On Claudio Marchisio's Ever-Growing Importance

Gabriele Maltinti - Getty Images

EXCLUSIVE: Claudio Marchisio is good.

It's easy to write good things about Claudio Marchisio. I should know this as much as anybody else, especially since he's been the topic of a few posts of mine in the year-plus I've been associated with this blog. The writing process involves a lot of Marchisio-related topics in how we can try to portray his awesomeness as much as possible.

Why?

Well, for one, he's better than you. So that always helps. But he's also a damn good footballer, which helps more than anything.Or you could say I have a man crush on Claudio, and you'd also be correct.

But that's beside the point. This is about Il Principino, not myself.

Watching Marchisio develop from youth product in Serie B to young midfielder who just earned a starting shirt to, now, a incredibly important cog in the Juventus team has been one hell of a ride. While prior to Antonio Conte's arrival on the sidelines Juve's potential success was pretty much derailed for two straight years, Marchisio only continued to improve. He only continued to become more and more consistent. He only continued to show the potential people saw in him.

Now, six years after his first-team debut and in his 19th year with the club, Marchisio is only getting better. And maybe more noticeably, his role within the squad is becoming that much more important.

You could say that Andrea Pirlo is the hub of the midfield — and you'd be right. He's the maestro. He's the guy who makes the offense go, go, go. He's one of the biggest reasons why Juventus has racked off so many games without being defeated. But Marchisio is there, with his own #MarchisioBeard, playing a role in the MVP midfield that is just as crucial as the one of Pirlo.

No, his goal-scoring rate isn't as good as it was last season. A year ago, he already had racked up three goals — including a brace against Milan — through seven Serie A games. This season, it's only one, as he opened his account this past Sunday in game-winning fashion against Siena.

But still, the importance within the squad is just as important as ever — with or without the goals.

Great players find a way to help their team win — with or without their name on the final scoresheet. I'm pretty sure Marchisio can be considered a great player by now. If he isn't on your list of the game's true greats, I suggest hitting the edit button and re-evaluating some things.

Around these parts, Claudio Marchisio is great. End of story.

Even when he isn't on the field, like against Fiorentina, his presence — or lack there of — is noticed. Roles change, players are thrown off their game. Take Arturo Vidal, for example. Instead of having Marchisio and Pirlo alongside him, it was Pirlo and Emmanuele Giaccherini. Sure, the hard pressing of the opposition's midfield helped, but there was a general feeling that something was missing in the Juve midfield against La Viola.

Answer: Il Principino.

Need more evidence? Here you go.

Courtesy of WhoScored, Marchisio's Serie A season thus far:

- Pass accuracy: 85.3 percent (Just behind Pirlo and Vidal, who are at 86.9 and 86.8 percent, respectively.)

- Shots per game: 2.6 (good for fourth on the team)

- Tackles per game: 1.9 (fifth amongst regular starters)

Marchisio's role and overall importance to the greater good of the team seems to only grow as the weeks go by. Be it runs into the opponent's 18-yard box or tracking back on defense when others have gone up for a chance on goal, he gets it. There are players who just simply rely on their talent to get by. But there are players, like Marchisio, who have the brain to go along with the overall quality of player, which in turn takes their game onward and upward.

That's what has allowed him to continue this growth into a complete midfielder that is still flying under the radar to some. Juventus wouldn't have one of the best midfields around if it wasn't for him. They wouldn't have won the Scudetto if it wasn't for every contribution he made.

At 26 years old, he's entering the prime of his career and, at the very least, is on the track to becoming a player that will go down as a Legend — yes, capital letters — at one of the most historic clubs in the world.

And it doesn't hurt that he is, and always will be, better than you.

(Just in case you forgot.)

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