Andrea Barzagli has raised the stakes ahead of tomorrow evening’s Serie A showdown with Milan at the San Siro, deeming it a “game that matters to everyone” during an exclusive interview with Sky Sport Italia.
The defender, who returned from injury to help the Bianconeri to a clean sheet in last weekend’s 1-0 Derby della Mole triumph over Torino, is now all set for the challenge of nullifying the attacking threat of a Rossoneri side in excellent form.
The 31-year-old began: “It’s a game that matters to everyone. Tomorrow won’t just be a head-to-head between a striker and an attacker because they have plenty of men that we’ll need to keep an eye on.”
Along with the action on the field of play, much attention will also be paid to those directing proceedings from their respective dugouts, in particular Rossoneri boss Clarence Seedorf.
Drafted in as a replacement for Massimiliano Allegri at the turn of the year, the decorated Dutch midfielder has made an encouraging start to his coaching career, hauling the team up the table with four wins from six games.
Commenting on Seedorf’s qualities, Barzagli said: “He was a world class player for his displays on the pitch and the trophies he won. As a manager I think he has ideas and personality. Of course, it’s a different role and time will tell if he’s to be as great in the dugout as he was on the pitch.”
With fixtures continuing to come thick and fast following Thursday’s qualification for the Europa League last 16, Barzagli looked ahead to a “fascinating” meeting with Fiorentina and explained why the Bianconeri merit their billing as the competition's favourites.
“It will be a fascinating game. It would have been nicer to play it further on in the competition and not at this stage. We’ve got other fixtures to deal with before though, a championship encounter with the Viola being one of them.
“We can consider ourselves as one of the favourites, but not because the final is being played in Turin, too much of a big deal is being made over that I think. It’s the value of the squad that has given us that title. It’s a tough competition though, and anything can happen in knockout games.”