Juventus from the outside
I'm still living it, but with a few more stomachaches. I watch it on TV, not even from the stadium, but always with the passion, I had as a player. Seeing it from the outside, certain moments, especially this year with hiccups and some heavy defeats, from the outside is not easy to bear. While in the locker room you lived it, you go again on the field. Now it's different. I live it like all the fans. The pandemic helped me to take a break from my professional career, the first months I was ready and determined, then I was always looking for the field, even when I was driving around.
Playing for Juventus
On the one hand, you make your way as a child, with a dream and a favorite team. Then you reach it and it seems incredible. Until you get there you don't believe it, you see it with all the guys who have talent and then lose it for a thousand reasons. There were years when I could leave, especially the two years of the 7th place, Juve was in trouble and foreign teams were looking for me. And they were tough years. I hadn't won anything yet, but there were people like Nedved, Buffon, Del Piero who had won everything and when they came seventh they had terrible stomachaches. And so did I. At a certain point I won't hide the fact that my only thought was to win, and luckily the following year we started to do it. Other offers came in, but I was fulfilling my big dream and I'm proud of that. When I look at Juve I can't help but smile. Even when they lose, I look at that jersey, I think about what it was, I know what it means and I smile for what it has given me.
Winning 7 Scudetti
A small part in a big story. Even if it had been 1, I would have been happy. When we started this journey we didn't expect these results. There is so much inside, not just the trophies, but the games, the groups, the comebacks. The great thing about seeing the photos at the end of the year, at the party, is that those smiles remind you of everything that happened and it's liberating.
Pogba said he experienced racism here when he arrived: a father and a child who insulted him, his response was to give the shirt to the child. That child when he arrived home in my opinion did not see himself in his father but in Pogba. There is a real problem of racism, but part of it is also ignorance, which transforms this passion into something negative that fathers pass on to their children.
I used to listen to him on TV and I was a kid. You have to go and have idols and listen to them. It's fundamental, that's how I grew up. The sportsman has responsibilities on and off the pitch.
The first time in the first team there was Fabio Capello, there was Italo Galbiati, there were no headphones, music, or speakers, you arrive in the locker room all concentrated. Some did some exercises, some closed their eyes, some talked to others about what to do on the pitch, there was nothing of what there is now. I experienced what there is now, at the beginning it was inconceivable to see a boy dancing to concentrate. I didn't understand it, it was wrong for me. But then I could see that he was having a great performance on the field. And if you tried to take it away from him he was even more nervous, it was a means to them. I could hear the music in the bus, all the way to the dressing room, where there were no cameras, the noise of the fans, and so on.
There is a lot of talk and different opinions in a locker room. When you're 20 you want to joke with guys your own age, but you also like to listen to the captain who's been there for 10 years and who tells you about his experience on the pitch and in life. When you're 30 it's more difficult to joke with young people, but it's right to be in tune with them, it makes the difference. Think now of Gigi with Fagioli, how many things he has to tell him.
Definitely, someone who has given me a lot, it's not easy for a goalkeeper. They have their own little group, they live in different times and situations. It's not easy to be a captain and a goalkeeper. But he had a great ability: he could see when the group started to be unfocused or be down, so he would call everyone and talk. It's a great ability.
Playing in midfield
It helps you to look around, always. I've played everywhere: midfielder, full-back with Delneri, a second striker with Conte. This has led me to be complete and to live the seasons with Allegri to the fullest, even in front of the defense.
Can flexibility be a problem? Yes, at a certain point you and the coach have to understand what the role is. It's not that every coach can change it, you have to see the growth of the boy. Bentancur for example has been brought into the front of the defense because of a lack of players, but it's too early. He needs pace, he has speed, he should have continued to play as a mezz'ala to get to 6/8 goals which he has never done.
How would I set up this Juventus?
Juve in recent years has a much bigger squad than in the early years, you can change a lot. I still think you have to have a fixed starting point, on which you can change and work. I've always loved the three-man midfield. Juve has very strong players up front who can adapt, this year they never had Dybala, we have to see with him whether to continue with this module or change. Juve must see the positive: some youngsters who are growing well, like McKennie and Chiesa. He has impressed me, especially for the desire he has to always put his best foot forward. After nine years of winning, a year of transition is normal. It's not a failed season, Juve is always there. After all these victories and trophies, thinking about a year with nothing or little may seem strange.
Ronaldo at Juve a loss for Real and Cristiano? Well, especially Real, for what he won and gave. He has not been replaced in terms of quality. Ronaldo at Juve brought his great goal-scoring streak. We saw it in his first year in the Champions League against Atletico, winning championships. But in the year of Ronaldo, something was left out: important purchases, generational change in progress, those youngsters were not able to create a new base. Now there are small flaws that have been seen in the Champions League and the championship, even last year Juve won it with great difficulty. So it's been like this for two years.
Source: Cronache di Spogliatoio - via Il Bianconero