It’s become mandatory when talking about Juventus now to describe their midfield as probably the best in the world.
It’s the one thing that gives neutrals hope we might see a good game in Saturday’s Champions League final – and not just a parade of Barcelona awesomeness.
But how good is that Juve midfield? We take a look…
Here’s who’ll be lining up against Barcelona in Berlin…
The definition of the all-action midfielder, Pogba grew up in the Manchester United youth system before moving to Juventus in 2012, frustrated at his lack of playing opportunities at Old Trafford. A sort of souped-up Patrick Vieira, Pogba has everything – his power, pace and strength allied with effortless skills and an eye for goal – no wonder he’s being linked with every club you can think of this summer.
The coolest man in football could be playing his last game for Juventus in Berlin – he’s reported to be joining Frank Lampard at New York City. It’s Pirlo’s vision that sets him apart from other midfielders. He can pick out a pass that most wouldn’t dream of, and he does it with peerless grace. He only seems to get better with age as his footballing brain matures. New York won’t know what’s hit it.
Vidal is the bite in the Juve midfield. That, and the fact he’s friends with fellow Chilean Alexis Sanchez, means that of course he’s being linked with a move to Arsenal this summer. If he does make the move, Gunners fans will find their team has acquired exactly the player they need, with the defensive capabilities to allow their wealth of creative midfielders to do their thing – and then join in with them. He can not only pinch the ball off the opposition, but do something magical when he gets it.
England fans won’t need to be told too much about Marchisio – his World Cup goal helped to sink England in Manaus last summer. Marchisio is known for his versatility, comfortable playing either an attacking or midfield roll, and also adept out wide. Perhaps his biggest attribute is his ability to turn defence into attack, covering, as the cliche goes, every blade of grass.
A core of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez certainly has all the creativity you could possibly want and more talent than any midfield could reasonably need. But it certainly doesn’t offer the defensive protection that Juve have, leading to a slightly “we’ll score more than you” approach.
It’s difficult to know exactly what Bayern’s best midfield is, but with the likes of Xabi Alonso, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery (when fit), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller available to them, they certainly have options.
For a full league season, we’d have to go with Bayern. But for a single match against the best attacking team in the world, we’d take Juventus any day of the week.