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Matthew Coccoluto On January - 20 - 2012

Stephan Lichtsteiner: A Force to Be Reckoned With

Just several weeks into the summer transfer window Juventus sealed the deal for Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner from Lazio for a fee of 10 million euros. Although the other summer signing, Andrea Pirlo, has received most the praise so far this season, Lichtsteiner has arguably been the more consistent of the two. An incredible worker who just turned 28-years-old, Stephan Lichtsteiner has been so effective that his work down the right has become one of Juventus’ biggest weapons, both in defence and attack.

The presence of strong attacking full-backs is a crucial part to many of today’s successful teams. Look at Dani Alves at Barcelona or the Maicon at Inter.  Juventus have been well known for some of the famous names that have donned their stripes over the years, but, not in recent times.

Prior to Calciopoli, Juventus were blessed to have Gianluca Zambrotta at right back. Originally a winger, Marcelo Lippi  pushed him back into the position that he would never again change from. Since Zambrotta’s departure, Juve have cycled through various defenders in the outside position, and although a few proved to be talented players, none have made the impact on the position that the now 28-year-old Lichsteiner has in his short time at Torino.

The most obvious qualities of Lichtsteiner are his attacking abilities. Able to race down to the goal-line and beat his man, he can then back this up by whipping in fine crosses into the box. He is a strong player and excels at quick short passes moving in between defenders. Using one of the midfielders, he is nearly flawless with the give and go, often moving the ball from the defensive third into the attacking third with only a few passes. He also has great pace and control so much so that he has earned the nickname “The Swiss Express.” Once he gets running it is hard for many defenders to keep up with him. In his last game against Cagliari, Stephan had more touches than any other player for Juventus. It is even more impressive to think that in almost every game, he plays the entire 90 minutes and, although he is monumental on the attack, his defence duties do not suffer as a result.

Even with Lichtsteiner’s attacking tendency, he is still a rock in the defence. With the help of his pace and strength he is a very efficient defender. Even the quickest players have difficulty getting by him. One of his best qualities is his determination, and to observe him taking on the opponents attack this quality shines. It is an untaught skill that all defenders should have. His determination allows him to rarely miss a tackle, as he is very patient in preventing players from getting around him. He has earned the praise from many and is now considered one of the best right-backs in the league. No small achievement for a player in the defensively minded Serie A.

In football, it is easy to overlook the hard working players in favor of flashier, more elegant players but defenders like Stephan Lichtsteiner have their own special place in the game. Not many people knew exactly what Juve were getting when the signed him this summer. There was a lot of hope for him but it would be hard to predict he would have as large of an impact as he has had. Stephan Lichtsteiner may be the best signing for Juventus this past year and the Swiss Express doesn’t look to be slowing down. Even last week in a poorly played game against Cagliari, he was one of the few bright spots for the Bianconeri. It is too early to judge where Stephan will fall in the Juventus history books, but it is safe to say he has already won the praise of the Juventus faithful.

Matthew Coccoluto

Originally from Boston now in LA. I work in production but football is my passion. I bleed black and white. Proud member of the Juventus Fan Club of Southern California. Forza Juve, Sempre Sara.

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  • Anonymous

    Juventus have struck gold with Lichtsteiner, they now need to find another fullback.

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