I'll probably do a wrap-up for the season, but this is a concise quicker way to review it I suppose. Without any further ado, I give you my player ratings (out of 10) for every Bianconeri who played a role in our season.
GIANLUIGI BUFFON: 8.5 We really couldn't have asked for more from Superman. While not his best year, Buffon was a steadying force behind a sometimes shaky defense. Won us 5-10points at least, by virtue of some ridiculous saves that he shouldn't been able to do. People thought he might have lost in during Serie B, I don't know why you would say that considering some of his saves then were still world-class. (the Bologna game, hesaved us from a draw in stoppage time) I didn't see a single goal that was his fault. Italy is in phenomenal hands this summer. World's #1, for sure.
EMANUELE BELARDI: 6.5 To be honest, I'm not sure why we're looking at goalkeepers. Like Amauri, it's reinforcing a position we're not desperate in right now. Some people didn't think Belardi was good enough, I disagree. For a deputizing keeper, he did a very satisfactory job. Not the best positioning at times and no gravity-defying saves alla Buffon, but a reliable backup. Potentially saved us from a home defeat against Cagliari with a good double-save near the end. Did well when we needed him, if he's satisfied being 2nd-keeper I don't know why we would dump him. The Cudicini's of the world aren't common. (Talented yet completely unambitious)
ZDENEK GRYGERA: 6.5 - He took a bit to adjust to Serie A play, but he continues to grow towards the end of the season. During our mid-season injury crisis, he played reliably if unspectacular at center-back. Not only played in the center, but willingly played on both sides of the wings, towards the end of the season he was our first-choice right-back. His best game was no doubt Genoa-Juventus (funny listening to this guy attempting to say his name), where he had a monster of a game. Scored a screamer of a goal (Caressa...GRYGERA!), beautifully setup Trezeguet with a solo-run and a nutmeg, and defended phenomenally. We learned from Genoa, Milan, etc that this man has tree trunks for legs and can unleash screamers at any moment. Fantastic to get him on free transfer, I see him as our right-back for the next few years. Would have gotten a 7.5 barring the 1st part of the season.
NICOLA LEGROTTAGLIE: 7 - For a man who seemed to epitomize the word "bust," he had a terrific season. Drafted in due to injuries and suspensions, he became a rock in our defense. He certainly was not perfect, but considering with him and Chiellini we conceded 2 goals in 2 games to Inter, 2 goals in 2 games against Milan, and no goals in the one game against Roma....that's a pretty good defense. At Sampdoria, he was schooled by Cassano, showing he's not quite elite, but a fantastic season for the man we desperately tried to offload the last 2 years. Scored three goals in the season, not bad at all.. Definitely should keep him in the future, whether a starter or a reserve.
GIORGIO CHIELLINI: 8.5- Some have called him our Marco Materazzi, he reminds me more of Montero. He started the season in his preferred position at left-back, but Andrade's injury pushed Ranieri to switch him to center-back, and he hasn't looked back since. An absolute rock in the center, terrific challenges and epitomizes Juve's fiery spirit. When I think of Chiellini's season, possibly even Juve's season, I will think of him manhandling Ibrahimobitch. Thank God we didn't let him go to Man City last year. Won himself a trip to Euro2008, and in the process of qualification scored a peach of a goal for the Azzurri. Giorgio is the future of Juve and the Azzurri, and he had a terrific season.
CRISTIAN MOLINARO: 4.5 - How is there such a disconnect between the media and fans on this one? Ranieri recently praised him as one of the better players of the season...I hope he was just attempting to raise his market value. He plays with heart, no disputing that, but his defense is shoddy, his passing is weak, and his crosses....well I think the only good cross he got in was to Camoranesi in the Fiorentina 3-2 defeat. Chiellini was in his position and wow, what a crappy turn. Without a doubt the weakest player in our Starting XI and I hope to god we aren't thinking of keeping him. He is young and offers no value to the team, get rid of him. De Ceglie is much, much better. Note- I added a picture of Molinaro in Siena colors because I'm hoping we can dump him back to them.
JONATHAN ZEBINA: 6 - I'm not sure if Zebina is satisfied sitting on the bench, if not, he better look for a new club. He was decent in defense but was overshadowed by Grygera settling into right-back. He's can play CB and either wings so I'd like to keep him as a reserve for the future, but this was a campaign to forget for him. Stunning mediocrity....if you ask me about this season and Zebina, I remember 2 events, all from the same game; penalty called from a clumsy Zebina, and him slapping the cameraman. Better luck next year.
DOMENICO CRISCITO: 5.5 - He wasn't that bad, and shipping him off in January put some massive pressure with the defensive injury crisis. He's one to watch for the future, but I wonder if he will want to come back to Juve after his outburst against us. Marking Totti in your 4th ever Serie A game is never going to be easy. Given how much we paid for him, I hope we either get our moneys worth or he rejoins us.
ALESSANDRO BIRINDELLI: 5.0 - A loyal servant for years, it seems he lost his form. I was nervous everytime the ball was near him. The only note of this season for him is that I was very very disappointed not to see him get a sendoff from Ranieri. He's moving on this summer, no one knows exactly where yet, but he stuck with us for 11 years, even if not a starter. Instead, Ranieri threw a youth team player on. Why?!?
JORGE ANDRADE: 5.5 - Almost unrateable, he played so few games, but we conceded too many when he was around. It'll be very interesting to see what happens this summer with him. Do we give up and sell him off, or try and reintegrate him in our plans? I remember someone noting when we signed him that he was injury-plagued. Secco really should have noticed that, instead, he sat on our treatment table for 8 months.
HASAN SALIHAMIDZIC- 6.0 - Yes, he gets his own rating as a defender. Solid as a right-back when we needed him, he underlined his versatility with some good performances. Along with Grygera, my favorite acquisition this summer."
GUGLIELMO STENDARDO: 6.5 - When he played, he was a rock. I don't know why we didn't play him more. I'd love to see us sign him, but the price stated in the loan agreement is too high.
JEAN ALAIN BOUMSONG: 4.5 - Thank god we sold him. Another Secco masterpiece, 1.5million euros down the pisser.
CRISTIANO ZANETTI: 7.5 - I'll be completely honest, I always liked the guy but pushed for his exit last summer. He was alright in Serie B (a lot better than Giannichedda, not that that says much) but I didn't think he had 90minutes in him or the talent to be Juve's starting CM. Thank God he stayed, and I'm happy to eat my words. He may not have the grace of Pirlo or the tenacity of De Rossi, but he was one of the top 10 midfielders in Italy this year, no doubt. Did the usual dirty work but also put in some absolutely terrific assists. Too bad he didn't get a goal this season, but he's our gain and Inter's loss. (Of course they'd get rid of the Italian Zanetti) We can count on him next year. A steady influence in a turbulent midfield this year.
MOMO SISSOKO: 7 - I didn't like the purchase of Sissoko when he arrived in January, but we did need a midfielder. I don't know how he was fading (at age 22) with Liverpool recently because he has been a beast in our midfield, completely pushing Nocerino out of the starting XI. Rafa dubbed him Vieira 2.0, and with his tackles and endless energy it's easy to see why. Scored a nice goal (took him what, 75 in a Reds jersey to do it yet 4-5 in bianconeri) against Fiorentina. His first game where he made a big impact was against Napoli, nicely marshaling the midfield. A year ago our young defensive midfielder of the future was Nocerino, and though he will be a great midfielder, Sissoko is just as young and much better. Looking forward to seeing him in Europe next year.
MAURO CAMORANESI: 8.5 - No doubt, our best midfielder this year. I've always liked Mauro, he's an Orundio like me, and this may have been his most influential season yet. He was our rare midfield creativity, his crosses and passes were magic. The difference between Juventus with him and without this season was incredibly obvious. Unfortunately, he was injured for almost the entire first half, had he not, who knows what would have happened. Even pushed to center-mid occasionally where he did very well. He's a World Cup champion for a reason, and we can thank our lucky stars he didn't go to Roma last summer. 2 goals against Inter, 3 assists against Milan.....can't ask for more than that from a winger. Is there any midfielder as underrated as him? He does not get enough respect.
PAVEL NEDVED: 7.5 - You can clearly tell Pavel has aged, and he certainly isn't the same as 5 years ago. That said, he is an absolutely machine. He's 36 years old and still working his ass off up and down the field. Splendid assists (like the one to Iaquinta against Udinese or this one against Sampdoria this weekend), splendid passing and crossing, and unlucky to "only" score 2 goals this season...but those two goals were critical, he saved us from defeat against Cagliari, and won us 2 points against Atalanta by pushing it to 1-0, and both goals were classic strafing runs from the Furia Ceca, bombing from outside the 18. He's part of the heart and soul of Juventus, and getting him to sign a year extension was one of the best ways to strengthen our squad for next year. I'd prefer to win the Scudetto next year, but it'd be criminal for Pavel not to win the Champion's League in his incredible career...so let's hope to push on both fronts.
ANTONIO NOCERINO: 6 - A good first season in Serie A for Antonio Nocerino. His passing isn't too accurate, he gives away the ball occasionally too easily, and he accumulates a lot of yellow cards. Sounds bad, right? Well, he's a tenacious midfielder who truly gives his all, he's very young, and he was our starting CM at age 22 having displaced Tiago/Almiron. That's nothing to sneeze at. He looks like he's going to Palermo, maybe one day he'll be back at Juve, who knows. A good starting season from him, it's very exciting to see he's captaining Italy in the Olympics this summer. I can confidently say he'll be starting for the Azzurri someday.
HASAN SALIHAMIDZIC: 7 - He gets an extra .5 for the double against Milan. Willing to play anywhere, whether in defense or midfield, he really got the Bianconeri spirit. He's my favorite of the newcomers because his technical deficiency is outweighed by his fighting spirit. He's never going to be the kind of guy to cement himself into the Starting XI, but Juventus need him. He had a great season, of course the double against Milan was his best moment this season. Plays with heart, as a fullback, or side midfielder, etc. Hopefully he'll be around for 3-4 years, he's a terrific utility player, and best of all, he's fine with it.
TIAGO: 5.5 - No getting around this one, he's got a lot of talent but something's just not working. Nearly excluded the entire 1st half of the season, he's become more confident and has played well in the last few months, but I still think he's headed for the exit. Ranieri doesn't want him to leave, I don't know why considering how little he's played. (He's gotta be on a big salary too)
SERGIO ALMIRON: 3.5 - Ah, yet another in the "what the fuck was Secco thinking?" Tiago was a flop, this guy was terrible. Looked completely lost in the very few games he played for us, and he came from a Serie A club, so he can't blame a different game place. Banged one goal in, (Coppa game against Parma..) then got shipped out in January to Monaco. Sold this summer, certainly, but I saw a random report somewhere that says we prefer to loan him out instead. (Perhaps to up his value a bit) Please, cut the losses and move on.
RAFFAELE PALLADINO: 6 - I put him here under midfielder because I think he's played a grand total of one or two games this season as striker. He's been ok as a winger, nothing too impressive but he clearly prefers to play second striker. It frustrates me a bit we never got to see him play in support with a target man up front, but so it goes I guess. Scored a nice goal in possibly his last game in Bianconeri, with suitors like Roma and Arsenal in the wings. A disappointing season when we were all waiting for him to really explode, but given his few chances in odd positions, you can't really blame him.
MARCO MARCHIONNI: 5 - I'd like to keep him as a sub for Camoranesi, as long as we're not paying him too much, but he was actually injured more than Camoranesi. Can't make that stuff up. A season to forget.
ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO: 9 - Uhm, capocannoniere of Serie B last year and Serie A this year, speaks for itself. I love how he gets written off so many times and shoves it in their face. He won the Golden Foot award as well, and put in some terrific assists particularly the flips to T-Rez. The ADP+Trez partnership just continues to terrify Serie A defenses. He'd get a 10 had he started the season well, but let's be honest his season didn't really start until mid-November. Broke Scirea's alltime appearance record and is now clearly the greatest Juventino ever. Capocannoniere 2007-2008!!
DAVID SERGIO TREZEGUET: 9 - Sure, he just missed out on being Capocannoniere for the 2nd time, but he had a banging season. Semi-written off by the media, he hit the ground running. He hit a slump around the Christmas break, but no one ever continues the whole season banging in 1.63 goals per game. Plus, that's when we got the real Alex back so it was cool. My favorite team goal he scored was against Livorno, Palladino with the pass, Trez dummies, Alex flips, Trez scores. Amelia had no chance. How Domenech can continue to ignore him is beyond me, he scored a crapload more this year than Thierry Henry, that's for sure. Trezegol, the legend continues.
VINCENZO IAQUINTA: 7.5 - In a year where Alex and Trezegol were having one of their best ever seasons, Iaquinta was kind of marginalized, but he still played terrific when called upon. After temporarily dislodging Alex from the Starting XI, he was relegated to a bench role, which he did superbly. He was injured for the last month or so unfortunately ruling him out of Euro2008. I really hope he stays with us this summer because he'll get plenty of playing time next year.
CLAUDIO RANIERI: 7.5/8 - This man took a lot of heat this year, for some failings at Empoli or losing to Fiorentina. That stuff happens, and I hope he's refined it since, but consider where we were last year. Consider our starting XI at the beginning of the season:
Zebina, Andrade, Criscito, Chiellini
Camoranesi, Tiago, Almiron, Nedved
Del Piero, Trez
Grygera, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Molinaro
Camoranesi, Sissoko, Zanetti, Nedved
Del Piero, Trez
As you can notice, the entire defense is rearranged, as well as central midfield. He also had to deal without Camoranesi for 4 months and a ADP who started in bad form. Given all of this, he did a damn good job. In the Andata when we had just returned to Serie A, we drew Inter 1-1, drew Roma 2-2, and drew Milan 0-0. Acceptable, given the circumstances, and then in the Ritorno it change to defeating all of them; Inter 2-1, Roma 1-0, and Milan 3-2. He has the only undefeated record among the "big 4" teams. Juventini have blasted him and doubted him the entire campaign, I've stuck for him back then and I continue now. Some games, like the substitutions against Fiorentina at home, show he's not a perfect coach, and he rightfully deserves criticism for that. But I firmly believe this man can lead us to success and silverware.
Hope you enjoyed it, feel free to criticize or question my ratings/comments in any way you'd like!
By the way, Secco gets a 2.