Pjanic tells Pogba he is welcome back at Juventus as fans dream of deal

Paul Pogba “would be welcome again” at Juventus, says Miralem Pjanic, with the Manchester United midfielder continuing to generate transfer talk.

The 25-year-old’s association with the Bianconeri appeared to have ended when he secured a record-breaking £89 million ($112m) return to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016.

He had spent four productive years in Turin, but was expected to flourish in the Premier League and fully unlock his undoubted potential.

That has not been the case during two years of inconsistency and uncomfortable questions and a second spell in Italy is now being mooted.

Current Juve star Pjanic would like to see a deal done, telling Rai Sport: “It’s the dream of our fans.

“The club has signed some amazing players and are thinking of improving the team even more. He would be welcome again here.”

Bringing Pogba back to familiar surroundings could help Pjanic to fulfil his personal ambition, with there a desire on his part to savour European glory.

The Bosnian midfielder added: “My dream is to win the Champions League and we’ll do everything we can to do it.

“The treble is a dream and an objective for us.

“When I arrived the president showed me a picture taken after Juventus’ fifth successive Scudetto. He told me we should have done more. We did it but it’s not over now.”

Miralem Pjanic Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus 2018-19

The Bianconeri have already invested heavily in chasing down their goals, with five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo having helped to raise the quality and competitiveness within a star-studded squad.

“Our team is very strong, we are working to improve,” said Pjanic.

“[Massimiliano] Allegri knows exactly how to manage the team and which players should be rotated.

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“Cristiano is a plus for us. I think this is the best Juventus side in the history of the club.”

Pjanic added on dressing room leadership now that the iconic presence of Gianluigi Buffon has departed the club: “He is probably the best goalkeepers of all time. He was an important part of the dressing room, he was a true example.

“Now [Giorgio] Chiellini is the reference point, an even bigger reference point than what he used to be. When you play with Gigi and Chiello you learn what Juventus is about.”


Juventus must respect Manchester United – Pjanic

Miralem Pjanic warned Juventus to expect a reaction from “great team” Manchester United when the clubs reconvene in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Paulo Dybala’s first-half goal gave Juve a comfortable 1-0 win over their Group H rivals in a one-sided contest at Old Trafford in October.

The Serie A champions, unbeaten in all competitions this season, will confirm their progression as group winners with another three points in the reverse fixture at the Allianz Stadium.

Bosnia and Herzegovina international Pjanic expects Jose Mourinho’s men to provide firm resistance to that objective and is wary of the danger posed by the likes of ex-Bianconeri star Paul Pogba.

“[Pogba is] a great footballer, just like [Nemanja] Matic or [Juan] Mata or Fred,” Pjanic told Sky Sport Italia.

“United is a team of great quality, there are players who can make the difference, so we will have to face them like we did in the first leg.

“I think that we had a very good game at Old Trafford, we could have scored a few more goals. We hope that in Turin we will manage to score more, but we must not forget that Manchester is a great team with a great coach.

“It’s a game between two great clubs, nothing is taken for granted in the Champions League.

“We are part of the group of teams that wants to go deep in the competition to win it, but it’s a long journey.”

Juve enter the midweek encounter following a 3-1 home victory over Cagliari on Saturday that maintained their six-point lead ahead of Napoli and Inter Milan at the top of Serie A.

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Pjanic lasted 70 minutes before a slight muscle problem curtailed his involvement, but the 28-year-old is confident he will be fit in time to feature against the Red Devils on Wednesday.

“Everything is okay, I will make sure to be ready for the next game,” he said.

“It’s nothing serious. I certainly have been a bit tired lately, but I didn’t have any pain when I came off and I will be with the team on Wednesday.”


Ronaldo & Juventus fear key players could miss Manchester United visit

Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus face a nervous wait to see if a clutch of key stars will be fit enough for the visit of Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Bianconeri host the Red Devils at the Allianz Stadium with Massimiliano Allegri’s side knowing that victory would see them top Group H and secure progression through to the round of 16.

However, they may be forced to tackle Jose Mourinho’s visitors without the trio of Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi and Douglas Costa if injuries sustained in Serie A action over the weekend prove worse that initially thought.

Juve ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over Cagliari to keep them in prime position in the chase for the Scudetto once again – but their victory was somewhat soured after the trio needed to be replaced.

Costa in particular is a concern after he was substituted at the break after only 45 minutes while Matuidi left the pitch late on clutching his thigh.

Allegri played down concerns on the latter and Pjanic however, confirming that he took the pair off more as precautionary measures ahead of the United game with the expectation that they will be fit to face the Premier League outfit.

“Pjanic was a bit tired,” the manager told Sky Sport Italia post-match. “He had a little muscular problem. Matuidi took a hit but was mostly tired too.”

Regarding Costa, Allegri admitted that the winger’s problems were potentially a little more serious, with the coach confirming that the club would monitor his injury in the build-up to this week’s fixture.

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“He felt a pain in his thigh, so we will have to evaluate it over the next few days,” he added.

If Costa is ruled out, it will prove to be a likely blow for Ronaldo. The Brazilian has been one of his best supply lines since he made the move to Juve from Real Madrid in the off-season, helping the Portuguese to seven goals across 13 appearances in all competitions so far.

Juve are looking to reach the final of the Champions League for the second time in three seasons, have lost 4-1 to Madrid at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in 2017, with Ronaldo named man of the match for his performance.


Scholes helped teach Ronaldo how to become the best in the world, says Juventus star Pjanic

Miralem Pjanic believes Cristiano Ronaldo learned to keep things simple from Manchester United great Paul Scholes as the Juventus midfielder praised his superstar team-mate.

Ronaldo is regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time with five Ballon d’Or awards, five Champions League titles and a European Championship crown in 2016 among his haul of 26 trophies.

The 33-year-old forward was also Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer before joining Serie A champions Juve for €112 million in the off-season.

Pjanic highlighted the impact of Scholes on Ronaldo, who spent six seasons with the former United midfielder at Old Trafford, where the Portugal captain arrived as an extravagant and overenthusiastic teenager in 2003.

“If you look at Ronaldo when he was in Manchester and then at the Ronaldo who became the best player in the world, you can see his game has changed. His game became more concrete,” Pjanic told the Guardian of Ronaldo, who scored his fifth Serie A goal in nine games in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Genoa.

“I’ve read a lot of things [Ronaldo] has said about Paul Scholes and how he trained. Everyone talked about Scholes as being extraordinary, but not because he was out there doing dummies.

“By keeping things simple, he made himself special. I think Ronaldo learned from players like that.”

On his own game, Bosnia-Herzegovina international Pjanic said: “I’m not someone who can do 10 stepovers or backheels – I’m not very interested in that. I’m more fascinated by the simplicity of play, because the thing that makes this sport so beautiful. The simplest things are often the hardest. Not everyone can do them.

“I had the good fortune to see players like [Zinedine] Zidane, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Andrea] Pirlo up close. They all make things simple for their team. They make their whole team play well with little things that don’t always get noticed. They reflect on what’s happening and take action to make life easier for guys around them.”

Juve are four points clear atop the table following their unbeaten start to the season as they chase an eighth successive Scudetto.

Napoli have lost out to Juve in two of the past three seasons and while a fan of the club’s style of play, Pjanic would much rather win silverware.

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“Napoli, in recent years, have played beautiful football. But a title, a cup, celebrating with your team, making the fans happy, that’s the reward for all the hard work you put in. Something you get to keep,” the 28-year-old added.

“When you play well and you don’t win, in the end, you get tired. You’ve lost something. You’ve lost time.”


Fantasy Football: Hat-trick hero Messi leads Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Lionel Messi certainly started the 2018-19 Champions League with a bang! He scored the first goal of the competition this season and followed it up with two more for his eighth European hat-trick, taking the lead over one Cristiano Ronaldo. That performance obviously earned the Barcelona man a spot in our Goal Fantasy Team of the Week, where he is joined by the following players.


GK: Wojciech Szczesny – Juventus – 1 Game, 5 Saves (1 Penalty Save), 1 Clean Sheet = 14 Points

DEF: Nicolas Tagliaico – Ajax – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 1 Clean Sheet = 21 Points

Tagliafico had an incredible day, but it actually could have even better as he had a header denied by a fantastic reflex save from Vasilios Barkas. Add in the clean sheet kept by Ajax, and the defender grabs our first Player of the Week award for this Champions League season.

He has never scored more than a single goal in any competition he’s played in so no need to rush out and buy him, but it will be interesting to see how he performs against the big boys in his group.

DEF: Luke Shaw – Manchester United – 1 Game, 1 Assist, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points

Luke Shaw Manchester United 2018-19

DEF: Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus – 1 Game, 1 Assist, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points

MID: Paul Pogba – Manchester United – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 1 Assist = 17 Points

It’s hard to be more efficient than Pogba was on Wednesday as he shot twice and scored twice against Young Boys. He is also now tied for first in assists after round one. Admittedly it’s a 31-way tie, but it’s still nice to see Frenchman flash some creativity.

It will be interesting to see if United can put up this kind of performance against a tougher opponent in Valencia but, it’s tremendously unlikely that any Pogba owner will ship him out after this effort.

MID: Miralem Pjanic – Juventus – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 14 Points

Miralem Pjanic Valencia Juventus Champions League

MID: Nabil Fekir – Lyon – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist = 11 Points

Not many people backed Lyon to get a result today which may explain why none of their players were owned in more than 6% of the Goal game. Those that gambled on Fekir were certainly rewarded with his goal and assist that helped the French side claim all three points.

The underlying stats from round one don’t really back Fekir to be able to keep this up, but that may just be a reflection of City’s defence. Next up he’ll face a Shakhtar defence who allowed the fourth most shots this week.

MID: Emre Akbaba – Galatasaray – 1 Game, 3 Assists = 11 Points

Emre Akbaba Vedran Corluka Galatasaray Lokomotiv Moscow 9182018 UCL

FOR: Lionel Messi – Barcelona – 1 Game, 3 Goals = 17 Points

We mentioned in the Expert’s XI that Messi was coming into this competition with far more momentum than Ronaldo and, hopefully, you listened.

The hat-trick was the Argentinan’s eighth in the Champions League which is the most in European history. Forget stats or matchups, Messi is, in every sense of the phrase, a must-own every match in the Goal game.

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FOR: Michael Krmencik – Viktoria Plzen – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 12 Points

FOR: Ousmane Dembele – Barcelona – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist = 10 Points