Thursday April 9 2015
‘Lazio will be tough’

Claudio Marchisio admits Juventus face a tough challenge in their two remaining matches with Lazio this season.

The Aquile visit Juventus Stadium on April 18, before the pair clash again in the Coppa Italia final, scheduled for June 7, depending on the Old Lady’s Champions League commitments.

“The first time we played them [a 3-0 win in November] Lazio were not as strong as they are now,” Marchisio warned in an interview with Juventus’ in-house television channel.

“They’re a team who have great individual and collective quality, and they have a great Coach [Stefano] Pioli who started this year with criticism but has proven his worth.

“So they won’t be easy games, and we’ll have to be very careful. That said, we’ll have time [to think about those games], we have more important goals coming up, and we must think about them.

“However, they’re definitely a team to be reckoned with, because even at this point in the season they’ll definitely be fresher [having not played in Europe].”

Marchisio is a one-club man - a loan spell at Empoli notwithstanding - after coming up through the Juventus youth ranks, and discussed his feelings for the club.

“I always remember as a child I used to go to the Delle Alpi to watch Juventus games, and I’d often see the first team bus on the way to the stadium.

“I was a child, I loved football so I always waved to the Juventus players and they’d wave back.

“Now that I’m on the other side of that, if I see a fan from the bus or in the street I try to always make myself available.

“Obviously that’s not always possible, because although it may not seem like it we have the same life problems and stresses that normal people have, so there are always days where you’re less willing to be available.

“But we always try to give everything for them [the fans] because they give us strength and drive us to these victories.

“I’m thankful for the affection of the fans even in the darkest moments of my career, even in seasons where we weren’t winning. I’ll always be grateful for that.

“My number eight shirt? As a child I used to play in attack, and Alessandro Del Piero was my idol, so I always wore the number 10 shirt, until I got near the Primavera.

“Then I changed my role, so it was normal that I also change the number.

“When you’re preparing to get into professional football, 10 or 8 are always occupied by great champions, so I wore 15 first, then 19, which are two important dates for me and my family.

“Then the opportunity came, because when [Gianluca] Pessotto retired, Amauri didn’t take the number 8 anymore, so I took it.

“Memories? In my career, I always put Trieste in first place. The first Scudetto. That was a very intense year, full of emotion.

“So when that final whistle blew, that’s one of my best memories, if not the best.

“This year there have been so many big games, from winning the derby [against Torino] in the last second, the Roma game and also the Champions League match in Dortmund.

“Also, the last match, with Fiorentina because of how we started in the first leg where we had the wrong approach, and [in the second] we demonstrated that even with significant absences the group is always stronger than the individual.”