At some point, there will come a time where I won’t be talking about Moise Kean right off the bat in one of my post-game threads.
But with the way the kid is playing right now, it’s incredibly difficult to see that happening — and it won’t happen in this here post-game thread today.
You see, it wasn’t just the fact that Kean found the back of the net for the fourth time in as many games and helped finish off Cagliari in Juventus’ 2-0 win in Sardinia on Tuesday night. It wasn’t just the fact that Kean, all 19 years old of him, could very well have had another goal or two if it hadn’t been for a bit more luck being on his side or an Alessio Cragno skull save being executed to absolute perfection.
That was just part of it.
Kean, who is still just barely 19 years old, is doing things that a Juve youngster hasn’t done in a long, long time. He’s got the amount of hype around him that Claudio Marchisio or Sebastian Giovinco didn’t get. And, with every goal that Kean scores, he’s only getting more and more attention thrown his way as he firmly establishes himself as one of the best young talents European football currently has to offer.
This time, as Kean celebrated another one of his well-taken goals, racists chants were hurled down from the stands in his direction.
A 19-year-old kid. A very nice kid, at that, simply being insulted because of the color of his skin.
I don’t even want to try and put into words what thoughts were going through Kean’s head during that 5- or 10-second moment because I will never be able to relate to that. Blaise Matuidi can, and that’s why he was so upset in the aftermath of Kean’s goal as he demanded something be done by both the refereeing crew and the stadium as a whole.
The good thing? Kean just tried to shut them up the best he can — with his game.
For all of his qualities, the amount of maturity Kean has at his age is one of the greatest. Think about it for a minute: Kean is currently lighting Serie A on fire, he’s scoring in pretty much every game he’s playing in for club and country right now and he’s taking it all in stride. He’s saying all the right things. He’s going about his business about as well as Juventus’ front office and management team could hope. And, as racial abuse is hurled his way, he doesn’t let it throw him off the greater objective, works his ass off, bags another goal and helps Juve secure another three points.
Moise Kean is obviously one for the future.
But we learned a lot about his current ability — both physically and mentally — on Tuesday night.
If there isn’t enough reasons to love this kid, how he’s handling himself through all of this the past couple of months as he star becomes even brighter should be added to the list if it hasn’t already.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- To steal a line from his German teammate, Emre Can was “good, very good” against Cagliari. Played as a midfielder, played as a makeshift defender in a back three. Was a force no matter where he played.
- I know it doesn’t seem at all likely this coming summer, but can has a Nicolo Barella, please? That boy is 22, already a regular for Roberto Mancini and is only getting better. Whichever club signs him in June, July or August will be getting a gem — and sending a bunch of money back toward Cagliari.
- Touches in the first half: Moise Kean 15, Wojciech Szczesny 15.
- Having seen so many teams score on set pieces against Juventus over the years, it sure was nice to see Bonucci be left absolutely wide open on his header. It’s probably going to go down as one of the easier goals Bonucci scores as a professional. It didn’t hurt that Federico Bernardeschi put it on an absolute platter from the corner, either.
- Blaise Matuidi just runs and runs and runs and runs and somehow doesn’t have to be carried off the field after each game. This guy’s fitness level is off the charts.
- A very encouraging thing regardless of how the second half went: As the teams walked toward the tunnel at the end of the first half, Kean was visibly frustrated. Over came Emre Can, who put an arm around the 19-year-old striker and started to talk to Kean and, I would assume, say some encouraging things going into the break. It was probably important for Kean to hear what was being said, but it was also a sign of person Can — who is not exactly old (25 years old) or a veteran in this squad — is.
- Moise Kean gets absolutely crushed into the sideline advertisement and it’s not a card? OK then.
- And all of a couple minutes later, Kean nearly bulls his way in between two Cagliari defenders and lob a shot over the goalkeeper after a ball was hoofed forward into the attacking third. His power, speed and technical ability all mixed into one is so impressive.
- Then, in the 62nd minute, Martin Caceres had to go off injured after he pulled up lame and grabbed at his hamstring. So much for Juventus obeying our desire for the entire squad to come out of this game unharmed.
- I love Bernardeschi; I really, really do. But sometimes, and it’s not just a few times, there are moments in a game where you just sit there and wonder what the heck he was thinking. It’s not necessarily Juan Cuadrado levels of general confusion, but it’s not like Fede is out there making the perfect decision every time he is on the ball.
- In Cagliari’s own stadium, a place where they play pretty darn well, Juventus limited the home side to none shots — a decent amount of them coming later on in the second half — and none of which were on goal. It’s safe to say Szczesny stole another game check because he didn’t really have much of anything to do all night.
- Serie A lead back to plus-18 for at least 24 hours. That’s cool with me.