Claudio Marchisio: The Turbo-Charged Midfielder Fergie Wants At Manchester United...
Claudio Marchisio has become such a jack-of-all-trades at Juventus that Antonio Conte has felt comfortable enough to change his system to push the midfielder further forward to support lone striker Mirko Vucinic and thus accommodate the burgeoning talents of Paul Pogba.
Always more than a mere worker for the mercurial Andrea Pirlo, Marchisio has demonstrated his adaptability by taking to his new role with ease, having played most of his career on the left side of midfield.
His strong runs from that position and eye for goal drew comparisons with Juve hero of the late 70s and 80s Marco Tardelli and along the way he picked up the nickname Tardellino – the Little Tardelli – but as his career has developed those comparisons have become redundant and he is now known as the Little Prince.
Very much the modern midfielder who combines force and durability with a silky touch he was on hand for the second goal in last week’s Turin derby to put the contest beyond doubt with a close-range finish that flew in off the underside of the bar.
At 27, the local born player who came through the Juve youth system as an attacking midfielder, will pick up a second consecutive Serie A title and in doing so will reinforce his status as one of the untouchables amongst the Bianconeri faithful.
The son of a FIAT worker, he has the black and white running through his veins and with upright style, neat haircut and steely gaze he has seemed mature beyond his age even when he was making his breakthrough at the start of the 2006-07 as the Old Lady rebuilt following Calciopoli.
He was loaned out to Empoli the following season along another youth product Sebastian Giovinco but when he returned for the 2008-09 campaign he has not looked back. In fact, he has rarely taken a step backwards and like another left-sided tireless operator Andreas Iniesta he times his turbo-charged runs into the area to perfection.
As with the Barcelona star, Marchisio never allows his ego to get in the way of the team effort and for such a forceful character despite is lithe build, he is rarely on the wrong side of referees.
He is also an engaging interviewee and apart from a statement about disliking Napoli which was taken out of context as he explained that any loathing was in a sporting sense, he comes across as thoughtful and intelligent when speaking about issues such homophobia and racism in the game.
Last season he found the net nine times in the league and he will get close to that figure again as he is currently on six league goals to go with two in the Champions League.
There have been a number of rare occasions where his standards have dropped but that can be explained away by the fact that he leaves every ounce of effort out on the pitch and that also goes for his performances for Italy, where he has become a mainstay of Claudio Prandelli’s side, playing in each of the matches on the Azzurri’s march to the Euro 2012 final.
There have been a few downs over the current season including the exit to Lazio in the Italian Cup semi-final where he missed an absolute sitter with the last kick of the game which would have seen Juve through to the final on away goals.
He was also somewhat under-par over the two leg of the Champions League quarter-final elimination to Bayern Munich although he like the rest of the team has bounced back to continue their domestic dominance.
As his all-action performance in the derby demonstrated he has plenty left in the tank for the season run-in and from there it will be straight on to the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
From there after a well-earned rest Juve fans will expect to see their local hero back for another title at the title and Champions League success although there is little doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson would like to see him cut a swathe in the Manchester United colours.