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Why Juventus' Marco Motta Is the Iron Man of All Rejects

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Why Juventus' Marco Motta Is the Iron Man of All Rejects
Roberto Serra/Getty Images

Marco Motta has long overstayed his welcome at Juventus, not because he never lived up to being the "natural successor to a long line of talented Italian defenders," as FIFA.com thought he would, but because he adds no value whatsoever to Antonio Conte's squad. 

Motta is not a Juventus-standard player, but he gets paid to watch football and probably cashes every cheque thinking to himself: "I love my agent."

A rare combination of circumstances led to Motta, who was second-choice behind veteran Marco Cassetti in a loan stint at Roma, becoming a legitimate transfer target for Juve.

Udinese, the team that owned Motta's playing rights, were switching from a 4-3-3 to a 3-4-1-1.

This meant Mauricio Isla's hyper attack-minded playing style guaranteed him the right-wing-back role.

Now Motta, who was rated by the Italian national youth setup, was available at a bargain-basement fee.

Being Mr. Frugal, Juventusdirector general Beppe Marotta was closely following the situation.  

Juve had second-tier talent, in part due to the lingering medium-term effects of Calciopoli, therefore Marotta may have thought: "There is no way Motta is worse than Zdenek Grygera or Jonathan Zebina." 

Grygera is infamous for single-handedly derailing Juventus going 3-0 up after 10 minutes against Siena by giving away a penalty and making an error which led to a goal conceded, and what was a certain three points ended up being one point (the result was 3-3; Siena could have won 5-3 after hitting the woodwork two times). 

Zebina was always better as a centre-back than at right-back.

This was evident when he made French football scout James Eastham's 2012 Ligue 1 Team of the Year marshaling Brest's back line.  

The injury-prone Martin Caceres, at the time owned by Barcelona, was a third option at right-back during his loan spell at Juve, but was loaned to Sevilla for the 2010-11 season.  

Marotta negotiated a loan deal for Motta with the chance to extend the loan to a permanent transfer. 

It was a typical low-risk, high-reward Marotta move. 

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Motta did not make a good first impression, as in his second game for Juve, he could not stop a superb Antonio Cassano, who scored and created a goal during Sampdoria's 3-3 draw.

Even when Juventus defeated AC Milan 2-1, it was impossible for the Juventini to ignore Motta not even contesting Luca Antonini's cross, which led to Zlatan Ibrahimovic heading home. 

Motta's poor positioning was the reason why at one point he received four yellow cards in a five-game run.

By the time he netted an own goal against Fiorentina, a game where he was routinely beaten by Juan Vargas, Motta was in Cristian Molinaro territory. When he received two yellow cards in 22 minutes in a 2-2 draw against Cesena, he made sure his future as a starter was over. 

Do you know what Marotta did, despite all the red flags?

He signed Motta permanently for €3.75 million on a four-year contract. 

And, what has followed since? Two seasons spent on loan at Catania (2011-12) and Bologna (2012-13). 

 

Statistically Evaluating Marco Motta
LEAGUE ONLY Roma 09-10 Juve 10-11 Catania 11-12 Bologna 12-13
Tackles Per Game 1.1 1.1 1.7 1.4
Interceptions Per Game 2.4 2.4 3.2 2.3
Fouls Per Game 0.9 1.4 0.8 1.9
Pass Success % 75.2 76.5 75.8 70.9
Cross Success % 27.3 36.6 21.9 30.7
Assists 1 1 1 0

WhoScored

Takeaways from Statistical Analysis of Motta

  • Prefers cutting off passes to tackling, which is the root of his positional problems. If he is generally trying to intercept a pass, when that pass is completed, he is out of position. 
  • His tackles-to-fouls ratio is below par, as he has averaged more fouls than completed tackles during the 2010-11 (Juve) and 2012-13 season (on loan at Bologna).
  • He is a liability with the ball at his feet because he has a 25-30-percent chance of passing the ball straight to the opposing team. 
  • Motta's best attribute is his crossing (an acceptable cross-success percentage is 25), but since he does not get into the attacking half enough, he is handicapping himself from registering more assists. 

He is so maligned that no club was willing to buy him from Juve in the summer transfer window.

Right now he is Conte's fourth-choice right-wing-back behind Stephan Lichtsteiner, Isla and Simone Padoin

Motta does not even need to prepare for UEFA Champions League games, because he was not included in the Champions League squad list. 

Fittingly, Motta has played 25 minutes in Serie A this season: zero goals, zero assists, zero completed crosses, zero tackles, zero interceptions, one yellow card

He could do a "Winston Bogarde" and play out his contract till 2015, picking up pay cheques while doing nothing.

You may think he is a rejected loser, but his bank account says otherwise, and this is why Motta is the Iron Man of all rejects.

 

Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt.
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Twitter: @allanjiangLIVE

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