If you like watching Andrea Barzagli play in a Juventus jersey, the same can probably be said whenever he throws on an Azzurri kit. However, your chances to see The Great Wall play with Italy are getting smaller and smaller as the international friendlies or, in this case, competitive matches go by.
It's not because it's some injury situation that is forcing any of this. This is by choice. And also because Barzagli will be 35 years old the next time Italy takes part in a major tournament.
"I'll leave the Azzurri after the Euros," Barzagli revealed in an interview with Sky.
"It's right to give younger players a chance. I think I'm lucky to still be in the national team at 34-35.
"[Andrea] Pirlo and [Gigi] Buffon are another category of player. Personally I'm just lucky to be in the national team this year and next year."
(Source: Football Italia)
Seeing how he's in his mid-30s and has had plenty of injury troubles of the last couple of years, Barzagli stepping aside from the international side of the equation totally makes sense. He can clearly play at a very high level. He's proven that once again this season both domestically and in the Champions League.
The good thing is that he's stepping aside on his own terms, not because he's been forced to do so after months and months of injuries like we might have thought would be the case this time last year. And, in theory, if Juventus renew his contract any further, then the workload for one of the game's most underrated defenders goes down a pretty good amount. Same goes for the risk of injury, which we know with Barzagli — and every other player — is ever present.
And let's be honest, if Barzagli steps aside, then it creates and opportunity for one of Italy's talented young defenders. Maybe somebody like, I dunno, Daniele Rugani. Yeah, a Barzagli-for-Rugani swap doesn't sound like a bad thing at all — whether it's at Juventus in a year or two, or on the Italian national team.