Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Matthew Coccoluto On February - 8 - 2012

Juventus’ Iron Man: Andrea Barzagli

In the modern game of football, 600,000 Euros is an extremely insignificant price to pay for a player. It is a low risk, high reward situation for the club. If the player ends up as a failure then the loss was very minimal. However if the player goes on to be a success, than it looks like a genius move. Andrea Barzagli came in during last season’s slump and has made the most of his opportunity at Juventus, becoming the most reliable fixture in Antonio Conte’s defense.

A relative unknown playing for Palermo, Barzagli gained recognition for coming on during Italy’s 2006 World Cup triumph. Earning praise for his exploits, both internationally and on the club level, Andrea was a big signing for VFL Wolfsburg back in 2008. The Italian center back went on to play every minute of the 2008-2009 campaign, helping Wolfsburg lift its first ever Bundesliga title. Although he had found success in Germany, his role for Gli Azzurri began to diminish and after the 0 -3 defeat to the Netherlands in Euro 2008, Barzagli only donned the blue jersey one more time.

Club success also became out of reach for Barzagli as Wolfsburg finished eighth the next season after winning the league. The final season Barzagli played for Wolfsburg the team ended up finishing only two points clear of relegation. The writing was on the wall and although starting the 2010-2011 campaign with Wolfsburg, Andrea eventually ended up in Torino and since then, the players fortune has changed for the better.

Although the end of last season didn’t end well for Juventus, Barzagli has used this season as a rejuvenation for his career. One of the weakest points to Juventus have been their ability to score goals. Although leading the table, Juventus are sixth in the league for goals scored. Even with the inability to capitalize on offensive opportunities, the stinginess of the defense has made sure that Juventus remain undefeated, allowing an astonishingly low 13 goals so far this the season, six less than the next lowest. Barzagli has been a rock in a defense that has amassed 11 clean sheets, more than half of the team’s games.

What makes Andrea so impressive is his stamina. He has appeared in every game and has never been subbed off. On the pitch he has been wonderful at marking attackers and intercepting passes before other teams can create chances. He has also been a relief at the back when starting off the offense. Where his counterpart, Leonardo Bonucci has had some shaky passing, Barzagli has been very efficient with his passing not offering opposing teams an opportunity to score.

His success for Juventus has also earned him the praise of Cesar Prandelli. Three years after playing his last game for Gli Azzurri, Andrea Barzagli returned to the national squad in October, 2011 and has since earned a regular spot in the squad. His success on the club level has had many people thinking that come Euro 2012, Barzagli will be starting alongside fellow Juventus defender, Giorgio Chiellini.

Barzagli is the iron man of the Juventus defense. Playing every minute of every game is an incredible feat, and Barzagli has made scoring against Juventus a great accomplishment. 600,000 was all it cost Juventus to transfer in their top defender. In the world of failed signings and overpriced footballers, Andre Barzagli is the exception.

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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