Saturday December 9 2017
Douglas Costa comes good for Juve

Juventus have rarely embraced Brazilian players, but Douglas Costa could be an exception, writes Emmet Gates.

Throughout their 120-year history, Juventus have had a somewhat uneasy relationship with Brazilian players.

Cast your mind back to epic failures such as Diego and Felipe Melo, the pair who Alessio Secco banked on bringing the glory days back to Turin at the end of the ‘00s. The mere mention of Brazilian-born Amauri is enough to send Juve fans into a cold sweat and search for an alcohol-laced drink.

Then you have the lesser-known failures, young players who amounted to next to zero: Athirson and Gladstone, who together made a combined six appearances. Hernanes, Lucio, Neto, Romulo; the list goes on.

Only Julio Cesar (no not that one), Jose Altafini, Emerson and currently Alex Sandro have acquitted themselves with any real dignity in black and white down the years. Juventus have built numerous teams around the talents of French and Argentine players, and even the odd Irish and Welsh superstar, but samba and The Old Lady haven’t been a great mix, like oil and water.

Douglas Costa became only the 24th Brazilian to pull on the Bianconeri shirt, with the winger signing from Bayern Munich on loan with obligation to buy (since activated).

Many believed Costa would be a natural fit for Max Allegri’s 4-2-3-1 formation. Allegri’s implementation of the system during the latter half of 2016-17 meant Mario Mandzukic having to sacrifice himself as a left-winger for the sake of the collective good.

Yet, it also meant there was no-one on the bench to freshen things up during the course of a game; all of Allegri’s ‘five stars” as they were dubbed in the Italian media, were generally on the pitch at the same time. Douglas Costa’s signing was an attempt to alleviate the pressure on Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado.

In contrast to the blistering start of his Bayern career, where he laid on 10 assists in his first seven games, Costa’s opening months in Italy were disappointing. As is Allegri’s way with new signings, he slowly integrated the winger into the starting XI, only starting him in four league games up to the end of October. Costa, by the same token, hardly gave Allegri food for thought in those games. He looked remarkably off the pace and showed merely glimpses of what he’s capable of.

The player himself admitted he was still adapting to the stylistic virtues of Serie A. Whilst one can trot out the worn to shreds ‘Serie A is defensive and extremely difficult for attackers’ card, it is vastly different to the Bundesliga. While the cliché simply doesn’t hold up for teams in the top half of the league (and hasn’t for years), it certainly does for sides in the bottom half. Space is at a premium.

In recent weeks however, Costa has significantly raised his game. Never known for his willingness to defend in the past, he put in a fantastic shift in the 1-0 victory against Napoli. Indeed, Gonzalo Higuain’s goal came about from a Costa interception and a trademark speed-of-light shift on to his left foot before chipping the ball over Napoli midfielder Allan to Paulo Dybala.

Costa’s surge deep into the Napoli half occupied the thoughts of Raul Albiol and Kalidou Koulibaly, which in turn gave Higuain the space he needed to slot home Dybala’s perfectly weighted ball. Costa’s contribution to what could prove to be a crucial win in the context of the season shouldn’t be overlooked.

Another solid performance in the Champions League against Olympiacos is further evidence that Costa is finally settling into his new surroundings. With unexpected title challengers Inter and Roma on the horizon for Juventus before the end of the month, this, combined with Dybala going through a particularly rough patch of form, means the champions will need more of the same from the Brazilian. 

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports.

Have your say...
Douglas Costa remains a dilemme at the moment.
However sevaral great players of real stature, like Platini, took an entire season to get used to Serie A.
on the 10th December, 2017 at 4:43pm
If one player summed up brazilians having issues at juve it would probably be dani alves. Whether juventini want to admit it, tactically he fit, but personality didnt. Costa is not built like a centre back but juve expect everybody to press starting at the front. There is also alot less tolerance for losing the ball in serie a and sometimes attacking players need license to have a go. I think if he is willing to work there will be more good than bad- but i expect no loyalty
on the 10th December, 2017 at 10:27am
Whoever said Mandzukic is a bad effect in his new role, does not watch Juve properly. He is actually quite effective. He is a tall striker always in the box when the ball is on the other side, plus he words hard and still scores. The other two would not score as much.
on the 10th December, 2017 at 5:40am
I hate the cheap shots directed at Diego. He was Juve's best player during our darkest years. That goal against Fiorentina was amazing. Douglas Costa has been Juve's best player over the last few weeks, and will be a star for us.
on the 9th December, 2017 at 8:00pm
Allegri needs to depend on him more. Make him feel useful and a vital part of the team and the gameplan.

He deserves more playing time before we can make any judgement.
on the 9th December, 2017 at 7:58pm
I think Juve style of football doesn't suit most Brazilians plus these kind of players cannot stay loyal to one club for long because they tend to be very adventurous and yes love money a bit too much.
on the 9th December, 2017 at 12:48pm
Costa is already a well developed player back in Bayern. To be fair he wasn't given enough to time on the pitch to do anything. Its silly for anyone to believe this guy needs to adapt into the league, as the only deficiency is his defence commitment. It's like buying C.Ronaldo or Messi and have them on the bench because they need to adapt a.k.a defend.
on the 9th December, 2017 at 11:43am
True that about Brazil n Juve but I remember Julio Cesar as a kid n he was n exceptional player 4 them. As well as Emerson so a mix of black,white,yellow n green can work. Costa was encouraging against Napoli n I hope he can add another dimension 2 Juve's attack. Good 2 see Bernardeschi effective in the CL too. Allegri usually sorts them out n if he can get Marchisio back in a Pirlo like role, Costa,Berna or Pjaca flanking Dybala behind Higuain or Mandzukic n Rugani in D then Juve'll come good!
on the 9th December, 2017 at 11:27am
@tian thanks for that word, i really by d idea of @ etek too but we cant just let mandzukic go like that coz d guy is a warrior on d pitch and juve owe him alot coz mandzukic has really sacrifice a lot for all juventino too. He's a real professional
on the 9th December, 2017 at 11:01am
@Etek, Tola do Mitting??? i utterly agree with you but just don't say mandzu can leave like that. we owe that guy a great deal.
on the 9th December, 2017 at 3:51am
Enough for a "Mad Idea" by put in Mandzukic as a left winger while we have plenty explosive wingers in squad. Costa, Cuadrado, Bernardeschi, and Pjaca.

If Mandzukic doesn't want to compete with Higuain in CF role, he can leave. Mandzukic as a left winger has more bad effects than good. Since we have Matuidi, there's no reason for Allegri not to play a holding ball winger (Cuadrado/Bernardeschi) along with a fast winger (Costa/Pjaca) in the starting line up of 4-3-2-1.
on the 9th December, 2017 at 2:22am

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