Ranking the Top 6 Teenagers to Have Played for Juventus Since 2000

Adam Digby@@Adz77Featured ColumnistAugust 3, 2016

Ranking the Top 6 Teenagers to Have Played for Juventus Since 2000

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    Over recent seasons, the success of Juventus has made it extremely difficult for even the most gifted young players to break into the side.

    A series of coaches, from Ciro Ferrara and Gigi Delneri to Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri have instead fielded older, more experienced squad players to aid the club’s relentless pursuit of silverware.

    That fact has not been helped by a lack of top-tier talent emerging from the Bianconeri youth sector, forcing them to snap up promising youngsters from other clubs in order to ensure they have the strongest possible squad.

    It has seemingly always been this way for the grand Old Lady of Italian football, but every so often a prodigious player has emerged to shine in the famous black and white stripes of the peninsula’s most successful club.

    While many more recognisable faces—such as Turin native Claudio Marchisio—were already in the 20s when making their first-team debut, Juventus have still occasionally been able to call upon some tremendous teenagers.

    What follows is a look at the top six such young players to have represented the Bianconeri since 2000, ranked in order of their success both with La Madama and elsewhere.

6. Luca Marrone

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    Born just outside Turin, Luca Marrone joined the Juventus youth sector at just eight years old, rising through the ranks as he twice helped the Primavera side to victory in the prestigious Viareggio Tournament.

    He was given his first-team debut by coach Ciro Ferrara in the 2009/10 Serie A campaign, playing in the opening match against Chievo Verona. A loan spell at Siena just 12 months later saw him work under Antonio Conte for the first time, with the two men returning to Juve in the summer of 2011.

    Gradually Marrone would earn more playing time under the former Italy head coach, but he has since been sent on loan again to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona, meaning he has made a total of just 23 appearances for the Bianconeri.

    Now 26, it is unlikely his long-term future is as part of Massimiliano Allegri’s squad.

5. Frederik Sorensen

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    One of many players to begin his development elsewhere before joining Juventus, Frederik Sorensen moved to Turin in the summer of 2010 and quickly supplanted Marco Motta as Gigi Delneri’s first-choice right-back.

    While the man he replaced was an Italy international, Sorensen looked far more accomplished and assured despite being only 18 years old. A notable performance came against Inter Milan where he helped the Bianconeri keep a clean sheet and set up his side’s winning goal.

    As the Old Lady grew stronger, however, there was little room for the promising Denmark native and—after loan spells with Bologna and Hellas Verona—he was sold to FC Cologne in July 2015 for just €1.6 million.

4. Mattia Cassani

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    After making his first-team debut with Juventus in November 2002, Mattia Cassani has enjoyed a fruitful career despite never being given a chance by the Bianconeri.

    One brief substitute appearance in a UEFA Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev was his only contribution before being moved on.

    Sent to Hellas Verona initially in co-ownership, he was one of the many players sacrificed in a cost-cutting exercise after Juventus’ 2006 relegation during the Calciopoli scandal.

    Cassani subsequently joined Palermo and scored his first goal in a win over Juventus two years later. His performances for the Rosanero saw him capped by Italy in 2009.

    Spells with Genoa, Parma and Sampdoria followed, but there is little doubt that Cassani could have been an important player for Juventus had they not been forced to sell him a decade ago.

3. Ciro Immobile

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    While there is little to suggest Ciro Immobile could have been a regular at Juventus, he—much like Mattia Cassani—has gone on to enjoy a fine career elsewhere.

    His Bianconeri debut came in a Serie A meeting with Bologna, replacing Alessandro Del Piero with just a few minutes remaining.

    Playing alongside Luca Marrone, the young striker helped Juve win those two aforementioned Viareggio titles. He was also named the tournament’s best player and the leading scorer in the 2010 edition.

    Spells with Siena and Grosseto did little to help his development, but he would explode during a season on loan with Serie B side Pescara in 2011/12. In a team coached by Zdenek Zeman, he played in attack with Lorenzo Insigne while Marco Verratti bossed the midfield; Immobile eventually netted a league-high 28 goals.

    Another disappointing season at Genoa would follow, before he again shone with Torino, claiming the Serie A top scorer award after bagging 22 goals in 33 games. He failed to impress at either Borussia Dortmund or Sevilla, and returned to Torino on loan in January before signing for Lazio in July.

2. Kingsley Coman

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    While in many cases, Juventus have been guilty of not giving young players a chance, Kingsley Coman is one of very few for whom the reverse is true.

    After joining the Bianconeri from Paris Saint-Germain in July 2014, he was handed his first-team debut by Massimiliano Allegri shortly after his 18th birthday.

    Coman—who had already become PSG’s youngest-ever player—would make 20 appearances in his first season in Turin, helping to win the club’s first domestic double in two decades. He was also sent on from the bench in the Champions League final against Barcelona in May 2015.

    Allegri continued to show faith in the Frenchman as 2015/16 got under way. He was handed starts in both the Supercoppa Italiana and their opening Serie A fixture but decided to move to Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal before the transfer window closed.

    With the Bavarian side he scored six goals in 35 appearances, claiming winner’s medals in both the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal, while also being part of the France squad at UEFA Euro 2016.

1. Paul Pogba

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    Who else could it be? After joining Juventus in the summer of 2012, Paul Pogba has gone from being an overlooked and underused youngster at Manchester United to one of the finest midfielders in the game today.

    Both Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri deserve immense credit for their work with the gifted Frenchman, but there is no denying his incredible natural ability. A complete player who can do almost anything, the 23-year-old has weighed in with 34 goals in 178 appearances for the Bianconeri.

    Now firmly established as a member of both the Juve and France starting XIs, Pogba is a four-time Serie A champion, a two-time Coppa Italia winner and has runner-up medals in both the Champions League and Euro 2016.

    Last season saw him set new career bests in both goals and assists, and his game is constantly developing and improving as he matures. He is now being discussed as a player whose next move may well break the world transfer record.

    Quite simply, Pogba is the best teenager to represent Juventus since Giovanni Trapattoni sent a 19-year-old Alessandro Del Piero on to the field against Foggia back in 1993. There is no higher compliment.