Keeping with their newfound tradition of giving every new signing an introductory press conference, Wednesday afternoon was the day that Marko Pjaca met the Italian media for the first time as a Juventus player. At the age of 20, Pjaca arrives in Turin with a heavy price tag, coming over from Dinamo Zagreb for €23 million back on July 21.
But don’t tell him that his big-money move to Juventus will suddenly bring with him a burden of pressure to try and perform under.
I agree, it’s a lot of money, but Juventus have paid more money for some other players. So that will not be pressure for me. I will try to do my best and prove that the money was well spent.
That was the general theme of Pjaca’s first time in front of a microphone in a snazzy dark blue suit with the Juventus crest on the left side of his jacket. He answered what was asked of him honestly even though some of the journalists definitely had a Paul Pogba-themed tone to their questions. Italian journalists, man.
But, even with that, he made sure we knew what his goals are and why he decided to sign with Juventus (more on that later, too):
I think it’s a great club, a big club with a great history. Of course, I want to grow as a player. I want to become better with each day, with each training and with each game. Of course I came here to help the team and the club to win many trophies in the next few years.
I chose Juventus because I can achieve my personal goals here. I think Juventus will win many trophies in the next few years, so I came here to win trophies and to play in the Champions League. That was my main motivation to come here.
On where the best place on the field is for him to play:
Left winger, but during my career and when I was younger I played as a central attacking midfielder, so I think I can play almost all of the positions in the attacking third of the pitch. Wherever the coach decides to put me, I will give my best and help the team.
Pjaca went on to say that his idol growing up was Ronaldinho, which made me feel old because that’s somebody I grew up watching. He also said that he spoke with fellow Croatian and new Juventus teammate Mario Mandzukic about what it was like at the club. “(Mandzukic) told me everything positive about the team, the club, the city, about everything. I helped me choose, but there was never a doubt about which club I wanted to go to,” Pjaca added.
I just came here, so I want to play in the Italian championship. This is my future now, so I don’t think about anything else. My mind is focused on Juventus and the Italian championship. In the future we will think about it.
My main goal is to be better as a player and a person and of course win trophies. I will always choose my heart before money — and so I did in this case.
I mean, how can you not love the second part of that quote above? Like the other Balkan players Juventus have signed in recent years, Pjaca definitely seems to tell it like it is. I like those kinds of players.
One more thing: Pjaca said that he’s learning Italian and that he likes to play basketball. So it looks like Max Allegri has a new player to face on the basketball court when the season gets going again.
And there was the customary picture with his new jersey and one of the men who worked to bring him to Turin, one Beppe Marotta.
He’s got a lot to live up to with the No. 20 jersey. It’s not every day that somebody gets to wear a number once worn by Simone Padoin...