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Tuesday January 15 2019
Juve reviving ex-Milan flops

Leonardo Bonucci and Mattia De Sciglio look like different players in the Juventus jersey than at Milan, explains Matthew Santangelo.

Winding the clock back two summers ago to a very bizarre transfer window in Italy, Leonardo Bonucci – a fundamental pillar in the famed ‘BBC’ of the Azzurri and Bianconeri - left for Milan after a falling out with manager Massimiliano Allegri. In return, but in a separate operation, once-promising full-back Mattia De Sciglio became Juventus property.

At the time, the Rossoneri appeared to have robbed The Old Lady rotten, acquiring one of the game’s top central defenders, equipped with the ball-playing skills few on European soil could rival. Except, as we would soon find out, the 31-year-old Bonucci would become a shell of his former self.

With Bonucci and his controversial Milan switch, there was always some doubt hanging over his head about whether he was in fact a by-product of the Juventus system that bred and moulded him into the star defender we came to know. His early struggles under Vincenzo Montella supported this claim and further cemented the idea of Giorgio Chiellini’s worth towards Bonucci’s success in the top flight.

Despite settling in and forging a strong relationship with Alessio Romagnoli in the second half of 2017-18 after Gennaro Gattuso took over the post, it was clear Bonucci was best suited for not only Juve’s system, but their quest for Champions League glory.

After a below-par season in Milano, Bonucci reclaimed not only his white and black shirt, but more importantly, his top form – which has gone a long way to patch up his relationship with the supporters.

However, one could argue that of the two players involved in the colour swap of summer 2017, De Sciglio has been more refreshing to see perform by raising his game to levels reminiscent of when he first burst onto the scene under Allegri at Milan back in 2012-13 as a scraggly, baby-faced teenager drawing comparisons to the legendary Paolo Maldini.

Once De Sciglio sealed his €12m transfer to Juventus, you immediately got the sense that if there was any manager to tap in to his full potential and make him a key player, it was Allegri.

A player once low on confidence and visibly fazed by ‘the New Maldini’ hype that surrounded him through the Primavera and into Milan’s first team, De Sciglio’s journey back to form has been a long one, as his mental coach Stefano Tirelli explained in a 2016 interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport that he was “on the verge of depression.”

Tirelli, a professor from the Catholic University of Milan, was sent by De Sciglio’s parents to help him move past the criticism from fans and media, and do what he loved with a smile on his face.

Though injuries kept him on the shelf for an extended period last season, and limited him to roughly 1,500 minutes across all competitions, the 26-year-old has carved out an important role in what Juventus hopes will be a trophy-laden campaign ending with a spot atop the Champions League podium later this year.

As Serie A’s best defensive unit, with 11 goals allowed through 19 matches, Juventus are as good as any in this department. With Bonucci sliding back into his central role to partner Chiellini, and De Sciglio providing support to Joao Cancelo, it is clear to see the Bianconeri’s strength in numbers at the back.

Despite the scrutiny that came with his return, there was little doubt about whether Bonucci could re-establish his place at Juventus and feel at home once again. But for De Sciglio, because of his turbulent career dealing with injuries, mental health struggles and an unfair burden of being compared to Maldini, it is extra fruitful for Juventini to reap the rewards of putting trust in a talent needing only the trust from his Coach, club and supporters to deliver on his potential.

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Have your say...
Actually, what is the problem with Higuain not scoring goals for AC Milan right now? He was so so prolific for Sarri.
on the 21st January, 2019 at 1:07pm
Juve defense is good because of Chiellini, trust me on that. When he's done players like Bonucci and the rest will get exposed.
on the 20th January, 2019 at 6:02pm
I hope Milan gets their act together, and starts chellenging Juve again. Their club seems like a mess with Kessie even still on loan. They need to shell out 24m to make him permanent. Bakayoko is owned by Chelsea. 45m for Paqueta. Rumored 40m+ for Piatek. They seem to be gambling with the players they buy unlike Juve who seems to scout players for years before they buy.
on the 19th January, 2019 at 7:33am
De Scigilo is alright but no heir to Maldini. If he was he would stay at Milan and continue that. He left to be on a team who have the best defense in Italy. At most he is solid. Bonucci is only good because he have Chiellini to fix his mistakes.
on the 17th January, 2019 at 8:01pm
I have to agree with Maldini’s Heir, a very considered point.
Bonucci was poor in his first year at Juve, constant mistakes & lapses in concentration. It was a combination of Contes tactics allowing the BBC to cover each other & the mental coach that Bonucci employed. Clearly Bonucci has gone through some issues of late so give him a break.

Some players just don't suite some clubs/tactics. What Juve are good at is picking players who suite them.
Also they dont chop & change like Milan do.
on the 16th January, 2019 at 2:15pm
However, He is just a mediocre CB and can't do much on the pitch if he plays with a slow and static CF like Llorente, Mandzukic or Kalinic. Notice how good he was when Ronaldo played as a CF.

About De Sciglio, This guy is very good as a SUB. There is nothing more to say. lol
on the 16th January, 2019 at 12:07pm
For me, Bonucci is nothing but a simple DM who is played as a CB. If he were in my team, I would put him in front of defense as a midfield anchor. Is he good at passing? Yes. Is he good at defending? NO. That's why i laughed at a deluded Milan fan who persisted Bonucci is a top class defender which in reality he's far from perfect as a CB, i repeat: as a CENTER BACK. However he can be very useful in a formation that plays direct football (ex: Conte's 3-5-2) with CFs who likes to run a lot.
on the 16th January, 2019 at 12:03pm
I agree with CG entirely. Rugani KS a much better defender than Bonucci. He just needs to be more calm in possession Rugani.
on the 16th January, 2019 at 5:31am
De Sciglio is solid. Tell me who in Serie A is a better RB except for Cancelo?

https://no.whoscored.com/Players/107275/Show/Mattia-De-Sciglio
on the 16th January, 2019 at 2:37am
Ronaldo’s bicycle was Chiellini’s fault.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 11:44pm
This was the best you could come up with regarding content to write about? Bonucci has been a flop with Juve and De Sciglio is still average at best. Cancelo would put him back on the bench long term if healthy.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 11:27pm
Bonucci has been dreadful.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 10:17pm
press the re-start button and January brings yet more change. Teams cannot settle. Juve have been building slowly over a decade. Milan try and re-build in a single summer. Despite all of this Milan got 70 points in 2018 joint third behaviour nd Juve and Napoli. Joint third despite losing to the likes of Benevento. So we’re not far of. We just need some stability.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 9:51pm
differently in different circumstances. All you have to do is look at what Solskjaer is doing at Man Utd. Are those those the same players that were struggling a few weeks ago? What changed? Who knows. That’s why I think the solution is rarely to be found in some wonder signing. If anything transfers cause further disruption to sides and stop sides getting into their groove. Especially when sides go through the number of changes that Milan goes through each transfer window. Each summer we seem
on the 15th January, 2019 at 9:47pm
Why stop at these two players. We’re seeing what the “Milan effect” is now having on Higuain. Players do not perform at the same level for Milan and Juventus. Juve get the most out of their players. It really is that simple. People like to go about all of these world class v msediocre players, as if there’s only two types of players. However in reality there are a degrees of talent and all players have strengths and weaknesses. And in many instances the exact same players can play completely
on the 15th January, 2019 at 9:41pm
Clearly, people did not read my comment properly. I AGREE that Bonucci has been bad. I just said that commentators tend to overlook his defensive errors because they focus on his long range passing. I didn’t say I agree with that. I still think he makes too many mistakes. Goes missing on set piece headers, and loses the ball too much...
on the 15th January, 2019 at 8:52pm
I tend to agree with most of the other responders here, Bonucci has not returned to anything close to the levels he was at prior to leaving. I didn't really want him back and not really that excited that he's here. Would love to see Rugani get more games in the 2nd half of the season and just hope that Bonucci doesn't blow it for us in the Champions League. I do think De Sceglio has been a solid addition and a great back-up for Cancelo.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 8:20pm
I was the biggest bonucci hater but tbh some of you are being a bit harsh on him. He made a few mistakes, but has also made some very good tackles and interceptions. Hiss passing is still great. Its also way easier to blame a deffender for a loss, not gonna take the time to explain so use those brains for once.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 7:14pm
Couldn't disagree more. De sciglio has lnt been anything near good and bonucci has been the weakest defender for Juventus to date. Although he has been better than what he was at milan he's also playing with better people. De sciglio wasnt a flop at milan he was injury prone turned flop, still is.

I truly hope milan witln the super coppa tomorrow because there will be all sorts of excusee
on the 15th January, 2019 at 6:31pm
Rugani needs to play more often. Bonucci is just okay. He is prone to errors, and I was happy when he was sold to Milan. However he does provide experience and familiarity which Rugani cannot give.. Unless he plays more..

As for De Sciglio, he is horrible. I hope he leaves along with his fan Allegri at the end of the season.

This Juve needs rejuvenating.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 6:29pm
Totally agree. Must have forgotten about Pirlo - not really a flop at Milan, but still same example as above. Higuan was outstanding at juventus, not really that much with Milan. I love AC Milan and juventus, having both being good is great for Italian football, but it seems A.c. Milan's problems are aside from the players. They changed everything and still Can't get it right!!!!!
on the 15th January, 2019 at 5:53pm
De Scilgio never ever has lived up to the hype at both Milan and Juve. Don't forget, Ronaldo's incredible bicycle kick was because of De Sciglio's blunder to cover CR7 properly. Bonucci's true self was exposed at Milan, he needs Giorgio and while he got better with Alessio at Milan as the season went on, he was never the player people thought he was. Giorgio clearly makes everyone better around him, including Bonucci.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 5:23pm
Could not disagree more with your assessment of Bonucci. He has been the worst of Juve's defenders so far, being individually at fault for many (if not, most) of the goals Juve have conceded (most recently, the first Zapata goal) against Atalanta, and quite possibly the worst individual Juve player so far this season. He has a ways to go to look as good as he did before he left. Juve have been lucky that Chiellini has rolled back the years and been playing out of his skin beside him.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 2:44pm
Not convinced Bonucci is any where near the level of his first Juve spell and suspect the BBC system with Buffon made him look better than he is. He has been at fault for numerous goals this season. De Sciglio on the other hand has been excellent and continued to improve since his second game for Juve.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 2:12pm
Are you kidding? Most of Juve's goals conceded this season were Bonucci's fault. He is their weak link.

De Sciglio also looks nothing spectacular and does not offer much more than a back up option for Juve.

Start actually watching their games before making such a ridiculous claim.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 2:06pm
Are you kidding? Most of Juve's goals conceded this season were Bonucci's fault. He is their weak link.

De Sciglio also looks nothing spectacular and does not offer much more than a back up option for Juve.

Start actually watching their games before making such a ridiculous claim.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 2:05pm
Could not disagree more with your assessment of Bonucci. He has been the worst of Juve's defenders so far, being individually at fault for many (if not, most) of the goals Juve have conceded (most recently, the first Zapata goal) against Atalanta, and quite possibly the worst individual Juve player so far this season. He has a ways to go to look as good as he did before he left. Juve have been lucky that Chiellini has rolled back the years and been playing out of his skin beside him.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 1:53pm
Could not disagree more with your assessment of Bonucci. He has been the worst of Juve's defenders so far, being individually at fault for many (if not, most) of the goals Juve have conceded (most recently, the first Zapata goal) against Atalanta, and quite possibly the worst individual Juve player so far this season. He has a ways to go to look as good as he did before he left. Juve have been lucky that Chiellini has rolled back the years and been playing out of his skin beside him.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 1:52pm
Agree about De Sciglio.

But Bonucci has been responsible for many goals conceded already.


He needs to sharpen up, or we'll fail again in Europe.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 1:43pm
To be completely honest,I can't say I agree wholeheartedly.De Sciglio vs Bologna the other night was appalling.Bonucci is also still prone to lots of mistakes,which get papered over by all the emphasis on his "great long balls".Cancelo is much better on the right,and more secure.Rugani needs to be given more of a chance to take over from Bonucci.
on the 15th January, 2019 at 11:50am

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