Andrea Barzagli believes Juve’s defensive issues could be fixed by signing Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. The former Bianconeri defender gave his assessment of the current Juventus squad in an interview with Tuttosport, and how the departure of Giorgio Chiellini and the expected sale of Mattihjs De Ligt could be resolved by acquiring Koulibaly.
In case of the sale of De Ligt, what type of centre-back is needed by the Bianconeri?
“A physically strong, aggressive and fast defender who gives a sense of security when you look at him. The base of a team begins from the back with strong players and great personality.
The first name on the Juventus list is Koulibaly. Agree?
“If they were to take Koulibaly, the defence problem would already be solved because Kalidou is really strong. I would be curious to see Bremer: I do not question his qualities, which are evident, but in his case it wouldn’t be clear how he would react to the qualitative leap and having to play every three days to win, without being able to make a mistake ».
A defender you appreciate from abroad?
“Koundé from Sevilla. Even my son loves him.”
In these days of millionaire auctions for defenders, do you never wonder what your price would be in current football?
“It was different times… I established myself at thirty. Let’s say that now at least €50 million would be worth it. I often joked with my teammates in the locker room: we defenders do the dirtiest job, we never have fun and then we earn less than the others… Although it is clear: obviously we have been super privileged too! I always tell my son to play in front, that there is time to retreat.”
Has Gatti called you for some advice?
“I’m honest: when you make a jump like this it’s because you have potential and you deserve it. So I would avoid comments like: ‘enjoy the moment’. No, Federico has to go there and play. And I think he will: when you start from certain leagues and get to the top, it means that you are hungry and want to assert yourself. In the national team he sent me good impressions, physically he is strong. They will evaluate him well in the ritiro, but if they have chosen him, it is because he has quality.”
Of the historic BBC only Bonucci remains. What captain will he be?
“Leo has always been a captain. The armband can count, but then inside the locker room there are the leaders who make the difference. And Bonucci has always been a leader with personality.”
In attack Juventus starts with Vlahovic again. To which category does the Serbian belong?
“Dusan has excellent potential, but he still has a lot to prove. He must improve in team play. He is a top finisher and has a remarkable mentality. I am convinced that Di Maria and Chiesa, when he returns, will give Vlahovic a great hand: a little of what was missing in the season finale.”
Dybala is still without a club: did you expect that?
“No. And it’s strange to me to see Paulo without a team on July 10th. The whole market is strange, with important players ending their contracts and walking. I’m curious to see where Joya can go. I would like to see him abroad, in a championship with more space for him. It would also be a new experience. But Dybala is Dybala: I would see him do well everywhere.”
Pirlo left for Turkey (Karagumruk). Tevez is now on the bench too: Did you expect them to be coaches so soon?
“Andrea got back into the game and did well. Juventus had a difficult year because of Covid and it would have been complicated for any rookie. Bravo Pirlo, I wish him a big good luck. Tevez at Rosario Central? Carlitos is a born coach, he has a crazy personality. I think he’ll do well on the bench.”