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Andrea Barzagli announces he will retire at the end of the season

Wallzagli has decided this season will be his last.

Parma Calcio v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

The last few years have been tough on Andrea Barzagli. He’s dealt with injuries galore as his career has gone into its twilight years. Even as Juventus has accomplished so much on the field, Barzagli has been out there a fraction of the time as compared to when he first arrived in Turin and quickly became a stalwart defender for one of Europe’s best defensive units.

After Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 loss to SPAL in Ferrara, the 37-year-old Barzagli made official what a lot of us expected to happen at some point over the next few months.

Barzagli, one-third of Juventus’ famed BBC defense, is calling it a career come the end of the 2018-19 season. Barzagli announced it during an interview with Sky Sport Italia after the loss to SPAL, a game that was only his third start in Serie A play this season.

“I thought about it long and hard, but this is the right moment to retire at the end of the season. Considering my age and all the injuries I’ve had to deal with, I’m going to hang up my boots in June. I am starting the process of figuring out what to do afterwards, because I’ve dreamed of being a player since I was a little boy and now I have to consider what comes next.”

(Source: Football Italia)

It has been long thought that Barzagli will have some kind of role with Juventus whenever he chose to hang up his cleats for good. That could be a coaching capacity or it could be in the front office, following the same kind of path of Pavel Nedved after he announced his retirement in 2009.

But man, when Barzagli found a second wind to his career in Turin following his move from Wolfsburg, he quickly became one of Juve’s most important yet still underrated players. As much as Juve’s success had to do with Gigi Buffon in goal and both Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci becoming two of the best Italian defenders around, Barzagli’s career renaissance was simply wonderful to watch. He did things in a different way than Chiellini and Bonucci, relying so much on his reading of the game and perfectly-timed tackles to make the three-man defense something that both Antonio Conte and then Max Allegri could count on more often than not during their respective tenures coaching at Juve.

That is what I will remember most about Barzagli’s time with Juventus — and I’m sure not the only one, too.

Oh, yeah, one more thing:

No matter what you think of some of Juventus’ transfer dealings over the past decade under Beppe Marotta and now Fabio Paratici, there’s always going to be this about Barzagli: It’s how good he was after Juventus signed him in 2011 and that one of Juve’s most consistent players over the past decade cost the club all of a €300,000 transfer fee.

(OK, that’s technically two things, but they go hand in hand, my friends.)