Pjanic the spark for Sarri's Juventus
Bosnian midfielder admits that he has an important role to play under their new coach
Miralem Pjanic might not be the most high-profile name in a Juventus side stocked with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci, but he knows he will be a key player in Sarri-ball.
Perhaps the most identifiable cog in new Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri’s teams is the deep-lying playmaker, or "regista" in Italian parlance.
The midfielder drops deep to serve as the start point for most of the team’s forays forward, picking up the ball from the centre-backs and recycling it further afield with pin-point passes.
Last season, Sarri famously signed Jorginho for £50m (S$85m) from his former club Napoli to perform the same role at Chelsea.
Former Juve favourite Alessio Tacchinardi has suggested that the 29-year-old Pjanic is an upgrade on the Italian international and will be an even more important player than Ronaldo.
When The New Paper told that to the Bosnian, he said: “For sure, he has another style of playing football (compared to former coach Massimiliano Allegri). Training is different...
“I know this position means a lot for him. I’ll try to do my best.
“I think Sarri plays a lot with this kind of player, he needs it a lot, the passes from me.
“I will touch a lot of balls. I am very happy to play this position and I know that it will be very important. It’s an important position for him.”
Pjanic was speaking at Sport Singapore’s office shortly after arriving with Juventus on Saturday morning (July 20) for their International Champions Cup clash with Tottenham Hotspur at the National Stadium on Sunday.
His Juve team have been losing Champions League finalists twice in the last five seasons, but he admits that club football’s most storied trophy remains the “dream”.
For the Old Lady of Turin to translate their domestic dominance – they have won eight straight Serie A titles – into a continental coronation, Pjanic believes they need to avoid suffering a spate of injuries during key junctures of the seasons.
Said Pjanic: “We have a fantastic team. We are confident, we are sure of (ourselves)...
“The most important thing is that we don’t have too many injuries, like we did last year.
“Last season, in one crucial period of the season, we had too many injuries and it was not good for us...
“For sure, the Champions League will be a dream for all us, the supporters, the club, the players.”
Over 100 fans thronged Weston Corporation’s Kallang Wave Mall outlet to realise their dream of getting an autograph from the Bosnian midfielder yesterday.
Among them were local football legend Fandi Ahmad and his kids, all decked out in Juventus jerseys, and fellow former Lions striker Fazrul Nawaz and his son.
While most jerseys had Ronaldo’s name on their back, one supporter stood out with the word "Pjanic" and the No. 5 emblazoned on his Juve jersey.
Luke Montana waited over two hours since 8am to catch a glimpse of the Bosnian, telling TNP: “I have been a Juventus fan since 2000 and I’m excited by the current (crop of) players.
“Pjanic is one of my favourite players, he is the best player in his position in the world.
“I hope to get to ask him how it feels like playing passes to Ronaldo."