Twenty-three year old Italian international Daniele Rugani has been in great form so far this season, and will look to continue to solidify himself as a regular in the backline of the Old Lady.
Daniele Rugani has been performing exceptionally well as of late for Max Allegri’s side. Leading into the season, there had been many questions as to if he could be a consistent regular in the starting eleven for Juventus. Rugani has responded well to these questions and hasn’t missed a beat.
A tall, tactically versatile centre-back, Rugani is best known for his responsibility in the back as he often avoids committing challenges he isn’t positive he can win. Despite his lack of mobility, he stands at 6 ft 3in tall and has the ability to win aerial challenges both defensively and offensively. Although we are only three matches into the new season, Rugani has shown some improvement with his distribution from the back.
After returning from Empoli two seasons ago where he spent two years on loan, the young central defender was mainly used as a reserve player for Allegri and really only featured in Serie A matches against squads who were lower in the table. While Rugani never really made any major errors in the back, he did not stand out at all and many wondered if he was the right man to help lead the bianconeri backline in the future. With an ageing Andrea Barzagli, an injury prone Giorgio Chiellini, and the departure of Leonardo Bonucci, Rugani seemingly had no option other than to step in and be an anchor for the Juve defensive core. His performances this season have most definitely been above average.
Following the departure of Bonucci, the Italian international has slotted in perfectly into a role that gives him more responsibility. In an interview earlier this season with juventus.com, Rugani spoke on his expectations for himself for the 2017/2018 campaign:
“I know it’s going to be a big year for me personally. It’s my third season at Juve and I work hard, day in day out, to earn the right to be here and have this responsibility. I’ll do the best I can and aim to keep getting better and better.”
As Rugani continues to develop for Juventus, there are going to be some mistakes occasionally that fans have to accept. While a very tactically smart player, he can often make errors when having to possess and distribute the ball. At the young age of 23, Rugani will be able to gain plenty of more match experience this upcoming season and also accumulate the necessary minutes in the UEFA Champions League against top clubs like Barcelona.
Now is the time for Rugani to fulfill the large expectations that many had for him when he returned to the club two seasons ago. With the sudden departure of leader Bonucci to Milan, spotlight shines on Rugani who now has the chance to show Juve fans and coaches what he is capable of, while also proving to National Team coach Giampiero Ventura that he deserves to be a regular in the backline of the Azzurri.
Rugani and Juventus head to the Camp Nou today where they will clash with Barcelona at 2:45 ET/11:45 PT.