Wednesday March 13 2019
Berna's big break

One of the most impressive aspects of Juventus’ Champions League comeback against Atletico Madrid was Federico Bernardeschi’s performance, writes Emmet Gates.

It had never been done. Couldn’t be done, went the logic. Juventus had never reversed a 2-0 first-leg defeat in Europe. And they weren’t just fighting history, they were fighting Cholo Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, who many in Italy have likened to a Serie A side.

And yet, remarkably, almost unfathomably - and totally in keeping with recent seasons of the Champions League - they pulled it off. The 3-0 result and performance was as comprehensive as they’ve produced in this competition since the quarter-final first leg against Barcelona two years ago.

While Ronaldo (and rightly so) will be at the centre of every headline for a performance borne out of sheer force of will and unflinching self-belief in a competition he has come to define, one of the standout performers on the night - a Unibet promo code of a display - was Federico Bernardeschi.

This felt like Bernardeschi’s coming-of-age. It was a performance where he made that quantum leap, from having potential - and 18 months into his time at Juve, largely unfulfilled – to someone worthy of playing for Italy’s biggest club.  This was, by some distance, his finest game in black and white.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival in Turin last summer has had a knock-on effect on Bernardeschi. Last season, many Juve fans - and Fiorentina fans before them - could recall their frustration in seeing Bernardeschi attempt a moment of unneeded flashiness, promptly followed by a flick of his long hair. 

In fact, it could be argued that at times he was more interested in playing with his hair than the ball.  There was a lack of work ethic, an immaturity that was affecting his game.

Ronaldo’s transfer changed that. Bernardeschi, in what could be seen as a symbolic reawakening, went for the classic short back and sides and knuckled down. He started the season brightly, scoring on the opening day of the season against Chievo, before his form faded during the winter months.

It was the final 10 minutes of the first leg against Atletico that gave Max Allegri the idea of starting him from the off in the return fixture. Bernardeschi replaced an insipid Paulo Dybala in Madrid and showed more than the Argentine had in the previous 80, forcing Jan Oblak into a terrific save from a left-footed piledriver in the dying moments.

And so, to last night. From the kick-off, the winger busied himself, eager to receive the ball and make things happen with a dynamism that Juve sorely lacked in Madrid.  He was at the heart of everything good about the Bianconeri. When not in possession, Bernardeschi pressed and hounded the Atletico players, maintaining Juve’s superiority. He, as much as Ronaldo, set the tempo.

His wonderful left foot set up Ronaldo’s opener, hanging the ball towards the back post, knowing that the Portuguese would aerially dominate Atletico’s defence. Sixty minutes later he won the crucial penalty after a strong foray deep into the Atletico area, which saw Juve do the unthinkable and completely turn the tie around. 

With such a performance, it now begs the question as to whether Dybala will make another start in the Champions League this season. Allegri’s 4-3-3 is clearly better suited for a player of Bernardeschi’s characteristics. Furthermore, Dybala’s lack of mobility can be a hindrance, especially away from home. 

While Dybala hasn’t really kicked on from his own breakout performance against Barca two years ago, last night might just be the turning point towards Bernardeschi becoming the assured, dependable, confident player Juve thought they had bought two summers ago.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports.

Have your say...
I was the first to say Bernardeschi was MOTM for me- yes even w/ Ronaldo's hat trick.

The kid has a fire and is showing his potential and I hope it continues into the Azzurri
on the 21st March, 2019 at 3:13pm
@Viktor: I know. Great job making a "genius" out of yourself lol
on the 15th March, 2019 at 11:29am

How poetic. I spent 30 minutes googling, preparing in a word doc how exactly to express my limited English and way of making myself heard in order to prove zero point in a post about football. Bravo.
on the 15th March, 2019 at 9:11am

I just did. Problem comprehend I see
on the 14th March, 2019 at 11:11pm
Not a juve fan by a mile, but i'll tip my hat for an excellent performance. The aggression....
on the 14th March, 2019 at 7:51pm
it was clear as day that bernadeshi and costa are the natural wingers so it is only natural that they would fit into a 4-3-3. pundits and myself were saying before hand that the arrival of Ronaldo would disadvantage Dybala who is not a winger. while I think the 433 formation is good I believe the formation that gets the best out of the squad is a 4231.seeing basically that serie a is wrapped needs to explore Kean. I know a star when I see one. he is one. great to see what Berna improve
on the 14th March, 2019 at 10:02am
@viktor: "Now, trash talk as much as you want, this game was extremely unbalanced in terms of performance" no kidding Sherlock lol
Atleti looked bad cause Mister Allegri pulled a rabbit out of his hat with Emre Can forming a back 3 and nullified all their counter attacking plans. The team played the perfect game. If you don't have anything cohesive to say, why bother spraying random nonsense here?
on the 14th March, 2019 at 2:26am
My first 2 words are going to be complementary then all the rest that follow are going to ne miserable, undermining negative dribble. Really depressing dower Debbie downer stuff that reflects my personality but my first two words were a golden ray of sunshine.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 11:35pm
I was very impressed with Juve's intensity and quality last night. Ronaldo's hunger and conditioning borders on the superhuman. If he wants to, he could play on for at least another 5 years.

I sincerely hope that both Berna & Spina can kick on from this & play at those levels on a consistent basis. They could be cause for further optimism Azzurri and compliment our very promising new look midfield.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:33pm
@roby, anonymous @ 4:47 was being sarcastic you stunod. I must tip my hat to Juve & allegri, that was truly masterclass. I predicted Juve would lose this tie 4-0 before the first leg and after watching only the first five minutes of yesterday's match I could tell Juve were going to pull off the unthinkable. I was wrong but so were the majority of Juve fans with all of their allegriout nastiness. If you're going to support a club, you do so during the tough times as well as the high times.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:02pm
I'll be honest for a minute your comments are unbalanced. Never have I seen such uninspired effort to comment. Don't get me wrong but for the good of football italia, without your comments this would be a better site. Especially with your spelling mistakes your just below average extremely unbalaced in terms on comments.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 9:32pm
Lighten up on Vicky guys, the man hasn’t had anything to talk about in 8 yrs. to be fair to him he does not use the cheating excuse so he gets a pass not being as stupid as some of you on here.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 8:41pm
Because we know that once Milan lose a few games you will go back to your tiny hole and we will not here a peep from you. Sometimes you make sense Vicky but sometimes I don’t know. I know you have it in you to be smarter than the inter fans, but you let me down this time buddy.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 8:36pm
@Roby, anonymous was being sarcastic. @ the rest of you, don’t worry about Vicky. This is the most he has spoken in 8 yrs hahahaha this is because Milan won a few games and he is getting excited again like last season when he thought Bonucci was going to lead him to the Serie A title. Anyway have your time Vicky but do what few ppl do and give credit where it is due. Milan played a few good games. Juventus played a great game last night. Give credit or shut Up!!!
on the 13th March, 2019 at 8:32pm
Most of the Juve team were excellent last night!!!
on the 13th March, 2019 at 8:22pm
I was really impressed with Bernadeschi too. He's quick, can take on his opponent and has a terrific shot. He must play instaed of Mandzukic with Sandro or Dybala supporting Ronaldo.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 8:19pm
Dybala's newer role doesn't require him to be the center of attention, he does a lot with the ball it seems that people don't really notice. he holds it up very well, he passes well, he gets by his man extremely well. His role may be a bit less in the spotlight these days but he's very much our brand player and I sincerely hope he continues to stay with Juventus for many years.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 7:24pm
@viktor What does that say about the rest of Serie A tho. As teams like Milan is miles behind Juve.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 6:56pm
Simeone himself was saying "Atletico Madrid didn’t go out because we played badly, but because Juventus played well. You just have to tip your hats to them."

And lil viktor here is telling us "this game was extremely unbalanced"..

I guess Man City winning 7-0 was only because Schalke didn't play well and the match was unbalanced.

That's what usually happens when one side is dominating the other, genius.

Keep reveling in your jealousy.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 6:47pm
Dybala doesn't lack mobility. The role he's usually given requires him to just sit in that pocket behind the two strikers. While Bernardeschi has more than earned his starting spot. I think a Cristiano, Dybala, and Bernardeschi trident could work too, especially given Mandzukic's recent poor form
on the 13th March, 2019 at 6:45pm
Berna, Spinazzola, Keane and hopefully Rugani. Italy has a bright future.

They need to play more often. Alex Sandro needs to be benched until he improves or be sold.
Keane should get more chances to be in the starting 11 specially against the weaker teams since the Scudetto is in the bag. Rugani's time will come.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 6:41pm
viktor are you blind? Juve only had one average performer and it was Mandzukic, who might've been injured in the second half. And of course Atleti did try to get some rhythm but they could not due to aggressive Juve pressing. It was a fantastic, and almost flawless game.
Anyway this piece is about Bernardeschi. What a performance. That stamina at 84th minute to run on turbo and get a penalty. Berna was one of the few starters that played almost a whole match against Udinese.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 6:32pm
LOVE - that is all I can say for Federico Bernardeschi.

He can - and will - be our next bandiera.

A moment to ponder and reflect as to what a star Emre Can is... He was the silent protector and the bulldog which made the life easier for Chiello + Leo.

#ItsTimeToWin #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuvePerSempre
on the 13th March, 2019 at 6:29pm
I hate Juve but always root for Italian teams in Europe.

CR7 is truly brilliant. Bravo Juve.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 6:19pm
Ronaldo showed his worth, ticket sales were up, shares have went up, and more money now for getting to the next round, that is what he is there for, to generate money...if he delivers a trophy great, but he is a commodity, like Beckham was. But at 33, he delivered what was needed when needed, clinical...and has scored around 8 winning goals this season, 24 points worth...10 assists, decent return.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 6:02pm
1 good performance does not undo all the doubt and worry, but it was great, for Juve and for Italian football. Viktor, thats a pretty ridiculous statement, the team were excellent, all around, for hard work and contribution, wingers, forwards, Can was excellent (and I don't rate him), the defenders were solid, Madrid didnt play as they couldn't play, juve dominated. Its the first good game since united. Whilst I was euphoric I am not blind that it will be back to the norm next game.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 5:59pm
Viktor: you can only beat the team in front of you. Atleti won 2-0 in Madrid, have 5 clean sheets in the CL this season and are the toughest to score against. Juve under pressure and everyone writing them off, needed 2 goals to draw level, 3 to go through without conceding. Everyone played their part Spinazzola was busy all night, Cancelo on Ronaldo's goal, Chellini and Bonucci defensively, Can and Matuidi pressing, Pjanic spreading the play, only Mandzukic was average. What more do you want?
on the 13th March, 2019 at 5:42pm
@anonymous (on the 13th March, 2019 at 4:47pm)

This comment is laughable if 7 of 10 outfield players of any team played an incredible game it surely means the entire team had a great performance. Also, you can't discount Mandzukic's ability to take up space and tie up defenders, without him Ronaldo wouldn't be afforded the space he had. Pjanic did his usual excellent passing routine and Bonnuci played with heart and intensity. This team on that night would have given anyone a run for there $
on the 13th March, 2019 at 5:27pm
I agree with @viktor here, you take away Ronaldo's, Bernardeschi's, Can's, Cancelo's, Matuidi's. Chiellini's and Spinazzola's performances and the rest were just barely above average, doesn't bode well for the next round... smh
on the 13th March, 2019 at 4:47pm
But if he can, and a player like Chiesa continues his growth, Italy are almost ready to be challenging for trophies again. While the domination of Juve is not good for the Serie A, Italian players need to be competing in the champions league, and adding another Italian attacker or midfielder to Juve would be huge for the national team. Spinazzola is a huge piece of the puzzle, as LB has been a weak link since 2007. Complimenti alla Berna e Juve. Forza Italia.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 3:52pm

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