alfred Finnbogason forced a double stop from Roman Burki deep into injury time.

English 17-year-old Jude Bellingham made his third appearance of the season but the midfielder was replaced after 60 minutes.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig – who are both likely to be contenders for a Champions League place – drew 1-1.

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New role of Pirlo and the early glimpses of Juventus Glory https://footytimes.com/new-role-of-pirlo-and-the-early-glimpses-of-juventus-glory/ https://footytimes.com/new-role-of-pirlo-and-the-early-glimpses-of-juventus-glory/#respond Sat, 26 Sep 2020 14:07:02 +0000 https://footytimes.com/?p=5157 Pirlo is the head coach of Juventus

Andrea Pirlo, Juventus rookie manager, began his coaching career with an electrifying 3-0 win over Sampdoria at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday. Pirlo was appointed as Maurizio Sarri’s successor in August as Juventus board decided to go with inexperienced Pirlo as the first team manager. He was just appointed as Juve’s under23 manager in July. […]

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Pirlo is the head coach of Juventus

Andrea Pirlo, Juventus rookie manager, began his coaching career with an electrifying 3-0 win over Sampdoria at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Pirlo was appointed as Maurizio Sarri’s successor in August as Juventus board decided to go with inexperienced Pirlo as the first team manager. He was just appointed as Juve’s under23 manager in July.

The decision surprised fans all over the world, who expected an experienced figure like Mauricio Pochettino, Antonio Conte, or Zinadine Zidane, to replace Maurizio Sarri.

Andrea Pirlo is a player considered as one of the greatest deep-lying playmakers of all time, who renowned for his vision, ball control, creativity, technique, and especially his calm and composed manner in the field.

The question is that how their former bianconero helps their big side to titles without any former experience as a manager.

The expectations are that he can follow a similar path to Zinadine Zidane, who adapted a system to get the best out of the star-studded Real Madrid side that won four champions league titles in five years.

The hope that fans set on Pirlo is high, expecting his playmaking tactics as a player and his experience under managers like Carlo Ancelotti will help to rebuild the collapsed midfield of the side which hardly able to find harmony in the field last season under Sarri.

Pirlo provides a sharp contrast to Sarri’s demeanor on and off the field. Pirlo brought a change in Juventus formation, turning it into 3-5-2, which often assumed the shape of 3-4-2-1 or 3-4-2-1 during this game.

Pirlo started with Conceit Szczęsny in goal, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chellini, and Danilo were the three in back with Mathuas de Ligt back out due to injury. Gianluca Frabotta made his second senior appearance, starting at left back ahead of Mattioa de Scigilo while Alex Sandro was out with injury with Juan Cuadrado lined up on right side. Andrien Rabiot and 22 years old American West Mckennie, on loan from Bundesliga side Schalke, occupied central midfield with Aron Ramsey sat in front of them with the freedom to roam. Dejan KulusevskI, the winner of last season’s best young player, joined next to Ronaldo while Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi out with injuries. After 13 minutes of the match, Juventus opened the scoreboard by Kulusevski curled in the first goal in a move started by Ronaldo. On the 78th minute, Bonucci found the net with an assist from Mckennie. Ronaldo, who hit the post earlier, pushed for more and got his first goal in season on Ramsey’s assist two minutes before the final whistle. From the early stage of the match, Juventus have shown more quality in possession and attacking which is a big difference comparing to last season.

Juventus midfielders were able to find rapport in the team that was lacking in the before. Aaron Ramsey, who had a frustrating performance last season, after Pirlo allowed him much freedom to roam, he was involved in everything; his knock-down triggered the move that resulted in the opening goal, and he put superb passes on a plate to Portuguese. He made six tackles, more than any other player in Juventus, and worked hard on the left side of midfield when his team changed shape to defend in two lines of four off the ball. Similar to Ramsey, Adrion Rabiot also has shown some improvements comparing to the previous season. It was reborn to Rabiot who managed to possess the ball in midfield and covering the defense while Bonucci playing upfront. Mckennie, who played 90 minutes in his debut match for Juventus, nearly scored twice in Sunday’s victor and set up a chance for Bonnucci to score on the 78th minutes.

As Pirlo said when he declared “ I want to bring back, above all, the enthusiasm”, the new Juve seen so far, goes on the pitch with another look, it seems almost to have fun as well as entertain. There were changes in formation, players who stayed on the bench come off to the field. And there were some significant tactical changes that have been introduced, but it is the whole team puts its soul into it to throw the heart over the obstacles.

At the end of the game, the Sampdoria manager Ranieri said “ The feeling between the coach and team is incredible”.

Juventus players are so contented with the new coach. Speaking to Sky Sports Italia, Aron Ramsey said Juventus is currently being handled by a new coach with new ideas. He even admitted that Juventus players are being coached by Pirlo himself and his teammates had more fun than when coached by Maurizio Sarri.

According to him this time the players were very involved in providing input and so on for the club. He also revealed that Pirlo’s training was indeed not easy, but in it the players really enjoyed the training session provided by the coach.

“We have a new coach, a new staff, new ideas and the players are very involved in this. I think we are having more fun than last year. The training sessions are hard but there is also a little bit of joy.” He told to Sky Sports Italia.

Leonardo Bonucci believes that there is a new way of interpreting game and a a lot of enthusiasm both in possession and off the ball under Pirlo.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italia he said : “We saw some new ideas proposed by the coach and his staff, a new way of interpreting the game, a lot of enthusiasm both in possession and off the ball.” And he admitted that Pirlo is very different to Sarri.

“There are different movements, as with Sarri we moved far more as a group in defence, whereas with Pirlo we are more one-on-one, giving us more freedom to be aggressive and win back the ball more often.” He said.

The Swedish debutant Dejan Kulusvesky said that he had a great night against Sampdoria and he is lucky to play with Cristiano Ronaldo.

“It was a great night. It wasn’t easy against Sampdoria, but we got three important points. I am happy to have found the goal in the first match… The Coach is calm, he believes in us, he lets us play and gives us confidence. Cristiano? He is fantastic, I learn from him, and this is lucky. Even at 2-0 he asked me to keep pushing.” He told.

Andrea Pirlo, who started his career with 3-0 win over sampdoria, admitted that he they had a great first half and but they dropped physically in second half. He added that its impotant to be keep communication with players.

And he explained about his surprising picks of Frabotta and Mckennie to Sky Sports Italia. “We had an excellent first half, it’s a pity we didn’t end the game right away, we dropped physically in the second half and we knew that they were aiming for break aways, but we were good at controlling them. The relationship with the players is excellent, it is important to have a dialogue with them. We are doing it and we hope it continues. Frabotta? He had a great match, he’s a guy who knows how to play and he’s training well, it wasn’t a risk to field him from the start. McKennie arrived with a few more days of preparation and did well. He made a mistake in the setting phase but it was the first and you can forgive.” he said.


He added that he is thinking about giving rest to Ronaldo in less important games considering his age. “We are thinking about it and talked it over. He’s not tired yet, as we just started, but when we come up to less important games, we’ll try to give him a rest. He’s a very intelligent lad who knows his body very well, so he has aware of when it’s time to rest or to step it up.”

Ahead of Juventus next match with Roma, they have just secured the signing of Alvaro Morato from Athletico Madrid in a season-long deal with a view of making the move permanent.

Juventus seeking for a striker has ended up by the landing of a Spaniard. Pirlo wanted to sign AS Roma striker Edin Dzeko but the Romans rejected the 16 million euros offer for him. And Paulo Dybala, who had been out for over a month with a thigh injury, started training and completed the full session with teammates Reuniting of Morata with Old Lady and return of Dybala after his recovery, could help Pirlo to bring balance in the team and assure a spectacular game for the fans when Serie A Champions tackle Roma at Stadio Olimpico on sunday.

Juventus defeated Roma last season when these two teams met at Olimpico. Roma finished goalless against Verona on the pitch. But the league handed them a 3-0 defeat due to their gigantic clerical mistake in the registration of 23 old Amaudo Diawara in under 22 list. Of their last 10 games, Juventus won six and Roma won three times and draw in one.

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