Juventus 2011-12 Pagelle – GOALKEEPERS

Gigi, Marco, Alexander… they’re our heroes between the sticks, heroically keeping the ball out of the Juventus net.

With such an excellent defensive line in front of them, our boys with the padded gloves didn’t necessarily have a lot of work this season, but have certainly responded “present” whenever called into action. As the last rampart of defense against opposing hordes of forwards, the BEST GOALKEEPER ON EARTH™ and the finest two back-ups of Serie A will have their praises sung by many generations of Juventini to come!!!

    Gianluigi BUFFON
Aaron:   7.5 Adam:   7.5

Match Reports AVG.
  Lars:   7.5 John:   7.5
Marco:   7.0 Mike:   7.0

Aaron: 7.5 – The sign of a great keeper is one who makes one or two great saves in a game with nothing else to do. Gigi was in superb form for much of the Fall but as Juventus mounted its Scudetto challenge in the Spring, his involvement became much more limited. The defense and midfield dominated possession, leaving game after game without any serious saves for the Juve #1. The week after the Bianconeri suffocated Fiorentina, they faced Inter at home: Buffon made 3-4 world-class saves in the first half alone, keeping his team in the game before Cáceres & Del Piero struck in the 2nd half to take all the points. The following week, Buffon returned to the prior regime as Juve allowed 0 shots on target vs. Napoli. Like in prior title-winning seasons, San Gigi was crucial in the Old Lady’s Scudetto triumph.

Adam: 7.5 – Superman is back in the building! As much as the biggest story this season has been La Vecchia Signora‘s return to the summit of Calcio, the same holds true for the club’s most expensive-ever signing. After a couple of injury plagued seasons and a serious dip in form, Gigi Buffon is back to the kind of form which saw him crowned as the world’s best, a title he is most certainly worthy of once again after winning easily as many points this term as the club’s entire strikeforce. Often here on JuventiKnows we’ve called him a passenger or a spectator, giving him an ‘s.v.’ in our match reviews as he had contributed nothing, but on so many occasions he has come up with the one save to keep all three points for Juve. That so many of them have been almost logic-defying (see the Inter game for example) only enhance that reputation. Now, if only he had started the Cup Final…

Lars: 7.5 – San Gigi pulled out some crucial saves this season, despite not being troubled much due to a very tidy midfield and defence in front of him. He at times acted more like a sweeper than a goalkeeper, and was clearly instructed by Conte to be involved in playing the ball out of defence instead of kicking it long. The one time his skilled feet failed him (against Lecce) should be regarded as the exception proving the rule; namely that Buffon was excellent in this more active role in every other game of the season. He was a rock on set pieces, and while he still punches balls away more than he used to, that can be seen as a sign of maturity, his judgement being sounder. Finally, one should not underestimate his influence in organizing our record-breaking defence all year.

John: 7.5 – For the past two seasons it seemed as if Super Gigi was finally coming back to Earth and becoming, well… ‘Ordinary Gigi’. Injuries undoubtedly contributed to his less-than-stellar form, but something seemed off about Buffon during that time: not in the least was his proclivity to punch balls away rather than grab them, a classic sign of loss of confidence. Well, this season our #1 returned with a vengeance, negating any cynic’s lingering doubts as to why the team didn’t cash in on Man City’s allegedly ridiculous offer ca. 2009. He’s firmly back in the conversation of “Best Keeper on Earth”, and would have had a higher rating had it not been for his lack of anything to do for long stretches of time (a good problem for the team to have, if you ask me).

Marco: 7.0 – Back to his old Superman self, Gigi returned to be the solid pillar between the sticks everyone expected him to be. Not that he had too much to do this year, mind you (recall that entire month of April of ‘senza voto’ ratings) thanks in large part to Juve’s excellent defense. That said, the capital saves against Milito and Forlán vs. Inter spring back to mind, as well as THAT “save” on Muntari. The incident in Lecce is just a minor blip in an otherwise excellent season from Gigione.

Mike: 7.0 – The boost in Gigi’s confidence was evident this season, no doubt due to the great defensive line-up in front of him and the overall dominating team play. The Lecce debacle was lone sour note to a beautifully composed symphony of a season.

    Marco STORARI
Aaron:   6.0 Adam:   6.0

Match Reports AVG.
  Lars:   6.0 John:   5.5
Marco:   6.0 Mike:   5.5

Aaron: 6.0 – Whether due to lesser playing time or advancing age, Storari wasn’t as assured as he was last year. There were a few mistakes here and there, the Coppa Italia final vs. Napoli being the most noticeable. He still made great saves here and there, but still conceded goals pretty consistently whenever on the pitch. Still a great keeper, and an amazing second keeper, but not as good as last season when he was arguably one of the best shot-stoppers in Serie A.

Adam: 6.0 – Storari is a superb keeper to have as back-up, ideal for the role in that he helps prepare Buffon for matches while offering a top-quality alternative should Gigi be sidelined by injury or suspension. Since Superman returned however, the former Sampdoria and Milan man has failed to recapture the same form he showed in his first few months in Turin, finding it difficult to adjust to no longer starting regularly as he has throughout his career.

Lars: 6.0 – In my eyes, Storari could be first choice goalkeeper at about half of Serie A’s teams. He has great reflexes and will pull out at least one stunning save every match. His limited gametime this season has of course had an impact on his communication with the backline, just like there has been the occasional blip, but overall, just like with Buffon in the starting line-up, Storari is second to none as a reserve keeper.

John: 5.5 – A solidly above-average performance from the number 2 number 1, the Coppa final debacle notwithstanding. Good enough to start for at least half of the Serie A squads, we’re lucky to have Storari deputizing Buffon (at least when he’s not injuring his own players during goal celebrations).

Marco: 6.0 – Bear with me here: there was a time when I was satisfied with the following hypothetical scenario. a) Keep Storari as our #1; b) sell Buffon for plenty of cash; c) use said cash to rebuild the team. Indeed, Buffon had just spent 6-7 months on the sidelines, his form was iffy, and meanwhile Storari had deputized extremely well. I’m glad that we kept Gigi after all, but also that Storari stayed at the club, as he’s a fully capable back-up which performed his duties well this season. It’s possible however that so much time spent on the touchline has made the ex-Milan man a bit rusty. That unnecessary slide on Lavezzi in the Coppa Italia final weighs on him…

Mike: 5.5 – The best back-up keeper in Serie A only made… 3 appearances in Serie A, stepping in twice when Buffon dealt with that shoulder injury in October and once more for the Atalanta party season-closer. As the starter for all Coppa Italia matches, his two yellows in four matches is pretty poor for his position (hence a 0.5 deduction) but overall did fine. Would be better with more playing time.

    Alexander MANNINGER
Aaron:   s.v. Adam:   s.v.

Match Reports AVG.
  Lars:   s.v. John:   s.v.
Marco:   s.v. Mike:   s.v.

Aaron: s.v. – Alex Manninger was an excellent deputy to Buffon in years past, and has served admirably as the 3rd-choice goalkeeper the last two seasons. With his contract expiring, Juventus will certainly be giving those gloves to a youngster (e.g. Leali or Branescu). Though he did not make a single appearance this season (a swansong vs. Atalanta denied by Chiellini’s injury) I always liked Manninger and wish him the very best with his future, whatever he chooses to do.

Adam: s.v. – The world’s greatest third-choice goalkeeper seems a somewhat back-handed compliment but that is certainly what the Austrian has been over the past two seasons. Should be moving on this Summer as his contract has expired and Juventus have a number of quality youngsters ready to fill his role.

Lars: s.v. – Being a clear third choice, Manninger has not played a game this season, but seems to have a great rapport with the squad and has served the club well over the past few years. All the best to him for being there in the darkest of hours, and a shame he didn’t get on the field vs. Atalanta to celebrate the remarkable return to the top of which, somehow, he too was a part.

John: s.v. – A great third choice. The best part is that we never got to see him play (no offense, Alex).

Marco: s.v. – The back-up of the back-up, and yet another capable goalkeeper for Juventus. Did not feature at all this season, and it’s a shame that Chiellini got injured in the last league game vs. Atalanta… Conte had a 5-minute homage in store for him.

Mike: s.v. – Always liked Manninger, but mostly just because he looks my uncle Aurelio. Solid third back-up.


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