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UEFA Champions League Final: Scouting Juventus FC Midfielders

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The third part of the scouting report focused on Juventus, this one on midfielders.

Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

After going through a large defensive corps yesterday, it is now time to take a look at the most represented position on the Juventus roster, the midfielders. Massimiliano Allegri has used ten different midfielders in one way or another this season, but the team's best midfielders, and arguably the club's biggest stars are Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba, both of whom have on numerous occasions been rumored to be on their way out. Juventus also have one of the most iconic midfielders of his generation on their roster, Andrea Pirlo, with whom we will kick off this scouting report.

Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo of Juventus waits to take a free kick during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Real Madrid CF and Juventus at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 13, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Position: Defensive midfielder
Squad No.: 21
Date of birth: 19 May 1979
Place of birth: Flero, Italy
Height: 1.77m (5' 10'')
Weight: 68 kg (150 lbs)

Games Played 32
Games Started 31
Minutes Played 2571
Goals Scored 5
Assists
5
Chances Created
63
Conversion Rate
19%
Pass Accuracy 88%
Tackles Won
76%
Fouls 18
Fouls Won 28
Yellow Cards 0
Red Cards 0

Pirlo, one of the best midfielders of his time, is still playing at a very high level, despite being 36-years old. His passing is still sublime, and he still creates a ton of scoring chances for his teammates. Playing mostly as the defensive midfielder, Pirlo's vision and reading of the play elevate Juvetus to a completely different level. But age has his drawbacks. Pirlo has been limited this season by two separate injuries. Also, not even in his prime was Pirlo considered to be a player known for his pace, but now, at 36, he could actually be considered slow. But that hasn't stopped Pirlo from scoring goals. While he is mostly finding the back of the net from set-pieces, an area in which he's still one of the best in the world, his powerful right foot can still score from open play. Defensively his play has suffered in recent years as he can't keep up with fast opponents anymore.

Arturo Vidal

Arturo Vidal of Juventus FC celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and Juventus FC at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on May 2, 2015 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Position: Central midfielder
Squad No.: 23
Date of birth: 22 May 1987
Place of birth: Santiago de Chile, Chile
Height: 1.80m (5' 11'')
Weight: 75 kg (165 lbs)

Games Played 44
Games Started 39
Minutes Played 3537
Goals Scored 8
Assists
4
Chances Created
58
Conversion Rate
12%
Pass Accuracy 83%
Tackles Won
85%
Fouls 85
Fouls Won 73
Yellow Cards 11
Red Cards 0

Reliable as always, Vidal has lost some of his scoring touch this season, not reaching double digits in goals scored for the first time in three seasons. The number of assists he handed out is also the lowest since his first year in Turin, but Vidal continues to create many chances for his teammates, they just haven't been finishing them off. Usually playing in front of a midfield trio, Vidal brings a lot of energy and aggressiveness to the table, which leads to many turnovers by the opponents and plenty of yellow card for Vidal. Excellent both on offense and in defense, Vidal has been the second most used midfielder by Allegri this season and he figures to be one of the keys to Juventus' success in the final as he could potentially be the destructive force the Italians will need to stop Barcelona's attacks.

Claudio Marchisio

Claudio Marchisio of Juventus FC in action during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and US Sassuolo Calcio at Juventus Arena on March 9, 2015 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Position: Central midfielder
Squad No.: 8
Date of birth: 19 January 1986
Place of birth: Turin, Italy
Height: 1.79m (5' 11'')
Weight: 76 kg (168 lbs)

Games Played 51
Games Started 48
Minutes Played 4245
Goals Scored 3
Assists
10
Chances Created
66
Conversion Rate
6%
Pass Accuracy 85%
Tackles Won
79%
Fouls 63
Fouls Won 36
Yellow Cards 12
Red Cards 0

Marchisio has established himself as one of the best players to make their way through the Juventus academy in recent memory. This season Marchisio has logged more minutes than any midfielder on the team. Arguably the best passer of the ball after Pirlo, though that "title" is under threat form Pogba, Marchisio always looks to make a quick transition from defense to offense. Known for his tenacious style of play and hard tackling, Marchisio has become a very respected member of the bianconeri. Predominantly right-footed, though his left-foot isn't trailing far behind, Marchisio can play just about anywhere in midfield. He's seen playing time out wide, as a defensive midfielder and as a central midfielder, where he is the most comfortable and excels in a box-to-box role.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba of Juventus FC reacts during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Atalanta BC at Juventus Arena on February 20, 2015 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Position: Central midfielder
Squad No.: 6
Date of birth: 15 March 1993
Place of birth: Lagny-sur-Marne, France
Height: 1.88m (6' 2'')
Weight: 80 kg (176 lbs)

Games Played 40
Games Started 37
Minutes Played 3245
Goals Scored 10
Assists
11
Chances Created
52
Conversion Rate
16%
Pass Accuracy 85%
Tackles Won
82%
Fouls 91
Fouls Won 58
Yellow Cards 7
Red Cards 0

One of the rising stars of the game, Pogba has already established himself as one of the best midfielders in the world. There does not appear to be a single area of the game in which Pogba doesn't shine. He is an excellent tackler, though he sometimes plays too aggressively, leading to (too) many fouls, is positionally very strong and can pass with the best of them. On top of that he possesses a booming right foot and can surprise the best goalkeepers from as far as 35 yards out. While headed goals have eluded him this season that does not mean he's not an aerial threat as he can out-jump most players on the pitch, partially due to his almost defender-like frame. The Frenchman is also technically very gifted and knows how to control the game as good, if not better, as some more experienced and more established midfielders in today's game.

Stefano Sturaro

Stefano Sturaro (R) of Juventus FC is challenged by Daniele Rugani of Empoli FC during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Empoli FC at Juventus Arena on April 4, 2015 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Position: Central midfielder
Squad No.: 27
Date of birth: 9 March 1993
Place of birth: Sanremo, Italy
Height: 1.82m (6' 0'')
Weight: 78 kg (172 lbs)

Games Played 30
Games Started 25
Minutes Played 2061
Goals Scored 1
Assists
1
Chances Created
17
Conversion Rate
7%
Pass Accuracy 79%
Tackles Won
87%
Fouls 61
Fouls Won 51
Yellow Cards 7
Red Cards 1

Sturaro is arguably Juventus' best defensive option in midfield. An excellent tackler, Sturaro positions himself very well in defense and also very rarely looses the ball when in possession. Probably the biggest weakness in Sturaro's game is his passing as he often struggles to break the 80% accuracy mark, a must for every upper echelon midfielder these days. Considering how big his defensive contributions are it should come as no surprise that the young midfielder isn't a threat on the opposite side of the pitch - not in a single season as a professional has he scored more than one goal. Sturaro can play anywhere alongside the midfield line.

Roberto Pereyra

Roberto Pereyra of Juventus FC looks on during the TIM Cup match between Juventus FC and Hellas Verona FC at Juventus Arena on January 15, 2015 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Position: Attacking midfielder
Squad No.: 37
Date of birth: 7 January 1991
Place of birth: San Miguel de Tucoman, Argentina
Height: 1.84m (6' 0'')
Weight: 78 kg (172 lbs)

Games Played 51
Games Started 32
Minutes Played 2940
Goals Scored 6
Assists
4
Chances Created
55
Conversion Rate
21%
Pass Accuracy 87%
Tackles Won
74%
Fouls 42
Fouls Won 52
Yellow Cards 5
Red Cards 0

Arriving on loan at the start of the season, Pereyra has quickly established himself as a player that Allegri can trust, making the most appearances of any midfielder. However, many of those have been from the bench as Pereyra is one of the most used substitutes for Juventus. The Argentine is a very attacking player who mostly plays either on the wing or in attacking midfield. A very good finished and dribbler, Pereyra is most dangerous with his right foot, but is known to have a strong left foot as well. As most attacking midfielders, Pereyra isn't known to be very sound defensively and he also doesn't impress in the air game, despite his relatively tall frame for a midfielder.

Simone Padoin

Simone Padoin of Juventus FC in action during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Genoa CFC at Juventus Arena on March 22, 2015 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Position: Right midfielder
Squad No.: 20
Date of birth: 18 March 1984
Place of birth: Gemona del Friuli, Italy
Height: 1.79m (5' 11'')
Weight: 73 kg (161 lbs)

Games Played 34
Games Started 18
Minutes Played 1789
Goals Scored 0
Assists
4
Chances Created
25
Conversion Rate
0%
Pass Accuracy 88%
Tackles Won
73%
Fouls 21
Fouls Won 33
Yellow Cards 2
Red Cards 2

Padoin is to Juventus what Adriano is to Barcelona. A team-first player that will play wherever the manager says he will play. Naturally a right-midfielder, Padoin can play on both flanks, anywhere from full-back to winger, and, for good measure, play as a central midfielder if need be. A jack of all trades, master of none, Padoin is a technically gifted player with good vision that rarely makes mistakes when in possession of the ball. While the Italian has created plenty of goals for his teammates in his career, he is not really known for having a good scoring touch himself.

Kwadwo Asamoah

Kwadwo Asamoah of Juventus FC in action during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and Juventus FC at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on October 29, 2014 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Position: Left midfielder
Squad No.: 22
Date of birth: 9 December 1988
Place of birth: Kumasi, Ghana
Height: 1.78m (5' 11'')
Weight: 78 kg (172 lbs)

Games Played 10
Games Started 10
Minutes Played 882
Goals Scored 0
Assists
1
Chances Created
11
Conversion Rate
0%
Pass Accuracy 87%
Tackles Won
75%
Fouls 10
Fouls Won 8
Yellow Cards 2
Red Cards 0

Since joining from Udinese in in 2012, Asamoah has always been one of the primary midfield options for Juventus, but the emergence of Pogba and a knee injury that required surgery has severely diminished the Ghanian's playing time. Like so many of his teammates, he too can play multiple positions and has seen time as left-midfielder, left-back and central midfielder. Most of Asamoah's minutes come on the left side of the midfield where his dribbling abilities can be well utilized. Even though he usually has plenty of attacking responsibilities he very rarely doesn't track back to help in defense as he is also a very solid defender - expected from a player that can play full-back without many problems.

Simone Pepe

Simone Pepe of Juventus in action during the Serie A match between AC Cesena and Juventus FC at Dino Manuzzi Stadium on February 15, 2015 in Cesena, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

Position: Right winger
Squad No.: 7
Date of birth: 30 August 1983
Place of birth: Albano Laziale, Italy
Height: 1.78m (5' 10'')
Weight: 73 kg (161 lbs)

Games Played 16
Games Started 4
Minutes Played 494
Goals Scored 1
Assists
2
Chances Created
66
Conversion Rate
33%
Pass Accuracy 85%
Tackles Won
67%
Fouls 9
Fouls Won 1
Yellow Cards 0
Red Cards 1

This has basically been a comeback tour for Pepe who has managed to appear in only 20 games over the last three seasons, 16 of those this year, due to a thigh injury that just would not fully heal. Numerous setbacks now behind him, Pepe has managed to mostly stay healthy this year, but playing time was hard to find, despite his incredible versatility which has led him to play forward, winger, central midfielder, left-back and right-back in his career. A very popular locker-room figure, Pepe is a very intelligent player and a very hard worker that will do whatever the manager ask him to do.

Romulo

Romulo Souza of Juventus FC in action during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Cagliari Calcio at Juventus Arena on May 09, 2015 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Position: Central midfielder
Squad No.: 2
Date of birth: 22 May 1987
Place of birth: Pelotas, Brazil
Height: 1.78m (5' 10'')
Weight: 72 kg (159 lbs)

Games Played 5
Games Started 3
Minutes Played 280
Goals Scored 0
Assists
0
Chances Created
2
Conversion Rate
0%
Pass Accuracy 89%
Tackles Won
60%
Fouls 1
Fouls Won 1
Yellow Cards 0
Red Cards 0

Brought in during the summer of 2014, Romulo was expected to provide Juventus with quality midfield depth and versatility, he is very comfortable playing at right-back, but things didn't go as planed for the Brazilian. Early in the season he developed a hernia, he then suffered a thigh tear and has ended the season with a groin injury he suffered late in the campaign. If fit, Romulo would've been an option for Allegri off the bench as he has quickly proved his worth in very limited time. Romulo is an excellent passer of the ball, a strong dribbler and overall a very good team player, something Juventus could surely use.

Overview

Two things are certain, Vidal and Pogba will start the Champions League Final in Berlin. Pirlo is also very likely as Allegri doesn't have many options for dictating play from the defensive midfield. Who will get the fourth starting spot depends largely on Allegri's game plan. If he will try to shore up the defense he will start Sturaro, but it is more likely that he won't close down space from the opening minute which means that Marchisio will get the call. Of the two last mentioned ones, the one that doesn't start has virtually a guaranteed place on the bench. The attacking prowess from midfield of Pereyra will win the Argentine a place on the bench while Padoin's versatility also just about guarantees him one. Pepe almost certainly won't make the match squad, while injuries will rule Romulo and Asamoah out of selection.