Juventus Season Review (Part I) Player Ratings In Black and White
This has been a season most fans of Juventus will want to forget quickly.
The early season promise quickly faded, Ciro Ferrara and Alberto Zaccheroni both failed horrifically to restore any of La Vecchia Signora's former glory and both are out of work already as Juve search for their sixth coach in less than four years.
These faults will be discussed in greater detail in the second part of this in-depth review of Juventus in the 2009/10 season.
This first installment will look back on the weekly ratings, ranking the players in order, highlighting the relatively few players who can hold their heads high this season.
The rankings are calculated as an average rating, so the number of games played does not exclude any player. A few players rank higher than expected so look for a couple of surprises that will no doubt cause debate, but the figures are there on a weekly basis - in Black and White...
Three members of Juve's highly successful youth team made fleeting appearances in the famous shirt this season, all coming as late substitutions meaning they didn't play enough to warrant a vote.
Ciro Immobile played in two Serie A matches and also made his European debut in the match against Bordeaux.
Luca Marrone also made two appearances, including enough time in the season opener at Chievo to collect a yellow card.
Manuel Giandonato played just seven minutes during his only appearance of the season.
This criminal under-use of the younger players is a heavy mark against the club, particularly in the last few games where it would make no difference as the club was already assured of a Europa League position and these players could easily have gained experience.
25. Jonathan Zebina
Average Rating: 4.84 Games: 16
That the French defender is the worst member of the Juventus squad will come as no surprise to fans of il Bianconeri.
The right-back offers no contribution to the attacking play, making the 3-man midfield impossible to deploy, and his defending is even worse.
Rarely in position, lacking the ability to read a game or the pace to recover when beaten (a VERY regular occurance) Zebina has been a liability all season long.
If his play wasn't bad enough, then in the Europa League game at Fulham he ensured he was despised by his own fans when he insulted them after being sent off.
He is out of contract in June 2011 and it is hoped Beppe Marotta will find a way to terminate that deal a year earlier. His abject displays mean he will not be missed in Turin.
Average Rating: 4.86 Games: 29 Goals: 5 Player of the Day: 1
To truly understand how awful Zebina's performances have been this season, the fact he is rated lower than Amauri is perhaps the most revealing.
The Brazilian "striker" was terrible all season, to the point where I am embarrassed that he was Player of the Day in Week 10. He scored twice that day, taking his tally for the season to 4 in 9 games.
That was to be the end of his good play, however, as he added just one more goal in a further 20 appearances.
In Europe, he was just as woeful, and the fact he obtained Italian citizenship in March will not be of any concern to a certain Marcello Lippi.
23. Antonio Chimenti
Average Rating: 5.00 Games: 2
The 39-year-old made just two appearances, due to injuries to Gigi Buffon and Alex Manninger, both were disappointing, a 3-3 draw with Siena and the loss to Sampdoria which can almost be completely laid at Chimenti's feet.
He was also in goal in the return leg of the Fulham Europa League tie that ended in a 4-1 defeat.
22. Michele Paolucci
Average Rating: 5.00 Games: 5
Recalled to the club in the middle of the January injury crisis, he played one game, in which he was the only recognised striker, and was then limited to four brief substitute appearances as Zaccheroni continued to select the woefully out-of-form Amauri.
Treated poorly, he still tried his utmost and deserved better, however unlikely that was under the current coach. Unlikely to remain in Turin this season, it remains to be seen if he leaves on yet another loan or finally ends his long association with Juventus.
21. Fabio Grosso
Average Rating: 5.36 Games: 26 Goals: 2 Player of the Day: 2
The first of last summer's flops to appear on the list, Grosso has been less than a shadow of the player perhaps more responsible for Italy's 2006 World Cup win than any other.
This years Grosso can no longer defend, dribble, cross, pass, shoot or cover a whole flank alone, and was embarrassed on a number of occasions, none more so than the final day in Milan where Luca Antonini showed just how Grosso used to play the same position.
Perhaps the young flyer should have taken the old stager's place in South Africa too, now Lippi has sent Grosso home?
20. Zdenek Grygera
Average Rating: 5.55 Games: 20
That three of the bottom six players are full-backs shows the most glaring weakness in this Juventus team, and that is made worse by the fact that the three-man midfield makes strong displays in that position essential.
New players are needed here quickly, and of the three already mentioned, it is Grygera's ability to play centrally that may see him stay.
Grygera is a good role player and on a better team, his short-comings would be masked, but as a part of this squad he is just one more below-par performer.
19. Hasan Salihamidzic
Average Rating: 5.65 Games: 14 Goals: 2
Brazzo is another player coming to the end of his time in Turin. His poor performances this season have perhaps been a by-product of his misuse in midfield and the versatility that has seen him deployed in four or five positions, while his age prevents him playing his natural role any longer.
His two goals were important, and in better seasons would have meant more, but in this nightmare season, they are mere footnotes.
18. Fabio Cannavaro
Average Rating: 5.74 Games: 27
That the National Team captain features so low on the list should cause real concern among fans of lo Nazionale, but the redeeming factor is that anytime a big game arrived, or an international week drew near, Cannavaro pulled a great game out of his locker.
Four years ago, Cannavaro was at Juventus and was the world's best defender, now he is out of contract, re-signing with the club seems highly unlikely, and Canna is now not even the best central defender in his own family.
17. Felipe Melo
Average Rating: 5.84 Games: 29 Goals: 4
Not even halfway through the list, and Melo is the third of the four arrivals last summer to feature.
His season has perhaps been the most disappointing given that he was so influential at Fiorentina last summer, and also put in some stellar performances at last summers Confederations Cup.
To make matters worse, he has seemed in denial of his poor form, saying that Juventus fans "expect him to score every game" due to the hefty transfer fee paid to secure his signature.
The fans are more perceptive, and just wish Melo would do his job as a destroyer of play rather than trying to play like a Brazilian!
16. Nicola Legrottaglie
Average Rating: 5.84 Games: 19 Goals: 1 Player of the Day: 1
The born-again central defender suffered perhaps more than anyone from the influx of poor performers.
Last season he formed a solid partnership with Chiellini and is arguably a better player than Cannavaro these days.
His style certainly makes him a far more effective pairing with Juve's best defender who shares too many traits with the Italy captain.
The lack of games has cost him his place in the World Cup squad this summer, which is a shame as he had become a valuable member of Lippi's Azzurri set-up.
His attitude to it all has been first rate, which will hopefully see him remain in Turin as a back-up player.
15. Antonio Candreva
Average Rating: 5.96 Games: 16 Goals: 2 Player of the Day: 1
One of January's astute moves, all of which seemed orchestrated by the returning Roberto Bettega, Candreva was brought in on loan from Udinese, having spent the first half on the season at Livorno.
He struggled under the burden of his first "big club" experience, and being shuffled around the midfield that was constantly changing shape didn't help. Zaccheroni's crazy selection policy also harmed his impact, and flair players always struggle to shine in an under-performing team.
In spite all of this Candreva managed to carve a niche in the side and became a valuable member of the squad. Recently cut from the initial 30 man National squad, it is hoped he remains at Juve after the loan agreement expires.
14. David Trezeguet
Average Rating: 6.00 Games: 17 Goals: 7 Player of the Day: 1
Age and injury combined to slow the clubs all-time leading foreign goal scorer in what is very probably his final season in Turin. He still managed to finish the season second in the scorers chart, his seven goals a tribute to his lasting qualities.
He was denied a proper farewell to the fans who have idolised TrezeGol for the past decade, yet another slur on the reign of Zaccheroni. Hopefully he will participate in the upcoming tour of Canada and the US, with Juve's strong North American tifosi able to give him a fitting send off.
13. Alex Manninger
Average Rating: 6.05 Games: 11
The Austrian once again proved to be a more than capable under-study for Gigi Buffon, who suffered two injuries this season that caused him to miss 13 Serie A fixtures. Sadly Manninger was also out for two of those, meaning Chimenti had to play.
Manninger is a solid reserve and unless he leaves in search of regular football there is no reason to expect his departure during the summer revolution.
12. Paolo De Ceglie
Average Rating: 6.21 Games: 21
In the early part of the season De Ceglie was used as a regular substitute by Ciro Ferrara, occupying a number of roles in midfield as well as at left back. That became his regular position as a starter in one of Zaccheroni's only intelligent decisions.
The one thing we did learn about the youngster was that he still has a way to go before he is ready to play as a defender in this league, and that he may be better suited to the wide left midfield role that will need to be filled in Luigi Del Neri's 4-4-2. His crossing is very good and he plays at a high pace, both great attributes.
11. Christian Poulsen
Average Rating: 6.25 Games: 25
In a season of mediocraty, it is perhaps apt that a mediocre player should enjoy his best season. Previously believed to not be of a high enough quality to play for the club, the Dane made the decision to shun the riches on offer in Turkey to fight for his place at Juventus.
Doing so has seen him emerge as a better option in midfield than the much more lauded - and more expensive - Felipe Melo and Tiago, as his robust style, allied to a good range of passing has finally seen him accepted in Turin.
10. Sebastian Giovinco
Average Rating: 6.33 Games: 12 Goals: 1 Player of the Day: 1
To manage to break the top ten while only featuring in a dozen games is testimony to two facts; the Turin native possesses a level of talent rarely found, and that this talent has been wasted, over-looked or disregarded by each and every coach the club has employed.
There may be other, as yet undisclosed reasons why the "Atomic Ant" features so rarely, yet his displays in the brief spell where Ferrara tested a 4-2-3-1 were outstanding initially. One factor is certainly his ability to make the most of his chances when they do arrive, his form dropped at the end of the previously mentioned spell, and he also followed week 31's game-changing appearance with a horror show the very next game.
These slumps can be partially explained by his constant spells on the bench, as well as the teams general woes, but if he manages to survive the summer you sense this next season will either be the true beginning of his Juve career or indeed its end.
9. Martin Caceres
Average Rating: 6.38 Games: 15 Goals: 1 Player of the Day: 1
One thing standing out when putting this list together was the pleasing crop of young players all bunched together; Caceres, Giovinco & Paolo De Ceglie. If these can be surrounded by the missing pieces and the veterans can be coached better, then the nucleus of a very good side is already in place.
His loan from Barcelona has been a success, although his injury woe continued to some extent and the club seem to be attempting to use that as leverage in their bid to capture his permenant signature. The player himself has indicated he would like to remain at Juve and Marotta should conclude the deal quickly.
His displays at right back have been good, if a little inconsistent. One or two errors that you would expect of an emerging player have been made worse by the fact the team around him has been so poor. If his match winning performance away to Lazio was a weekly occurance then Juve would have some player on their hands.
8. Mauro Camoranesi
Average Rating: 6.39 Games: 25 Goals: 3 Player of the Day: 1
Camo suffered an injury hit campaign, and was also played in a number of positions as first Ferrara and then Zaccheroni constantly changed the shape of the team.
The midfielder's class shone at times, but he was slowed by niggling injuries even when playing and never really hit a run of form that would allow his qualities to show effectively.
Another not expected to remain, he too was denied a send-off by Zaccheroni which is a disgrace considering all he has given to the shirt.
Average Rating: 6.45 Games: 3125 Goals: 5 Player of the Day: 3
To see a player who has been so derided as a flop sitting so high in the table comes as a surprise, but look at the stat line - his transfer fee was so high, as was the expectation, that a rating lower than 6.5 is a failure. He was player of the day three times, but two of those were the first two games of the season. The last came in week 17 when he had also scored four of his five goals.
It remains to be seen if his immediate future lies in Turin, Luigi Del Neri's arrival with his 4-4-2 only policy does not bode well for the Brazilian playmaker, but a transfer would undoubtedly mean the club suffering a substantial loss after only one season.
6. Vincenzo Iaquinta
Average Rating: 6.47 Games: 15 Goals: 6 Player of the Day: 2
Started the season, like Juve generally, in a rich vein of form, scoring three goals in his first four appearances, before injury then kept him out of the next 20 league fixtures. The slump Juventus entered when his knee gave out was down to more than his absence, but it was a contributing factor nevertheless.
His versatility, selfless running and energy have all been vital qualities to his success as a Juventus player, and he is one of only a small group to emerge from this season with any real credit.
5. Momo Sissoko
Average Rating: 6.53 Games: 18 Player of the Day: 2
That Sissoko ranks so highly after receiving so much criticism for his play speaks volumes about the level of his team mates throughout this woeful season. Reading his name will have many shaking their heads, but the figures are there, and have been every week. Sissoko's play has been erractic at times, but when deployed correctly he is a fine defensive midfielder with many admirable attributes.
He is another who's future is far from certain, but with the team around him sure to be vastly improved, the young Malian should be retained for some time yet.
4. Claudio Marchisio
Average Rating: 6.59Games: 28 Goals: 3 Player of the Day: 4
The Turin born midfielder has been one of Juve's bright spots this season, his stylish midfield displays have been a source of much pride among the clubs fans, who relish seeing one of their own giving his all on the field.
His display in the first game against Inter was outstanding, and his goal was both deserved and of great quality. His value to Marcello Lippi's Italy should also not be under-estimated, Marchisio is one of the only players capable of deputising for Daniele De Rossi with any success.
3. Gigi Buffon
Average Rating: 6.75 Games: 27 Player of the Day: 4
"Superman" has had better seasons at Juventus, but he has also played behind cohesive defences before too. This season he was left to defend the goal on his own far too often, as the worst Bianconeri defence in many years fell to pieces with alarming regularity.
Over recent weeks he has made clear he demands a return to the top, and has often hinted he would find it elsewhere if forced. This weeks events seem to have appeased the worlds best goalkeeper, who has moved to quash all talk of an exit after the arrivals of Marotta and Del Neri.
2. Alessandro Del Piero
Average Rating: 6.78 Games: 21 Goals: 9 Player of the Day: 5
While the high placings for Diego and Sissoko are a surprise, the fact that the 35 year old captain is still the second best player is best described as alarming. On top of that his 9 goals were a club best, which shows the clubs woes in an even sadder light.
In the latter weeks of the season, as the team slumped to the end, Del Piero never gave up, dragging his team over the line, and perhaps making him as responsible as anyone for the fact the club will have European football at all next season.
Next season Juve will need to ensure that Il Capitano does not need to play every game, and that he can be used in a lesser role, but still bring his enormous qualities to bear when needed.
1. Giorgio Chiellini
Average Rating: 7.03 Games: 34 Goals: 3 Player of the Day: 10
That the centre back tops this list will come as no surprise. Not only was Chiello the clubs best (often only) stopper, he also provided an attacking spark when the team needed it most, and was also a leader on the field at times when others shrunk away.
Now so much more than the brusing defender that arrived from Fiorentina, he has added real quality to his game, able to read the play, time his tackles and also contribute a good return of goals. His time at left back has also left him the ability to cross the ball, as well as carry it out of defence, all great attributes in any defender.