With Euro 2012 rapidly approaching, we here at JuventiKnows are profiling the different Juventus players participating in the summer tournament. This year, seven of our Scudetto winners are going to Poland and Ukraine as part of Cesare Prandelli’s Italian national side as the coach – himself a former midfielder for the Bianconeri – called up – Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Leonardo Bonucci, Emmanuele Giaccherini, and today’s featured star Andrea Barzagli.
Birthplace and Birthday:
Fiesole, Florence, 8 May 1981
La Roccia, il Serafico, Dre
Estimated Market Value:
€10 million (via Transfermarkt.it)
Title, Year, (Club)
UEFA Under-21 Championship, Gold 2004 (Italy)
Olympics, Bronze Medal 2004 (Italy)
Bundesliga 2008-09 (Wolfsburg)
Serie A 2011-12 (Juventus)
World Cup 2006 (Italy)
Team Supported Growing Up:
Fiorentina (We’ll forgive him, he’s from the province)
Level of Fame:
Underrated. Probably well-known throughout Italy, I can’t imagine his fame extends continentally (with Germany perhaps being the lone exception). This seems unfair, considering the season that he just had as well as his prior accolades and honors, but it’s just as well; he strikes me as someone who would prefer it this way.
The quiet side of strong.
Andrea always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, so positioning is definitely one of his strong points. He also showed off his timing and precision, proving to be more than effective when having to make that last tackle against a breaking defender.
Although more of a sweeper than his center-back partner, much like Chiellini he is mild-mannered almost to a fault, and a bit lacking in pace.
Status on Club Team:
Having been written off shortly after a transfer to Wolfsburg from Palermo after the 2007-08 season, he returned to the peninsula in a 2011 winter move to Juventus, showing that his flawless defensive work was not a thing of the past. He would eventually displace the highly-rated youngster Leonardo Bonucci next to Giorgio Chiellini in Juventus’ 4-man backline, at least until Conte switched to a 3-man defense.
YouTube Comp with Questionable Music:
2011-2012 Club Season:
Completely reignited his career at Juventus. Andrea was considered a rising star as part of the famous Palermo defense of the mid-2000s and, along with teammates Fabio “those which we don’t speak of” Grosso and Cristian Zaccardo, would feature for the 2006 World Cup Champions. Barzagli was set to join his hometown heroes at Fiorentina in 2008. However, the economic temptation being too much to pass up (those damned Bavarians are always flaunting their fiscal discipline and monetary superiority over Southern Europe!), he would instead opt to follow his old Palermo/Nazionale teammate, the aforementioned Cristian “I can single-handedly make US Soccer look good” Zaccardo. He would eventually lose his starting spot at Wolfsburg, and head over to Juventus during the 2011 winter transfer window for a mere € 300,000 — an absolute STEAL! Since then, he’s solidified himself as a reliable partner to either Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, or both.
Status in National Team:
While he had been a regular call-up perviously — he played at the 2006 World Cup, but only after Alessandro Nesta was injured and Marco Materazzi was, well, Marco Materazzi (red carded). After Giorgio Chiellini
exacted post-Calciopoli revenge on accidentally injured Fabio Cannavaro during training for Euro 2008, Barzagli was immediately paired up with Materazzi at centerback. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing that a childhood defense mechanism of repressing one’s memory can’t fix. Andrea’s time with the national team looked as good as over after that.
He has since righted the ship and, at age 30, quietly had the best season of his career. His resurgence hadn’t gone unnoticed by Nazionale coach Cesare Prandelli and Barzagli has been a fixture on his call-up sheet since last fall. He’s been so good that Prandelli has experimented with moving Chiellini back out to his old left fullback position, in order to fit the trio into his setup (although that hasn’t lasted).
Expected Performance for National Team:
Heading into Euro 2012, he was poised to get some playing time — that is, until, an unfortunate calf injury picked up in training threatened to rule him out of at least the group stages. The verdict is still out as to whether or not he’ll regain fitness in time to make the final cut. If he can contribute, expect him to get a significant amount of playing time, and be expected to be a consistent, flawless performer, in the back, oftentimes sweeping up others’ sloppiness.
The 1993 revolutionary hip-hop track Dre Day is loosely based on his rise as a youth player at Rondinella Calcio.
YouTube Comp Without Questionable Music:
In one word: Rock (hence the nickname).