Three observations from Juventus’ 1-1 home draw against rivals Inter Milan in Serie A.
1. Tevez’s unnatural commitment
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri appeared annoyed, if not angered, that doubts were being raised about Carlos Tevez’s commitment to Juventus in light of his affirmation last week that he will not be staying in Turin beyond the end of next season, when his contract expires. “I don’t see anything strange about it at all,” said Allegri at Monday’s news conference. “People are too obsessed with finding a hidden meaning behind it. But we are all professionals.”
Allegri never had any doubt that the 10 goals Tevez scored in the first 15 games of the season would be followed by many more. It took the Argentinean just five minutes to find the back of the net on Tuesday night and provide something of a culture shock to an Italian audience. Italian fans are more familiar with players whose future lies elsewhere and feel the present situation does too. Tevez’s situation contrasts starkly with that of Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto, which perhaps rings better among fans of Calcio.
“I don’t know if he’ll play. I have to pick the lesser of two evils,” said Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella.
In the end, Montella opted for the former, leaving Neto out of his side which lost 1-0 at Parma on Tuesday.
“I don’t have any doubts about Neto’s professionalism, but what I am concerned about is his serenity. Especially when we play at home,” Montella said, ultimately putting himself in the position of the Fiorentina fans over his No. 1 goalkeeper for the past 18 months. He was vindicated in his choice on Tuesday when Viola fans insulted the Brazilian goalkeeper, who was not even on the field.
Which raises the question — does any Liverpool fan doubt that Steven Gerrard will give more than 110 percent in his remaining five months with the Reds? Allegri, who spent his time out of the game after being sacked by AC Milan last year studying English in Leeds and following the English game closely, knows the answer.
Here was a player who has already made up his mind (“Well, there are still 18 months and often, or at times, people do change their minds,” added Allegri) that he will not be representing Juventus beyond 2016, scoring the opening goal in arguably the most meaningful single fixture on the calendar for fans of Juventus and Inter Milan.
“Tevez will remain professional right to the very end. It’s only natural for somebody to have the idea of changing clubs, or retiring, or returning to his own country in a year and a half,” said Allegri, whose faith in the 30-year-old was — and most likely will be for many months to come — repaid in full, and with interest.
Fiorentina, on the other hand, appear to have already given up on their “deserter,” who is simply doing what is common practice in practically any other sphere — fulfilling his contract before exerting his right to seek a new one, elsewhere if necessary. Like Tevez. Like Gerrard.
2. King Arturo
“Re Artu” is his name. King Arthur or Arturo (from his Twitter name). Arturo Vidal looked anything but regal during the first few months of the Serie A season, but the worst few months of his career appear to have been put behind him thanks to two words: “I do. ” To be fair, the 27-year-old was already starting to regain his best form before he got married to Maria Teresa back in Chile over the Christmas break.
“You tell me now that Arturo’s not in good form,” thundered Allegri after Juve’s 3-1 win over Cagliari in December. “You can’t expect people to score and play well every Sunday. Arturo is improving, he scored a great goal and played a great game. I’m convinced that he’ll be even better in 2015.”
He confirmed that with practically his first touch of the Derby d’Italia on Tuesday. Like Kevin-Prince Boateng prior to his memorable goal for AC Milan against Barcelona in the Champions League in 2011, the Chilean flicked the ball past his marker with the inside of the heel, feigning to go in the opposite direction to complete the trick. Unlike Boateng, he did not go for goal himself, but instead laid the ball on a plate for Tevez’s 11th goal of the season.
It was something one might have expected from the Vidal seen in his first two seasons in Bianconero, or previously in a Bayer Leverkusen shirt. Not from the first few months of the season when Vidal, perhaps distracted by the persisting rumours linking him with a move to Manchester United, and caught clubbing rather than leading opposition defences a merry dance, was out of sorts. More than that, though, the injury he picked up last April and which almost ruled him out of the World Cup was taking its toll.
“I’ve been through a difficult time, but I’m improving,” said Vidal. “I want to give it my best in the new year, especially for those who have shown the most faith in me.” Like his wife. “How beautiful it is to end 2014 as husband and wife. But what’s even more beautiful is being by your side going into 2015.”
Those were Vidal’s words on Twitter after tying the knot. Referring, presumably, to Maria Teresa, or perhaps also to Juve. He left the field, exhausted, with 15 minutes remaining, but not without having shown not only an improved physical condition but several touches that will encourage Juve moving forward.
3. Podolski makes Inter debut
Trailing 1-0 at half-time and with new recruit Lukas Podolski kicking his heels on the touchlines, there was one obvious script for the second half at the Juventus Stadium.
The on-loan Arsenal forward had to make his entrance, and the rest would be history. Well, the 29-year-old did come on, and he was on the field when Mauro Icardi brought the Nerazzurri level. He may not have had a direct hand to play in that goal, but his entrance certainly altered the equilibrium of the game.
With just 10 minutes to play, Podolski’s moment arrived, and he took it. It was just a pity — for him and Inter — that Icardi did not supply the finish to the World Cup winner’s low cross from the left as he slid in at the far post only to guide the ball the wrong side of the woodwork from a handful of yards.
Icardi then infuriated Roberto Mancini’s second substitute Pablo Daniel Osvaldo when he greedily overlooked both him and Podolski to fire over from 25 yards. Fredy Guarin had to restrain Osvaldo from taking a swipe at his teammate, but he could not placate him. His temper had not settled when Mancini got an earful from the former Juventus forward shortly after, and his response was to withdraw Icardi with the excuse that Mateo Kovacic’s red card necessitated the more defensive Yann M’Vila.
Mancini was not the only one to get an earbashing either.
After the final whistle, and with the tension lifted, Podolski found his way to Gianluigi Buffon, his nemesis from the 2006 World Cup semifinal in Dortmund, to give him a piece of his mind, almost nine years on from the day Italy’s No. 1 ended his biggest dream on home soil. A diving gesture from the German was enough to spark laughter between the pair at the end of Podolski’s first taste of Serie A football.
A game that had a bit of everything. It may not have been exactly the script Podolski was hoping for, but it was not far off as he helped Inter gain a point at the league leaders, doing Mancini’s men and arguably the rest of Serie A a favour.
Malaysia Online Betting Website
Welcome to Malaysia Online Betting Website, lala88.com . Enjoy pc/mobile online casino risk-free betting sessions all day. Play your favourite slots for a fully responsive gaming experience. Friendly customer service support is 24/7 available for you!