Juventus legend Claudio Marchisio believes Paulo Dybala has what it takes to be a ‘bandiera’ for the club.
The former Bianconeri midfielder spoke with Gazzetta Dello Sport about the sensations involved ahead of Juventus v Torino and recounted his experiences of his first Derby Della Mole.
“I was 7 years old,” Marchisio began, “a life as a Juventino. We played at CIT Turin and it was my first game against an important team. I was very excited, also because in the stands was the former Juve player, Nené. It finished 4-1 with 3 goals from me.
“Two years ago at the Olimpico, Allegri made me warm all the second half but I didn’t get on the pitch: I was sick, like anyone in my place would be.
“I don’t know how many derbies I played, but there was always a special preparation. From my father’s ‘good night’, to bags piled up in the boot of the car. When the derby took place, everyone stopped to watch, even the parents of the boys of the other teams.
“I was a ball boy at the first Derby I watched, it finished 3-3 with the famous hole dug by Maspero and the penaltythat was skied by Salas. I was behind the goal and saw that ball fly: I was sick, but it was the most beautiful derby that I had ever seen.
“The derby I loved? The first played at the Stadium, the year of the first Scudetto: I remember that on the evening of the eve of the game, there was a charity dinner organized by the Agnelli’s. I participated with other teammates and left before dessert. Conte said to me: “it’s early, stop a little longer”, but I was too nervous. In the game, I scored a brace: I dreamed it exactly like that.”
Marchisio’s children are Juventini, but his wife and her family support Torino.
“Since I stopped playing, we all live the derby with more serenity. My parents are Juve fans, my in-laws Toro: there were games that hung in the balance until the last minute in which the atmosphere became tense, but when the derby ended, there were smiles all round, even from the Granata side.”
Who will be decisive in the game this time?
“Belotti and Izzo embody the Torino spirit, they have to push the group to get up and finish the championship in a different way. It’s harder to piclk a name for Juve, where defence and attack are doing well: Dybala does not surprise me, and Douglas Costa can change the match. Juve is class and elegance, Toro have great character and never give up.”
Andrea Belotti has been linked to Juventus in the past, should he go to Juve?
“He is the striker that we lack, especially now that Higuain has yet to regain his condition. But I doubt that someone like him would agree to become a bianconero.”
Are Juventus clear favourites for the game?
“The team arrive at the game in good form and must take the opportunity to get points before meeting Atalanta and Lazio. But Torino cannot afford not to give everything.
“I expected that with (Club President) Cairo, the club would take an important path and so it was, although now the team is experiencing a difficult time.
Dybala is close to renewing, could he become a ‘bandiera’ (symbol) for the club?
“His class is indisputable, he is one of the purest talents in world football. Those who critize him don’t understand football. He has a great relationship with the club, I hope that he becomes a Bandiera and that he does what I couldn’t do with Juventus: win the Champions League.”
Gigi Buffon is expected to start today and surpass Paolo Maldini for the all-time Serie A appearance record – what effect will have it have to still see him on the pitch>
“A beautiful effect. Gigi is proving to always be up to par, even from the bench is a driving force. He has the depth of legend, as Maldini had. The record is a prize for everything he has given to football.”
Juve have recently exchanged Miralem Pjanic for Arthur Melo, but who came out ahead?
“I don’t know Arthur well, but if Juve signed him, it means he’s worth it. Pjanic is one of the greatest midfielders in Europe, at the beginning of the season he put the team on his shoulders, and he can do it at Barcelona too.”