Over the next week and a half, here at the Juventus Offside we will be profiling Juventini, their characteristics, and what role they play for their national team. It might not be the most useful for regular readers or general Juventus fans, but I think we Juventini are most apt, perhaps, to describe the quality of these players as we watch them week-in, week-out. We’ve done Italy players Gianluigi Buffon, Claudio Marchisio, and Vincenzo Iaquinta, Brazil enigma Felipe Melo, and Martin Caceres of Uruguay. Today, we profile Christian Poulsen of Denmark, no doubt a model professional but one who has never really hit his peak at Juve.
Birthplace: Asnæs, Denmark, a small village about an hour and a half outside of Copenhagen
National Team: Denmark. Over at the Denmark World Cup Blog, Cerberus does an excellent job constantly updating the blog with Denmark news. (Sister site to The Offside for national teams)
Personality: This is a curious section. Before arriving in Italy, due to confrontations with Totti, Gattuso, and Kaka, Poulsen had a reputation of a hardman, a rugby-tackling defensive midfielder who provoked other players. The reputation I thought was kind of an irritating dirty player, similar to a Gattuso role in position and personality. Couldn't be farther from the truth, he has never really lost his temper on the pitch, never got into a confrontation, and all in all, been a relatively well-behaved player. Perhaps too well behaved, as sometimes I wished he would get a little angry and make reckless tackles.
He's a great professional, though he's not the type of person to show emotion even if he is playing hard. Last summer Ciro Ferrara tried to push him out, Poulsen rejected transfers, yet trained hard and acted very professionally. He didn't take it personally, Ferrara could count on him whenever he needed. A model professional.
Preferred Foot: Right footed.
Estimated Market Value: €7.5million.
Media Status: Well known continentally, though not terribly famous. Poulsen has a relatively quiet persona, plays in a quiet position, and thus, doesn't really enjoy a whole lot of celebrity. Within Italy he was well known for the confrontations with Gattuso, Kaka, and Totti, and having played successfully in the Champions League with Schalke and Sevilla, a relatively well known European player.
With Copenhagen: 2000-01 Danish Superliga,
With Schalke: 2005 DFB Ligapokal
With Sevilla: 2006 European Super Cup, 2006-07 UEFA Cup, 2007 Spanish Cup
Individually: 2001 Danish under-21 Player of the Year,
Danish Player of the Year: 2005, 2006
Strengths: Poulsen was (incorrectly) signed by Juventus as the alternative to Xabi Alonso, and is clearly not a playmaker, more of a defensive midfielder. Despite this, he is a relatively well-rounded central midfielder. He is strong in the tackle and can position himself well, and has an eye for a decent pass once in a while, though he is no regista. Good endurance and rarely caught out of position.
Weaknesses: The strengths/weaknesses sections are kind of tough to do, because he is a completely different player between club and country. At Juventus, his chief weakness is he's never really imposed himself on matches. He's always had "decent" performances, but rarely any "great" ones. It's curious, as several Spanish friends told me when Juventus signed him that he was one of the best Liga players and midfielders in the two seasons he spent at Sevilla, and this is a league with Xavi. So for Juventus, that's pretty much it. Otherwise, he's a pretty well-rounded defensive midfielder.
Status on Club Team: Rotation player. Poulsen wasn't exactly welcomed to Juventus in the most ideal ways, the management spent much of the summer looking at Xabi Alonso and the deal scuppered over a few million euro, Poulsen was brought in as an alternative. From the start, the fans held up banners saying, "Congratulations, you've bought another rubbish player" which can't be terribly confidence-inspiring. Nonetheless, Poulsen has been a great professional and worked hard in training and offered to play when needed. Last year he was very much on the periphery of the squad, but has improved since.
2009-2010 Club Season: Poulsen actually had a bit of a step-up from last season, which didn't really happen for most players as Juventus delved into a hellish season. Last year, he was on the outside of the squad, playing very rarely in a 4-4-2, behind Marchisio, Sissoko, even Tiago. This season his performances improved a bit, and with Felipe Melo self-destructing, he got a few chances and played well. His play was simple yet effective, he shielded the backline well and made few mistakes. Despite trying to be booted out last summer, it appears he did well enough to earn another year at Juventus.
Status in National Team: Important first teamer. Christian Poulsen is always one of the first names on the Danish player list, he's been a fundamental player for them since his debut in 2001 at age 21, making 75 appearances. In the qualifying for the World Cup, he played 882 out of 900 minutes possible.
Expected Performance for National Team: Denmark isn't looking too great to progress, after the "other Poulsen's" unfortuante own-goal, but it's still doable. Poulsen plays better for Denmark than he does Juventus, and he's one of the very important players for the national team.
Random Fact: Poulsen was selected by coach Claudio Ranieri because Xabi Alonso was "too slow." Also, apparently Poulsen goes by the secret identity of Samson from the Bible.
In one word: Quietlyeffective. (It's one word if there's no space)
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World Cup Player Profiles and Other Links:
#1- Gianluigi Buffon
#2- Claudio Marchisio
#3- Felipe Melo
#4- Martin Caceres
#5- Fabio Cannavaro
#6- Vincenzo Iaquinta
#7- Mauro Camoranesi
#8- Christian Poulsen
#9- Giorgio Chiellini