Through no fault of his own, this day was always going to happen for Mario Mandzukic thanks to the day that Maurizio Sarri was named Juventus’ manager. It didn’t matter if he scored 10, 15 or 20 goals in the preseason, Mandzukic’s fate was sealed once Juve went from having Max Allegri call the shots to Sarri and his up-tempo Sarrismo.
Once thought to be in July, it was then August. Then it became September even with the many of the majorEuropean leagues’ transfer deadline passing. Now, after four months of being frozen out of Sarri’s squad, Mandzukic is going to finally get the chance to play again.
As announced by Qatari side Al Duhail, Mandzukic has officially left Juventus after a less-than-acrimonious break up over the course of the last four or five months. Mandzukic, one of the most well-liked and most-respected players by his teammates and also the Juve tifosi, put pen to paper on a contract Tuesday with Al Duhail that has been reportedly worth as much as €12 million — ending any kind of talk that the move might be off due to a variety of reasons.
As of this post going live, Juventus has yet to announce anything on its official website or via its various social media channels.
Mandzukic, who will turn 34 in May, was a member of the second of the two Juve squads to make the Champions League final under Max Allegri. It was that season, around the midway point, where Allegri made the switch to the famed Five Star formation, one where Mandzukic was pushed out wide into a makeshift left winger and totally changed the look of how Juventus played. In that final, one Juventus eventually lost to Real Madrid, Mandzukic scored arguably the goal of the season, the bright light in what was other
In his 4 1⁄2 years with Juventus, Mandzukic scored a total of 43 goals in 159 games in all competitions.
What Mandzukic will be remembered most for is his simple style of play. He lived up to his Mr. No Good nickname, playing with the kind of effort and attitude that a lot of people probably wished more Juventus players had. His willingness to play out wide during a good portion of the Allegri years shows that the team came first and individual glory wasn’t a priority.
Then again, there are only certain folks who can have that kind of attitude in the fashion that Mandzukic and another fan favorite, Stephan Licthsteiner, had. They’re gems — and they were our gems.
Thank you for everything, Mr. No Good. You might have been grumpy, you might have been the kind of player we hated if you played against Juventus regularly, but you were also the kind of player that pretty much embraced the Juve spirit and made it so easy to root for you.
It just sucks that a player who gave so much to Juventus had to leave in this kind of fashion.