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Young defender ready to play for Juventus

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Caldara will focus his attentions on Atalanta for now

Juventus FC v Atalanta BC - Serie A
Mattia Caldara
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

In an interview for Corriere Dello Sport (via Football Italia), young Juventus centre-back Mattia Caldara has said that he is going to continue to focus on his on-loan club Atalanta for the rest of the season, knowing that his future lies with the Bianconeri.

“My path has been mapped out, but I don’t think about it.

“I’ll work to improve myself because I want to arrive in Turin ready, it’ll be an important stage in my career and I can’t get it wrong.

“I know my life will change, but I’ve already had two experiences [Trapani and Cesena] outside of Atalanta, and I’m not living with my parents this year in any case so the distance from Bergamo won’t be a problem.

“I’ll have to prove I’m worthy of Juve, but right now I’m focused on Atalanta.”

Juventus purchased the player from the Bergamo side last January for €15m with up to €10m in bonuses, on condition he returned to Atalanta until summer of 2018. La Dea won their Europa League group ahead of Lyon and Everton, but have been drawn against Borussia Dortmund in the next round.

“It will be a fascinating and beautiful challenge. It’s a pleasure to play against opponents of that level, a team that has come down from the Champions League.

“I expect a very difficult game, but we’re proud to have reached this point and we aim to do well. We haven’t been lucky with the draws this year, but we’ll prepare well.

“On paper there’s no doubt they’re favourites, but we know our strength. While respecting our opponents, we’ll have to be a bit more brazen, not let them push us back.

“Marking [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang is stimulating, because he’s really strong. I stayed here at Atalanta to grow, to start testing myself against the best strikers in Europe.

“That’ll help me next year.”

The 23-year-old has played in 19 games this season in all competitions, picking up two goals and two assists so far, including scoring against Juve in October as well. The defender had seven Serie A goals last season.

He was also asked who he models his game around, Juve’s Andrea Barzagli or former Bianconeri Leonardo Bonucci?

“In recent seasons Barzagli has proven himself to be the most complete centre-back in Serie A.

“As for the comparisons with Bonucci, I like them but that also involves a lot of responsibility, and for the moment it’s too soon to say I’m his heir.

“I have to improve a lot to get to his level.”