Juventus' team of the decade
- The Bianconeri have had a phenomenal decade, but who makes it into their best team of the 2010's?
Right Wing-Back: Stephan Lichtsteiner
Switzerland’s Stephan Lichtsteiner moved to Juventus in the summer of 2011, and immediately made an impact – scoring the first league goal in the new Allianz Stadium. That season saw him complete 35 of Juve’s 38 league games, helping them to win the first Scudetto in a run of seven with the Swiss international at the club.
Lichtsteiner’s ability to fire accurate crosses and balls into the box from the right flank, as well as drop back into a more defensive system made him the perfect man to fill the right wing-back slot when Antonio Conte switched to a 3-5-2 system, and 2013/14 saw him finish as the Old Lady’s top assist maker with eight.
During his time at the club Lichtsteiner was almost an ever-present – even battling with the famed Dani Alves for the right wing-back slot when the Brazilian arrived at the club in 2016. When he departed in 2018, the Swiss defender had made a total of 257 appearances for Juve, scoring 15 goals.
Central Midfield: Arturo Vidal
Given the nickname Il Guerriero – meaning ‘the Warrior’ – by the Italian press, Chile’s Arturo Vidal joined Juventus in 2011 for a relatively small fee of €10.5m. To say he ended up repaying that fee would be an understatement, as the combative midfielder became an integral part of Antonio Conte’s first Scudetto winning squad and never looked back.
Deployed by Conte as a box-to-box man, Vidal’s job was largely to do the hard running while his midfield partner Andrea Pirlo pulled the strings, and the system suited him perfectly; he scored seven league goals and made three assists in his debut season, and missed just five league games along the way.
In his later days at Juventus he was deployed by Max Allegri as a more attacking midfielder, and it was in 2014/15 that he arguably produced his best football for Juve; he scored eight goals and made four assists, and helped his side make it to the Champions League final before departing for Bayern Munich that summer.
Central Midfield: Andrea Pirlo
Usually considered the greatest free transfer signing of all time, Andrea Pirlo moved to Juventus in the summer of 2011 following the expiration of his contract at AC Milan, and the veteran had an almost instant impact on his new team. Boss Antonio Conte deployed him as a deep-lying playmaker with two box-to-box men supporting him, and he pulled the strings as Juve marched to the Scudetto, ending the season by being named seventh in that year’s Ballon d’Or voting.
Considering he was already 32 when he joined the club, Pirlo’s standard at the Allianz Stadium was simply phenomenal. His first season alone saw him create over 100 chances and complete 2643 passes with an 87% accuracy, and he largely stayed at that level throughout his time at the club, which lasted for four seasons.
He finished his time with the Old Lady having won four successive Scudettos, and was named in Serie A’s Team of the Year for every season he spent at the club, also picking up Footballer of the Year awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014 too.
Left Wing-Back: Alex Sandro
A €26m signing in the summer of 2015, Brazil’s Alex Sandro is one of the few players in this team to have been signed by Max Allegri rather than Antonio Conte. Slotting into the left wing-back slot in Juventus’ favoured 3-5-2 formation, Sandro hit the ground running at the Allianz Stadium, scoring two goals and making three assists in 22 appearances in his debut season as he won his first Scudetto at the club.
Capable of playing anywhere on the left flank, it’s this versatility that has made Sandro such an important piece of Juventus’ jigsaw over the past few seasons. Strong and quick, the Brazilian is tough in the tackle but can also dribble, beat opponents and make excellent crosses into the box – as evidenced by his 18 assists since joining the club.
Still just 28-years old, it’s likely that Sandro will remain a key part of the club moving into the next decade, too.Published 21 Nov 2019, 18:14 IST