Welcome to Last Word on Football’s team of the decade series. Today, we look at the players and manager who have made it into the Juventus team. In the 2010s Juventus were the dominant force of Italian football. They won the league eight times and made two Champions League finals in the last ten years.
But what has been most impressive has been the turnover with which they did it. Juventus only had one player from their midfield or forward line play for seven of the eight title wins. There have been 13 forwards and midfielders who made between 100 and 182 official appearances for Juventus. Only six of them will make the team.
Juventus Team Of The Decade
Manager: Max Allegri
There can be some debate as to whether this should be Antonio Conte instead of Allegri. While both won Serie A titles in all their seasons at Juve, only one made two Champions League finals. It was after Allegri arrived and moved away from the starch 3-5-2 shape that Conte played that they started having European success.
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon
More than the face of Juventus football, Gianluigi Buffon has been the face of Italian football for the better part of 20 years. He’s the most capped Italian international ever and he is second only to Alessandro Del Piero. He’s had so many big moments over the last two decades, but the most interesting might be his current situation. Back at the club after one year at Paris Saint-Germain, Buffon is the back-up to Wojciech Szczęsny. Szczesny is the better keeper these days and the 42-year-old is fine with it. He is happy being home in Turin where he belongs.
Right-back: Stephan Lichtsteiner
There is really no bigger compliment to Lichsteiner than the surprise at seeing he made 257 appearances for the Biaconneri. The Swiss international was marauding down that right-hand side for seven seasons, all of which ended with him hoisting the Scudetto.
Centre-back: Leonardo Bonucci
Aside from one ill-conceived season in Milan, Leonardo Bonucci has been the solid rock of the Juventus defence. He is currently in his 10th season with the club and has played nearly 400 games. But more so than his famous centre-back partners Bonucci is always healthy. He’s always there playing roughly 40 games of stalwart defending a season.
Centre-back: Giorgio Chiellini
Now we move to a man fans of the club will love forever Giorgio Chiellini. The left-footed menace has been a member of the first-team since 2005. He is one of only five players to make more than 500 appearances for Juve. But it’s his style of play that made him a lock for this team. Chiellini is a strong, aggressive defender. One of those defenders who nips at your heels all day only to fall holding his face at the slightest contact, smiling at you while the referee gives you a card.
But Chiellini will be remembered for being one of, if not the best defender of his generation. No modern footballer embodies the rugged, classical defender like the 35-year-old. In an era where each year fewer teams played structured defensive football, Chiellini was a structure to build the defence around.
Left-back: Alex Sandro
One of the more interesting positions in this team is left-back. Juventus had three very distinct left-backs with different styles, but neither Patrice Evra or Kwadwo Asamoah was as good as Alex Sandro. The Brazilian came to Italy with a great attacking reputation and over his years he has really developed into a strong defender.
Defensive Midfield: Andrea Pirlo
Il Maestro. Andrea Pirlo arrived at Juventus after over 10 years carrying the banner for one of their biggest rivals: AC Milan. But after a contract dispute left him a free agent, Juventus took advantage of Milan’s discretion, and Pirlo took the Scudetto with him. A 32-year-old Pirlo led Juve with 12 assists in his first season, and a 36-year-old Pirlo was still leading the charge in his last season as he led his side to the Champions League final.
Midfield: Paul Pogba
It’s hard to imagine Juventus knew how well things would go when they landed international talent Paul Pogba on a free transfer from Manchester United. Pogba was outstanding for the Bianconeri; his silky style fit in perfectly with Juventus. He showed everything you want in a midfielder in Serie A.
Midfield: Claudio Marchisio
Claudio Marchisio was the ultimate selfless midfielder. He played every midfield position, played them well, and left with a smile and the Scudetto. Marchisio is the only midfielder or forward who played for more than half of Juventus title-winning teams of the decade. He loved Juventus, he did everything for the club and you best believe he belongs in the team of the decade.
Attacking Midfield: Paulo Dybala
Onto the most interesting decisions of the team: the attack. Its no question that Paulo Dybala deserves to be apart. He arrived in 2015, just after the first UCL loss, and marked his stamp on the team immediately. He has such good technique; Dybala’s best goals are a mix of all kinds of strikes and finishes. He pretty much dragged Juventus to the Scudetto with a 22 goal season in 2018. Although he may not be playing as well lately, he is still incredibly dedicated to the club. They tried to sell him last summer but he stuck it out and is now one of the club’s three captains.
Striker: Mario Mandzukic
In the first striker position is Mario Mandzukic. The Croatian edges out Gonzalo Higuain for his longevity and work rate. When Higuain arrived Mandzukic was forced to play on the left-wing. It was never an issue. He was fine doing the work of an Allegri winger while occasionally ghosting in to beat a full-back for a header. Furthermore, that goal he scored in the Champions League final is one of the best bicycle kicks ever scored.
Striker: Carlos Tevez
Now for the really controversial pick. Surely anyone reading this far would expect Cristiano Ronaldo to be here? There is a reason as to why he isn’t.
We can’t forget about how great Tevez was in Turin. Coming off his famous disagreement with Roberto Mancini at Manchester City, Tevez came to Juventus motivated to win. The moment he stepped on the pitch he made Juve a different animal. They had already won back-to-back Scudetti when he arrived. But he gave them a goal-scoring threat they had severely lacked before.
In two seasons at Juventus Tevez scored over 50 goals, won two Scudetti, and went to a Champions League final. In a year-and-a-half with the club, Cristiano Ronaldo has just reached 50 goals, won one Scudetto so far and has not been to a Champions League final. It’s not good enough to make the best eleven, but it’s certainly still good enough to make the bench.
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