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2010 World Cup Player Profiles: Claudio Marchisio

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. Yesterday, we profiled Italy and Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon. Today, it is young Claudio Marchisio, who is far less known than SuperGigi.

Marchisio taking a shot on goal

Birthplace: Torino, Italy

Nickname: Il Principe (the Prince), il Principino (the little Prince), il Gladiatore, the new Tardelli

Estimated Market Value: €17.5 million.

National Team: Italy, where over at the World Cup Blog, Julian and Paul keep you up-to-date on Azzurri news. (Sister site to The Offside for national teams)

Claudio's famous game-winning goal against Inter

Personality: Claudio Marchisio is very much an ideal young player. Calm, collected, and showing outstanding maturity, there has never been a problem with his temperament. He has never lashed out at an opponent, and never given less than 100%. In fact, Marchisio played the full 90minutes in a 3-1 win over Fulham, eventually receiving the captain's armband while missing training all week due to a fever, and played another full 90 minutes 3 days later on the weekend. Since the season in Serie B, Claudio Marchisio has never received a straight red card. Humble, determined, Marchisio is a model player.

Media Status: Within Italy, he is well known as one of the best young midfielders, while not yet at superstar status. Outside of Italy, he is not well known. He is probably one of the least known Italian players going to South Africa.

With Juventus: Serie B 2006-2007

Preferred Foot: Right, although he is quite competent with the left foot as well.

Marchisio executing a slide-tackle

Strengths: Claudio Marchisio is a very well-rounded central midfielder, skilled in every facet of the game. A decent passer of the ball, solid in the tackle, he also has refined dribbling skills. What impressed initially with Marchisio is his advanced maturity, at a very young age he positioned himself excellently. He never made rash tackles, and he was rarely caught out of position defensively. Claudio also inserts himself into the offense and has a penchant for precisely chipping keepers. As expected of a young player, he has good enough pace and endurance, not exceptional, but plenty adequate.

Weaknesses: Claudio has two main weaknesses. First, he tends to be somewhat injury-prone, not to major injuries but occasionally niggling problems that keep him out of action for 2-3 weeks. The second is his long-range shot, he is no Pavel Nedved. All of Marchisio's goals have come from excellent runs into the box pursuing through balls, he is hesitant to shoot from distance. He doesn't have a particularly bad shot, though it is not very good either, but he is too reluctant to pull the trigger. If he manages to refine this, he can become a truly complete central midfielder.

Status on Club Team: Important first-team member. Juventus historically have not had a strong connection to the city of Turin, however Marchisio was born and bred in Turin. Having joined Juve's youth system at age 7, he has progressed steadily through the ranks and made a perfect transition to the senior team. In 2006-2007, he played in Serie B at age 20 with Juve, before going on loan at Empoli. Having succeeded there, he returned to Juve where he immediately displayed some impressive performances. In his first season back at Juve, he solidified his starting spot due to injuries to Cristiano Zanetti and indifferent performances from Tiago and Christian Poulsen. One of the few bright spots from this dismal season, Marchisio has been named by new Juventus coach Gigi Del Neri as the player he plans to build Juve's future around.

Marchisio playing back in Serie B at age 20

2009-2010 Club Season: Marchisio started out the season very well, in autumn he won 4 consecutive man-of-the-match awards and further consolidated his spot in the first team ahead of players like Italy international Mauro Camoranesi, Christian Poulsen, Tiago, Mohamed Sissoko, and Felipe Melo, becoming one of the first names on the starting sheet. His strong performances, indeed, led coaches Ferrara and Zaccheroni to field him in a few games as a left-winger, despite the presence of Giovinco and De Ceglie in the team. In his games as a winger, he had a few excellent (Genoa) but more average performances. He is certainly capable of playing as a left-winger, although he is far more effective playing as a central midfielder.

Juventus underwent their worst-ever season this year, conceding a record amount of goals and losses, but Marchisio was one of the few consistent performers alongside Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini. The other story of Juve's season is that of injuries, over 60 occurred in this season alone, and sadly it affected Marchisio as well, as he was out for several months following knee meniscus surgery. He recovered well enough, and went on to have a reasonably successful season despite the dreadful performances surrounding him.

Status in National Team: Newcomer, yet focal point. If not for unfortunate-timed injuries, he would have more caps, as his knee meniscus surgery occurred during World Cup qualifiers. As it stands, he only has three. However, despite his "newbie" status and Lippi's preference for more experienced players, the Paul Newman lookalike has indicated that Marchisio will be a focal point of his team, much of it due to his versatility. He experimented with him as a trequartista (attacking-midfielder), a position Marchisio originally played back in the youth teams. He will likely be a starter in most World Cup matches, as he can play defensive midfield, winger, or attacking midfield.

Criscito- "C'mon man, what are you doin??"

Expected Performance for National Team: Marchisio has never really disappointed in big games, in fact, two of his most memorable performances have been against Inter and Milan. (In the Milan game, he received man-of-the-match) As his reputation in the media is still far lagged behind his skills and experience, he will certainly be one to watch in South Africa. He's not the second coming of Roberto Baggio, but he will establish himself as one of the best young central midfielders in the world. Let's just hope he doesn't go off and pull a De Rossi. (who was in a similar position in the 2006 World Cup)

Marchisio and his wife Roberta, coincidentally at a Turin derby that Claudio was injured for

Random Fact: Marchisio married his childhood sweetheart, Roberta, at age 22 and have since have given a kid. Though Claudio Marchisio has spent 16 of the last 17 years of his life wearing a Juventus jersey, his wife is a fan of Torino FC, the local archrivals of Juventus currently playing in Serie B. Her father played in the Toro youth program for many years.

In one word: Dynamic.

YouTube Comp with Questionable Music:

YouTube Comp Without Questionable Music:

The Juventus youth team (Primavera) back in 2005. You can find two players here going to South Africa (Criscito and Marchisio)...two others who could potentially have been, had they been allowed to play more. (De Ceglie and Giovinco)

World Cup Player Profiles and Other Links:
Follow Claudio Marchisio on Facebook (Yes, it's him)
#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

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