NEWS
Wednesday August 3 2016
Juninho: 'Pjanic heir to Pirlo'

Juninho Pernambucano says Juventus signing Miralem Pjanic is a free-kick specialist at the level of Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi and Gareth Bale.

The two champions played together at Lyon, where one may expect the Bosnian to have learned a few tricks regarding dead-ball situations.

“Pjanic joined us when he was very young, but he already showed a great deal of talent and you could tell that he would have an important future,” Juninho told Tuttosport. “He had quality in taking free kicks, and now he's among the best.

“Today Miralem is at the level of Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi and Gareth Bale, people who have an excellent shot.

“I appreciate his ability to change his way of kicking. He's excellent, but not just in that. Miralem possesses three qualities that make him a top player: his talent, his character and his love for football. I consider him one of Europe's best midfielders: he is technical and very flexible.

“Mire is the perfect replacement for [Andrea] Pirlo for his talent, love of football and charisma. Not in terms of his position though. Pirlo is a master above all for the way that he directs play. He can orchestrate his team and give them a sense of direction, and in particular he can dictate rhythm by alternating long and short plays.

“Pjanic's talent, on the other hand, emerges largely in individual plays. I see him best as a mezzala or as a trequartista. But over time, Mire can certainly take Pirlo's place in the heart of the Bianconeri fans.”

The Brazilian also discussed another of Juventus' most prominent stars, young striker Paulo Dybala.

“I have enormous respect for the Argentine, he'll have a great future. I saw a gorgeous goal of his against Verona. He has a special way of kicking. He does it in the classical way, but he can impress special speed into the ball.

“But you can tell that he needs to work on it. Since he's young, he should train at least twice a week on dead-ball shots, and repeat the long shot very often. The repetitiveness of the gesture is fundamental in order to become free-kick specialists.

“Dani Alves? I was surprised, I thought he'd finish his career at Barcelona. But I'm not surprised that Juventus chose to sign him. He's a good move.

“Dani Alves is still one of the best right-backs in the world. The only problem may be that he's very much an offensive player, while in Italy you must be much more solid defensively. His teammates will have to understand his attacking skills, his plays and his intelligence.”

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