Real Madrid: 5 Juventus Players Who Could Hurt Los Blancos
On Tuesday night, Turin will witness a true clash of the titans as Real Madrid aim to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League. In contrast, Juventus will hope that they can rescue their season among Europe’s elite with their first win of the campaign.
A fortnight ago at the Bernabeu, Los Blancos emerged narrow victors over the Italian giants in a game that saw the Bianconeri reduced to 10 men.
With a 100 percent record thus far in the Champions League and 10 goals scored in their last two La Liga matches, Cristiano Ronaldo et al travel to Italy full of confidence, knwoing a win will confirm their placing among the last 16.
Carlo Ancelotti returns to one of his old stomping grounds aware that a win would mean a step forward in the club's obstinate quest for La Decima.
Barcelona aside, this will arguably be Los Blancos' toughest examination of this season and a chance to put down a real marker for other teams to take notice.
By contrast, Juventus have it all to do if they are to continue the impressive rebuild of their legendary brand into one of Europe’s current superpowers. Two back-to-back Scudettos led to considerable optimism that La Vecchia Signora of Italian football could once again become the toast of Europe.
However, the Bianconeri have only accumulated two points from their opening three games. Therefore, victory over Real is imperative.
Antonio Conte's men must take the initiative in Tuesday’s headlining tie, demanding that their key attacking personnel bring their "A" game to the table and cause Los Blancos considerable problems.
5. Kwadwo Asamoah
Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah joined Juventus from Udinese in the summer of 2012.
Last season, the midfielder made 45 appearances for club and country, producing 12 assists and scoring five goals.
An underrated player, Asamoah's strength and endurance are vital on the club's left wing, particularly since Juventus play with a back three.
4. Andrea Pirlo
The wily 34-year-old continues to defy the ageing process for both Juve and the Azzurri as chief playmaker, nonchalantly pulling the strings across the park.
Despite Los Blancos’s likely game plan to put pressure on the Bianconeri’s maestro, Andrea Pirlo requires only a split second to inflict significant damage onto the opposition.
So far in Serie A, the midfielder leads the way in pass completion (89 percent) among his club's attacking players, accompanied with the highest average distance per pass (22 metres).
Real will need to be wary of Pirlo's effortless ability to switch the play.
3. Paul Pogba
The young Frenchman continues to progress at an alarmingly rapid rate, with the all-action midfielder becoming the focal point of La Vecchia Signora’s engine room.
Only last month, Sky Sports reported that club president Andrea Agnelli stated, via Simone Bargellini: “If a huge offer arrived for Pogba then I don't think, right now, we would be strong enough to resist it."
Despite only completing one full season at Juventus, the club’s board are keen to reward the youngster with an improved contract, in an attempt to ward off the predators.
Ranking fifth in Serie A for most duels won, as per Squawka, Pogba will be key to Juventus’ presumed game plan of stifling the creative genius of Luka Modric.
Juve's chief hustler is a hugely exciting talent.
2. Arturo Vidal
The Chilean attacking midfielder possesses a potent goal threat.
So far in 11 Serie A matches, Arturo Vidal has found the back of the net on five occasions and has fashioned his team's most attempts on goal—supplying three assists and 17 key passes.
The above heat map demonstrates how Vidal was largely given a free role at the weekend against Parma. A repeat performance will ensue a difficult night for Ancelotti's men, particularly if they choose to man-mark Vidal.
1. Carlos Tevez
The Argentine’s summer transfer from Manchester to Turin has reignited his career—with Carlos Tevez reveling at being the No. 1 forward at the Juventus stadium.
A surprising statistic was revealed this week, that Tevez has not scored in Europe’s elite competition for four years.
Given his domestic form with seven goals from 15 outings, Juve’s No. 10 will be determined to put that unwanted fact to bed Tuesday night.
Tevez has proven over the years that he can fashion chances out of nothing, and the Bianconeri need him in top form in their must-win game against Real.