Here is a highlight of the last time Juventus scored on a free kick:
There’s a couple of things wrong with this above video. Let’s rattle them off real quick, OK?
- The biggest one? This was in the summer of 2020.
- No, seriously. This was from the Derby della Mole that took place on July 4, 2020.
- That Turin derby win was played in Matchday 30 of the 2019-20 season, which means Juventus has now gone the equivalent of two full seasons without scoring from a free kick in Serie A play.
- The guy who scored that free kick has been terrible for free kicks for years now yet still somehow took the vast, vast majority of free kicks while he was at Juventus.
- There are no fans in the stands because that is what will stick with 2020 and 2021 the most in terms of how the pandemic truly impacted the game and Juventus’ bottom line.
All in all, this is a problem that has been brought to the attention of many thanks to Tuttosport earlier this week: It has been two full seasons since Juventus last scored via a free kick. And to add a little salt into the wound, a current Juventus player has scored from a free kick this season, but it was before Dusan Vlahovic actually signed with Juventus from Fiorentina. So while Juve technically has a player on its roster that has scored on a free kick this season, they don’t have a free kick to their record during the 2021-22 campaign. Or the 2020-21 campaign. Or the final eight games of the of the 2019-20 campaign.
It boils down to something like this:
- 2021-22: Zero goals on 19 free kick attempts, 11 of which have been by Paulo Dybala.
- 2020-21: Zero goals on 23 free kick attempts, 17 of which were by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Throw in another seven free kick attempts that resulted in nothing after that Ronaldo free kick goal in the Derby della Mole — the only one he scored in a Juventus jersey, by the way — and you’ve got Juve with a pretty impressive 0-for-49 streak going on right now.
No goals from free kicks in 49 attempts.
Forty-nine attempts, folks.
This all comes as Juventus is bound to have a transition in terms of who the club’s main free kick taker is going to be, as Dybala is heading out on a free transfer this summer and, as Tuttosport notes, Vlahovic is likely to become the main guy standing over the ball in key moments. That’s mainly because you can’t really think of anybody else who could take free kicks and be the one to take over for Dybala outside of Vlahovic. This is far from the days where Juventus had Miralem Pjanic and Dybala standing over a free kick at the same time. Or Andrea Pirlo basically making the hair on the back of your neck go up a little because he was about to step up to a free kick from 25 yards out and is absolutely dialed in from those types of situations.
Instead, what we’ve seen over the last two-plus seasons is Juventus making #WallTime more than just something we can just joke about every now and then in a match recap or a tweet. Juventus has gone from a club that teams are envious of on free kicks to one that is one free kick miss away from missing 50 straight attempts. That’s far from ideal ... even close to being anything considered average.
Unless Juventus’ summer activity involves somebody else that is a more than capable free kick taker, those duties do look to fall on Vlahovic’s large Serbian shoulders come next season. Maybe he turns out to be the one to unlock Juventus’ free kick struggles of the last two years. There’s nowhere to go but up, right?