The big team selection news prior to Juventus’ wonderful victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday was the inclusion of 22 year-old midfielder Stefano Sturaro. The young Italian impressed, as he put in a terrific defensive display – imposing himself against the likes of Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos. So, who is the player that registered just four minutes of European football before that clash in Turin? Here is the lowdown.
Born in the north-western town of Sanremo in Italy, Stefano started playing calcio for the local side, he made an impact at such a young age which resulted in several top clubs from Italy eyeing him up – they included the likes of Sampdoria, Lazio and Genoa.
It was Genoa who snapped him up in 2008 and was immediately assigned to their Primavera squad. He had a successful two years in Genoa’s youth squad, winning the title during that time.
Sturaro was then called up to the senior squad, however, he was loaned out to Serie B side Modena in the summer of 2012 to gain that fundamental senior experience. He returned to Genoa as a more confident player for the 2013/14 season – he made 16 appearances for the side, scoring once.
Goals and assists is not part of his game, his priority is to break up play and protect the defence, which he does very well – no wonder he is labelled as the new Gennaro Gattuso by the Italian press.
His solid performances attracted the interest from reigning Champions Juventus, they purchased the player for €5.5 million in the summer of 2014 on a five year deal. It was agreed between the two clubs that Stefano would be loaned back to Genoa for the following season, but that was not to be the case.
In January 2015, Juventus were still fighting on all fronts – Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Champions League. The Italian giants had suffered with injuries in the midfield, in particularly to Andrea Pirlo, they needed reinforcements to cover. So, Juventus reached an agreement with Genoa to cut his loan spell and call him up to the squad.
Since his move back to Turin, Sturaro has made eight appearances and helped the side clinch their fourth consecutive Scudetto and reach the Champions League semi-final. As mentioned, Sturaro started alongside Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal in Juve’s 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the first leg. He played a pivotal role.
Most notably, pulling off a great piece of defending – intercepting James Rodriguez’s header on to the crossbar.
After that performance there is talk of Antonio Conte calling him up to the Italian national side. I think it’s only a matter of time considering Italy isn’t exactly blessed with an array of talent at the moment.
I hope he gets a chance to prove himself at international level.
This article was originally published on O-Posts