Even in the handful of games that he’s played in since returning from his lengthy injury absence, Claudio Marchisio’s importance to this Juventus team has already been identified. He has returned to his deep-lying spot in the center of Juve’s midfield and has played relatively well as he slowly works his way up to being a regular contributor once again.
After a night off over the weekend, Marchisio returned to Juventus’ starting lineup on Tuesday night and played a key role in the Bianconeri’s 3-1 win over Sevilla. Marchisio’s first-half penalty kick was his first goal since returning to the field late last month — a strike that he spoke about after the game.
“All I could think about was keeping it as low as possible, because the pitch wasn’t the best and there were lots of bobbles so I was afraid of placing it too high,” said Marchisio after the match, which saw Juve qualify for the Champions League Round of 16.
“I was lucky when I struck it because it went under the goalkeeper’s arm and in. It was quite liberating – seeing the ball hit the back of the net and being able to celebrate was amazing after such a long injury.”
I think it’s fair to say that Marchisio running toward the traveling fans in the corner of the stands and pounding the Juventus badge with every step he took was pretty good to see for every Juve supporter out there. It’s a Turin boy helping the Turin club work their way back from a 1-0 deficit and claim a massively-important win in the Champions League group stage.
Speaking of how the team is feeling after their latest win on the European stage...
“We’re absolutely delighted. We’ve achieved an important objective and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy here – their fans were amazing and kept cheering Sevilla on even when they were 3-1 down. Our performance was not bad considering how good the opposition are and it’s no wonder they’d not conceded in this competition before tonight. We managed to score three so we can’t help but be pleased.”
Marchisio has made three starts and appeared in four games total since coming back from six months on the sidelines due to his knee injury. Juventus manager Max Allegri has understandably taken it slow with Marchisio’s workload since he came back from injury — and for obvious good reason.
“On a personal level, it’s tough for me to play every three days. It’s still a bit of a challenge because there are times when my muscles aren’t quite there yet and that affects me. I know I need to keep working hard – it was a long lay-off but I’m happy with how things are going.”
Above all else, Marchisio’s goal, along with late-second-half strikes from Leonardo Bonucci and Mario Mandzukic, Juventus were able to get an unexpected win over Sevilla and book their ticket to the knockout rounds while also taking over sole possession of first place in Group H. With one more group stage game to go against a struggling Dinamo Zagreb side, Juventus now follow has destiny in their hands.
“There’s no point in thinking about the future – we need to focus on the present. We were 1-0 down tonight and it could have gone south, but we turned it around and sealed qualification.
“We still have another match in the Champions League and then we need to focus on Serie A. Even though the other teams are making a few slip-ups, that doesn’t mean we can afford not to be on our game.”
Talk about a guy who has a sense of what’s going on. He’s not just about posting selfies on Instagram with funny hashtags, folks. Marchisio knows a thing or two about a thing or two. And we’re quite happy he’s healthy again. (Yes, I’m speaking for everybody.)