Friday December 15 2017
Barzagli: ‘Benatia replaced Bonucci’

Andrea Barzagli believes Juventus have replaced Leonardo Bonucci with Medhi Benatia - “he’s a player of the same level”.

The Moroccan centre-back has played the last five matches in a row, and the Bianconeri have kept a clean sheet in each of those games.

“In my opinion, Medhi is a player who is finally showing the best of himself,” Barzagli told Sky.

“I also think he understands the importance he has in the team, he’s a key man this year because Leo was a key man and in my opinion he’s a player of the same level.

“Medhi is captain of his national team, he’s played for Bayern Munich and he’s showing who he really is. He’s crucial for us now.”

Pavel Nedved said Paulo Dybala has to “sacrifice” on and off the pitch to get back to his best, words echoed by Gianluigi Buffon, is there an issue with La Joya?

“I’ve seen him the same as always, his mood hasn’t changed; not now nor when he was scoring all those goals at the start of the season.

“It’s a bit of a difficult period, and I think he’s a lad who is very good at understanding and perceiving things.

“So he took Gigi and Pavel’s words positively and we can only hope they can be the trigger for him to get back to doing what he’s always done, but a little period of decline can happen.

“He’s had some good matches too, I thought at Napoli he played really well and sacrificed himself. He’s just missing a goal and we hope it’ll come soon.”

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