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Juventus 2014-15 Season Ratings: The Centerbacks

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Winning teams have one characteristic — a strong defense. Juventus are of course no exception and for the fourth consecutive year, Juventus had the best defensive record in the peninsula, and one of the best defenses in Europe. This is even more impressive considering that Juventus moved from a 3-man defense to a 4-man defense during the season.

So, without further ado, here are the rankings:

Leonardo Bonucci - 7.5

In my opinion, this was the year that Bonucci became a world-class defender. The times in which he held on to the ball for one touch too many, or that he tried to dribble past one too many players is gone. With that being said, he was still a huge source of creativity for the team.

Bonucci played the most minutes of any Juventus player (3,015) averaging 59.2 passes per game. For the record, his number of passes is fourth highest after Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Giorgio Chiellini. Unsurprisingly, he is the one playing the most long ball after Pirlo (5.5 for Bonucci and 7.9 for Pirlo). This creative output was instrumental in breaking Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Max Allegri opted to bypass the midfield and create scoring opportunities from the back starting with Bonucci.

This year, Bonucci was also a big-game player when it came to scoring goals. His four goals came against: Roma, Milan, Lazio, and Fiorentina (in the Coppa Italia). He scored the winning goal against Roma when the game seemed to end in a draw. Against Milan, he scored the goal three minutes after Luca Antonelli equalized. He certainly knows how to carry the team when things are not going as expected.

Giorgio Chiellini - 7.5

Another monster at the back. If there was ever a player that would make Montero proud, it would be King Giorgio. He is that player that makes you think twice whether you want to venture into that side of the pitch. He is the fourth player with most tackles (2.1 per match) in the team and the player with most interceptions (2.6 per match). He also has the most clearances and blocks (tied with Bonucci) in the team.

In the attacking department, Chiellini is not as prolific as Bonucci, however, his only goal came in the Coppa Italia to draw Juventus level against Lazio.

Although Andrea Barzagli did fine against Barcelona, I will always wonder what could have happened if Chiellini was fit to play the Champions League final. i guess we'll never know.

Andrea Barzagli - 7.5

Although his time on the field was limited by a nagging injury, when Barzagli was on the pitch his presence was felt. He only played a total of 770 minutes in Serie A, likely because of his injury and because of the change in formation to a four-man defense.

With that being said, when Barzagli stepped onto the pitch I had a sense of peace that things were going to work out just fine.  His positioning and reading of the game made it easier for him to return to good form despite his lenghty injury.

Martin Cáceres - 6.5

What could be Martin Cáceres' season without injuries?  Every year he gets into some decent form he ends up getting injured. I really hope that next year he will be able to have an injury free season to see what is truly capable of doing.  Regardless, this was not his season. He had just about as many minutes as Barzagli and is now expected to recover sometime this summer.

His versatility made him a starter under Allegri for the first three matches of the season. During that time he did quite well specially in the first match of the season against Chievo Verona. He also was a starter in Juventus' first Champions League match of the season against Malmo. But then injuries started, first a hamstring injury which will sideline him until January. Once he recovered from this injury he was back as a starter for the whole month of January and then his second injury came. A malleolar fracture would see Cáceres miss the rest of the season from early March onwards.

His offensive output in his limited playing time was one goal against Napoli. He also scored a goal against Chievo Verona that will be later ruled as an own goal.

With Daniele Rugani's impending arrival, it is very likely that this will be Cáceres' last season as a center back and that Allegri will try him as a fullback in the future. I just hope that he can have a full season without lengthy injuries to finally see what his real contribution can be.

Angelo Ogbonna - 5.5

This could have been Ogbonna's season. He had plenty of time to adjust to the club and its mentality. He had plenty of opportunities to challenge for a spot and make it his own. He had plenty of chances to put in an impressive performance in the Coppa Italia and show that he can at least play the games before or after Champions League matches. Instead, he did nothing of the sort.

Do you know how many minutes Ogbonna played this season? Go ahead, take a guess. I would have said between 800 and 1,000 minutes. No, he played a whooping 2,060 minutes (25 Serie A matches, 4 Coppa Italia, and 1 Champions League). Why I think he played so little? Because he was so ineffective. I don't remember a solid game, an impressive performance, I can't even remember a solid tackle or an impressive clearance.

Quite the opposite, I mostly remember him for his casual jogging when Juventus played against Fiorentina in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal. This display of laziness was the final nail in the coffin.  I for one would be glad to make any money we can and ship him elsewhere.  I wouldn't be surprised if he is a hit in England.

From what I've seen of Rugani, he will have no problem displacing Ogbonna farther down the pecking order. This of course would be great for the youngster as he may see close to 2,000 minutes of play time next season if he can be as "good" as Ogbonna was this season.

Luca Marrone - s.v.

No minutes, no rating.