Pjanic and Benatia set for Juventus debuts

The Bianconeri’s new signings will line up against Tottenham in Tuesday’s International Champions Cup clash, while Roberto Pereyra is also in the frame

Miralem Pjanic and Medhi Benatia will make their Juventus debuts against Tottenham in the International Champions Cup (ICC) on Tuesday, Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed.

Pjanic moved to Turin from Serie A rivals Roma this summer for €32 million, while Benatia joined in an initial loan deal from Bayern Munich, with the Italian champions holding an option to make it permanent.

The two signings missed out on Juve’s defeat to Melbourne Victory on Saturday, but Massimiliano Allegri confirmed they will feature against the Premier League side.

“Benatia’s going to play, as well as Pjanic and Roberto Pereyra,” he said on Monday.

“We’re probably going to play with four defenders but as a right-back, maybe I’m going to pick a young player or Alex Sandro.”

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A flat performance against Melbourne saw the Bianconeri lose on penalties in their ICC opener, but the coach has demanded a stronger display when they take on Mauricio Pochettino’s men. 

“Tuesday is going to be a very different game and I’m expecting that there is going to be more intensity,” he said.

Allegri spent the first section of training working on defensive shape with a back five of Alex Sandro, Carlos Blanco, Benatia, Daniele Rugani and Kwadwo Asamoah.

After working with a quintet, Sandro and Blanco took turns on the sidelines as Allegri tested out a back four.

The defenders were forced to move from side to side on the pitch as Allegri and two of his assistants kept possession before the Juve coach tested them with a long-ball.

Possible Juve XI: Neto, Sandro, Benatia, Rugani, Asamoah, Hernanes, Lemina, Pjanic, Pereyra, Dybala, Cerri.


Totti isn't going to stop this season – he can keep going, says Spalletti

The club icon turns 40 in September and is expected to end his playing career at the end of the 2016-17 campaign, but his coach is confident he will continue

Roma head coach Luciano Spalletti believes Francesco Totti could continue playing beyond the end of the coming season.

Totti, who turns 40 in September, agreed to a one-year contract extension last month after weeks of uncertainty over his future in the capital.

Roma president James Pallotta said the 2016-17 season would be the record goalscorer’s last as a player, before he begins an as-yet unspecified role behind the scenes at the Stadio Olimpico.

Spalletti, however, has suggested the 2006 World Cup-winner can continue to play for as long as he wishes.

“Pallotta can say what he wants,” he said. “But Totti will stop only when he himself decides to. In my opinion, that won’t be this year, either.

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“He will stop when he wants. I cannot decide and neither can you. You want Totti to stop playing this year, to destroy him psychologically, to take him on a tour of the pitches and museums.

“But if he continues to produce the same kind of statistics, he can still play.”

Spalletti was speaking while midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who left Roma for Juventus for a reported €32 million fee, was addressing the media in Turin for the first time.

The former Zenit boss conceded it will be tough to replace the 26-year-old but remains determined to challenge Juve for the Serie A title.

“Substituting Miralem will be difficult,” he said. “He has quality with his feet and in his decision-making. However, our objective remains to compete with Juventus and all the top teams.”

Pjanic reveals reason behind Juventus shirt number

The midfielder, a €32 million arrival from Roma, picked No.5 due to his admiration for Zinedine Zidane as he looks to emulate his “idol” after signing a five-year contract

Miralem Pjanic has picked the No.5 shirt at Juventus because of his admiration for “idol” Zinedine Zidane.

The midfielder was unveiled at a press conference on Tuesday after arriving from Roma in a deal worth €32 million, signing a five-year deal.

Pjanic has long spoken of his admiration for Zidane, who won six honours with the club during a five-year stay including two Serie A titles, and will now look to emulate the Real Madrid manager for the Old Lady.

Looking good, @Miralem_Pjanic!pic.twitter.com/TeczfRc3MP

— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) July 12, 2016

“I will wear the No.5 shirt. Zidane was my idol and had that number,” he told reporters. “I’ll be proud to wear it.”

He continued: “I knew what the team and club were all about before coming here. I’m here to give my all for the team, achieve big objectives and keep winning.

“I’m delighted to be here. It’s a great club with wonderful players and I hope to win plenty of silverware.

“Six straight titles would be a magnificent feat. We’d be rewriting history.”

How will Pjanic fare at Juve next season?


Juventus.” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  Leandro.C 

Juventus won Serie A last season thanks in no small part to a strong rearguard but does the signing of Miralem Pjanic signal intent for them to defend their title by going on the attack?

The Old Lady are currently 4/7 to retain their Scudetto next season according to the Serie A betting and will be relying on the services of Pjanic to make their dream of a 6th successive title in 2016/2017 a reality.

Having gone on an extraordinary sequence of 1-0 wins and having conceded just 20 goals in the whole of last season’s league campaign, Massimiliano Allegri may well be confident his side can maintain a similar record next season even if they commit more men forward.

The signing of the talented Bosnian from title rivals Roma for €32 million will send a message to the rest of Serie A that Juventus are in no mood to give up their title. Title rivals Napoli, Roma and Inter Milan will all be adding to their squad in the hopes of closing the gap and will be aware that since winning both Serie A and the Coppa Italia it’s been a rough close season for Juve.

They’ve lost the services of striker Álvaro Morata who has rejoined Champions League winners Real Madrid after the Spanish side exercised their buy back clause.

Highly rated Frenchman Paul Pogba is constantly linked with a move away from Italy although such a move is yet to take shape.

Despite the form of evergreen keeper Gianluigi Buffon, the age of the Juventus shot stopper will of course be a growing concern for Allegri.

Buffon is 38, Giorgio Chiellini is 31, Patrice Evra and Andrea Barzagli are 35 and Stephan Lichtsteiner is 32.

Due to the lower tempo of the Italian league, it is known for giving players a chance to play well beyond the age found in other major leagues in Europe although Juventus may well be approaching the time when younger legs are required.

Pjanic is a signing that may be a signal of this mind-set, the 22-year-old scored 13 goals in 40 appearances for Roma last season.

He has also starred on the international stage after leading Bosnia to their first ever major tournament when they qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The midfielder is strong in all areas, he can beat a defender, has a great range of passing and has a real eye for goal. Juve fans will also be keen to see him on free kicks next season as the Bosnian has scored many for his previous club.

After completing the double last season, future successes for Juve will be judged on their performances in the Champions League.

Last season they fell to German champions Bayern Munich in the last 16 stage. They are currently priced as seventh favourites and are best priced at 20/1 to win the competition this season.

Many people have highlighted that Pjanic coming in could mean that Pogba goes out, but Juve fans will be relishing the thought of the two in the same team.


De Rossi wishes 'exemplary' Pjanic well at Juve

The midfielder completed a €32million move from Roma to the Italian champions on Monday, and the 32-year-old has wished his former team-mate well.

Daniele De Rossi is sad to see Miralem Pjanic leave Roma but has wished his “exemplary” former team-mate well at Juventus.

Pjanic completed a €32million move from the Giallorossi to Juve on Monday, the Bosnia-Herzegovina playmaker signing a five-year deal with the Serie A champions.

The 26-year-old enjoyed an outstanding 2015-16 campaign, scoring 10 goals in 33 league appearances to help Roma to the third place in the table, behind Juve and Napoli.

And while De Rossi will miss partnering Pjanic in the centre of Roma’s midfield after nearly five years together, he bears no ill-feeling about his decision to swap the capital for Turin.

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Speaking after Italy’s Euro 2016 victory over Belgium on Monday, De Rossi said: “From the very first day that he arrived at Roma, he was an exemplary team-mate. 

“He always trained at 100 per cent. I wish him good luck. I’m sorry that he’s joining our strongest rivals, but football is like this. 

“We’ll move on. On a football level, I hope he doesn’t win the league. But on a human level, I hope he does well.”