Andrea Barzagli believes Antonio Conte and Max Allegri are different characters but share one trait: ‘They train to win’. The former Juve defender spoke at length with Tuttosport and shared his experiences of both coaches during his time with the Bianconeri:
Allegri is intelligent and has demonstrated this last year too. In times of difficulty he understood that he should have done more, in fact we saw a good Juve in the second part of the season. This year he has an even more complicated task because the club has to go back to winning the league title. There will be moments to laugh, but also moments in which to stay well focused.
Conte? There is no one able to enhance players like Antonio: he is extraordinary and has also demonstrated it at Tottenham. I am also linked to Paratici, who often came to see me at Wolfsburg before taking me to Juventus. The Bentancur and Kulusevski operations, previously criticized and now idols of the Spurs, also demonstrate this. Conte and Paratici know about football.
Allegri and Conte are so different? In several ways, yes, but they have one thing in common: they train to win. And they know how to win.”
Expectations for Juve?
“In recent years Juventus have dropped out against teams (in the Champions League) that seemed beatable on paper. Juve must return to at least the Champions League quarters, then the variables are many at that point. Big names, however, always arrive in the quarters.
Zaniolo to Juventus?
“I do not know. I can’t frame Zaniolo well in this Juventus. And I don’t say it for the qualities, because they all see them. It is normal, however, that the club is aiming to take the best young Italians to create a new base. Zaniolo can give unpredictability in certain moments, I would be curious to see him in a team that plays for the Champions League.
Chiellini showed up in Los Angeles quoting a phrase: “Attackers sell the tickets, the defenders win the championships. Do you agree?
“That defenders win championships is worth more in Italy than abroad. In the end it is a middle ground: a strong defence helps. But the attacker, in addition to getting your tickets sold, if he scores, helps you win games. In Serie A, however, statistically first comes who defends better and concedes fewer goals.
Is De Ligt is expected to leave Juventus this summer?
“Matthijs did not show his maximum potential despite last year’s excellent championship, in which he began to take responsibility for leading the defence and the team. It’s similar to Pogba’s situation at Manchester United, but with one more aspect. De Ligt arrived young at Juventus with the pressure of having been an expensive signing and with two great defenders in front of him like Chiellini and Bonucci. It is not easy when you get paid like this and there are expectations. It is difficult to find continuity and have the right trust with two monsters like those two. If he really leaves, it would be a big loss for Juventus and also for the Italian championship. It is normal that then, in the case, he will have to be replaced with a strong defender. Top centre-backs are rare.”