The former Juventus and the Italian national team 1982 World Champion, Claudio Gentile, speaking to Calcissimo.com has spoken of Pirlo, Pogba, Juve’s delicate trip to Istanbul in the Champions League and the crossroads of the first season for Juventus.
There was talk of a Juventus less brilliant than that of past seasons, even a Juve resulting in crisis before their success over Napoli in their league match, do you agree?
“Absolutely not. The team has encountered some difficulties related to some physical conditions and injuries, but once they found their form they responded well. I think the victory over Napoli is an important sign in the right direction. That result was a pillar in which Juve measured their play, which showed us their lack of condition at the start of the season.”
Regarding Juventus, asking the question of the renewal of Andrea Pirlo, Should Juve still focus on him or is it just that at the end of the season the respective sides should part?
“It is a choice and sometimes the choices you can make can be a mistakes. Milan, two years ago, had made a choice on Pirlo and it was the wrong one. I think we have to wait until the end of the season to be able to express any opinion, because there will be the World Cup that could, in my opinion, affect the decision as to see what Pirlo can do for Juventus. Having said that, it seems to me that the Pirlo we see now is still seen as the Pirlo that we all know, just go and look at the magnificent goal on a free kick he scored against Napoli. My opinion, a player of that caliber deserves another chance.”
In case of the departure of Pirlo, who do you think could continue the legacy, with the possibility that another Pirlo does not exist?
“Finding a replacement at the high level like a Pirlo is not a simple undertaking. Pogba, I don’t think he is appropriate to play that role because he is an offensive player with more features than Andrea. However, there are a couple of players in our league who possess skills similar to those of Pirlo, but it will be up to the team to possibly make a decision to go out and get them.”
Marotta and Nedved are trying to lock down Pogba, present and possible future of the club, but in the event that a team would offer €60 million in cash for the French player, at that point would it be right to sell him or do you think it would still be worth it to resist the temptation?
“I think that when offers like that are made it is always better to part ways with a player rather than repent on keeping him, because its not always that you get opportunities of that nature.”
What’s your opinion that Pogba could do the reverse path to that of Pirlo and that is to play in front of the defense playmaker?
“Yes, because we are talking about a player with a terrific shot and a height that can be decisive on the high balls and crosses. Pogba, I think, has more features of an attacking midfielder then one of a director in front of the defense.”
How much does the decisions made, but also the character of Antonio Conte, have on the successes of the team?
“I have never found myself in their dressing room and not knowing of their certain dynamics, I would not be able to express an opinion on this question, but undoubtedly, if Juve is getting certain results, Conte merits the praise.”
Having played for 11 seasons with the ‘Vecchia Signora’, could any of those Juventus teams be compared with the current one?
“It’s always difficult to make comparisons, especially when it comes to different eras. I think that no team is invincible or unapproachable, but the Juventus of the 80’s, with eight Italian National world champions like Platini and Boniek is certainly one of the bigger and stronger Juventus squads ever.”
Will the Bianconeri qualify to the knockout stages of the Champions League?
“The game in Istanbul will be the decisive one, it will not be an easy match, actually, far from it. Having said that, Juventus has, however, a much more technical side then the one of Galatasaray. But the environment and the importance of the match could affect the outcome. The teams that are least expected to win and with the least amount of pressure on them are usually the ones who win those match’s.”
Are Juve still the favorites for the Scudetto?
“I think so, maybe not winning it hands down like last season, but they are one of the strongest teams in Serie A.”