Juventus legend Claudio Marchisio believes the current Bianconeri midfield is “not at the level” of his and explained why Dider Deschamps and Antonio Conte were the most important coaches in his career.
The former Juve midfielder gave a lengthy interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport where he looked back over his career in detail and explained how each Juve coach improved him.
“I always remember a conversation I had with Andrea Agnelli, at the end of the hard years, and I said to him: ‘I do not want to be one of those few players who have won nothing in Juve’s history, and I’m sure you don’t want to be one of those Presidents either.’
“Conte arrived in 2011 and said ‘You’ve been seventh for two years, you’ve been horrible for two years. So here you can either really get going or leave.”
“Conte pushed us to test us, to be willing to have the desire to gain victories. Those first two years changed everything.
“With Allegri, in the first few years we had a great relationship. He also changed my role. With Conte I had replaced Andrea Pirlo as a regista when he was injured.
“However the difference between them was that Conte gave me prescise instructions for the role, whereas Allegri allowed me to have more freedom to interpret games depending on the opposition.
“I will always thank him for improving me immensely.
“I believe that over time Maurizio Sarri will be able to find the final solution, and Juve, like all big teams, must arrive in top condition in February-March.
“The midfield isn’t at the level it was when there was myself, Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba. You can see it from the goals scored and assists provided.
“My injury? Until you experience it you can’t understand what it is to have an injury of that enormity. After it, everything changed for me: running, moving, reacting. The brain tells you that you are no longer the same player.
“It does not mean that you can’t return to playing at a high level, because other have. However, it changes a lot of things.
“To make my knee stronger I had to gain weight, especially in my legs, and therefore I didn’t have the agility that I had before. I had to change my way of playing.
“When you fall to the ground, in those seconds you think more about the pain than what comes after. It would have been my last international tournament and in those moments you realise everything will change. It was a hard time.
“I knew already from within that final year, when I began to have trouble with the other knee. It got a point where I had no more cartilage left in my knee, and the tibia and femur bones grated together.
“I played on because I thought it was acceptable pain, but I had to have another operation, otherwise I would’ve risked having a knee replacement by the time I was 40 years old.
“When you see certain facts you can’t just think about football, but you have to think about your life. I couldn’t fool myself. My head wanted to continue playing but my body couldn’t do it anymore.”