When it comes to Daniele Rugani, the Juventus management got that piece of business out of the way months ago when he was still wearing the sky blue of Empoli. He's been expected to return the club where he played his primavera football at ever since the business was done during the winter transfer window. Because of that, #RuganiDay has been a long time coming for everybody who has followed him since he broke onto the scene.
To see Rugani in a Juventus jersey is something that's been on the mind of many ever since Juventus bought the young defender's contract in full six months back. And while he didn't get to actually wear the new adidas kit at his introductory press conference on Tuesday afternoon, he certainly got to hold up his new No. 24 jersey — the same number he wore during his time on loan at Empoli — while speaking with the press for the first time as a Juventus senior squad player.
Looks like a natural, doesn't he? Yeah, he does.
You can go ahead and try to get that smile knocked off his face. I dare you. Just go ahead and try it. But it's not going to be happening — that's especially true after watching his first press conference and realizing how happy Rugani is to back in Turin and playing for this club.
It was, for all intents and purposes, the kind of 20-minute press conference that not only reminds you how young Rugani is, but how humble and appreciative of this chance he is despite being so full of youth.
Rugani is the latest player in his early-20s to join the Juventus ranks — or in his case, come back to Turin — in recent years. He is not just expected to contribute this season by many observers, but also be part of a young, Italian core that will continue to lead Juventus to prominence while also contributing at the international level. By now, we know about Rugani playing every single minute of the 2014-15 season and not being shown a single yellow card along the way. His debut season with Empoli was as impressive as impressive gets for somebody at his age making his first tour of duty around Italy's top flight. He excelled, and that has put him in position to come back to Juventus.
.@DanieleRugani: "No bookings last season? I'm not a particularly impulsive or aggressive individual, my game is more measured."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) July 21, 2015
And his game is not done developing, either. He was trying to hold off an ear-to-ear grin when talking about playing alongside the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli and talked about how he is looking forward to learning from his elder statesmen in defense. And it's hard to disagree with him. The base is there for something special, then you add the kind of experienced players Rugani is now surrounded by and it's hard to not to tell the kid just to be an absolute sponge.
Then you see him say things like this...
.@DanieleRugani: "I can't allow myself to think I've already made it, I need to keep pushing on."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) July 21, 2015
...and you can't help but like Rugani even more than you did yesterday or the day before that.
So, here's your reminder that Daniele Rugani is going to be turning all of 21 years old in a matter of eight days on July 29. Not only is he a Juventino, not only is he talented as hell, but the kid has the moxie and attitude that not many players have at that age. The good thing is, he's not the only Juventus youngster who has this kind of mindset. That not only speaks to the kind of players Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici are signing, but also the atmosphere they have established — one that is allowing youngsters to thrive in.